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Learn to say no – Minister Mimosa’s advice to the youth

The Minister of Sports, Munyangaju Aurore Mimosa, delivered a message to the youth about fighting violence and injustice in sports, promoting the principles of gender equality and inclusivity in the nation’s development.

She addressed this during a ceremony to honor outstanding women who have contributed to advancing sports for girls in various disciplines.

Currently, 147 countries have laws penalizing those who attempt to hinder women’s progress based on gender-based violence. This is why UN Women launched a campaign targeting diverse youth, including those in sports, to eradicate such violence globally.

At the event held in BK Arena, youth from schools in Kigali City, including boys and girls, were educated on this topic and advised on ways to prevent it.

Minister Munyangaju, present at the event, urged youth of all categories to lead in denying practices that promote violence in sports and reminded them of the existence of mechanisms to prevent it.

She said, “Your message today is this: learn to say ‘No’ at all times. Whether a boy or a girl, you have the duty to respect yourself and claim your rights anywhere without obstruction.”

“If you face any obstacle or gender-based violence that hinders your dreams, stand up and speak out, we are here for you. By speaking out, you protect yourself and contribute to preventing this crime from affecting others.”

The youth were encouraged to talk to a trusted adult, be it a teacher, parent, coach, or someone else they trust, to help combat any form of violence.

Another point emphasized was that those in their productive years should heed the advice given to them for support from responsible entities to achieve their dreams, as they have the power to change the world through sports.

The Sports Minister, a role model to many young girls, added that the future of a girl lies in her own hands.

She stated, “If you all stand up together, each taking responsibility to fight gender-based violence and adhere to the principles of gender equality in everyday life, you will continue to build a future worthy of Rwandans and contribute significantly to development, especially in sports.”

“Stand together and denounce all forms of gender-based violence. Continue to empower women as they play a vital role in developing and promoting sports.”

A 2021 report by the World Health Organization showed that annually, 736 million women and girls globally suffer physical, sexual, or other violence, with those in developing countries being the most affected.

Women and girls aged 15-49 in Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Oceania face violence rates of 33-51%, often by those close to them, including spouses.

The report also indicates that the actual number of victims may be higher than reported, as many women do not speak out about the violence they face.

Those recognized for their efforts in fighting this injustice in Rwanda include Kalimpinya Queen, who demonstrated that girls can participate in car racing; Mukansanga Salima, who made history refereeing in the World Cup; Liliane Mukobwankawe, a top player in African Sitting Volleyball in 2015 and 2019.

Henriette Ishimwe, who made history in the 2023 Cricket World Cup; Joselyne Umulisa, a champion in Tennis and founder of a tennis school with branches in Rwanda; Camille Rudasingwa, who promoted many girls in Volleyball.

Tufaha Uwihoreye, ranked 14th and 103rd in the world in Fencing, was awarded; Philomene Nyirahuku for supporting girls in Basketball; Zura Mushambokazi, a two-time world gold medalist in Taekwondo.

Diane Ingabire, a cycling coach; Karate national team coach Solange Gashagaza; Odile Tetero, last year’s top Basketball player; and Valentine Munezero, the best player in African Volleyball, were also recognized.”

Straight out of Twitter