A group of 16 couples that were cohabiting in Nyamirambo Sector Nyarugenge District, on Thursday legalised their marriages in an event witnessed by the Mayor of Nyarugenge District.
The couples decided formalise their unions after a sensitization campaign to teach them about the importance of civil registration through FXB Village Kigali SKOL, a model programme implemented by François Xavier Bagnoud (FXB) Rwanda with support from Union des Brasseries Africaines (UNIBRA), the parent company of SKOL Brewery Ltd Rwanda.
The three-year programme was launched in October 2017 and will run until September 2020.
The brewery committed USD 250,000 (Rwf220m) towards the programme targeting a total of 421 people from 60 vulnerable families living in Nyamirambo Sector, Nyarugenge District.
Through the programme, the families are supported through different development activities including education, health, nutrition, sanitation, trainings and grants in income generation, psychological counseling and awareness of child protection and children’s rights.
The legalisation of unions was done, partly to safeguard the rights of children and ensure families can plan long term development projects, according to officials.
Thibault Relecom, the Chief Executive of UNIBRA congratulated couples and encouraged them to keep doing better and work hard to improve the livelihoods of their families and their respective communities.
“Communication within families is key to a successful marriage. This not only helps to keep a solid and healthy relationship but also helps them share ideas to achieve developmental goals together,” he advised, committing to support any initiatives that would help change livelihoods of the families for the better.
Emmanuel Habyarimana, the Executive Director of FXB Rwanda, said that the initiative to have cohabiting spouses legalise their unions is mainly to curtail conflict.
And a conflict-free marriage has more opportunity to achieve big things as long as they have the same vision to fight poverty together,” he said.
Jean Pierre Majyambere and Chantal Niyonsaba were among those that tied the knot under the programme, having cohabited for 13 years.
The couple says the civil marriage is a crucial for their commitment to build a future together, thanking the partners who facilitated the exercise.
“Although there is normally love between us, neither my wife nor I had guarantee that we would last long together. Even our children’s future was hanging in balance until we tied the knot,” Majyambere said.
According to the Mayor Nyarugenge, Kayisime Nzaramba, the initiative is a wakeup call to the rest of cohabiting couples saying that there is a lot to benefit from this exercise.
“Civil marriage is no doubt a source respect among couples and I believe the case of domestic conflicts will keep reducing as long people continue to understand the importance of civil marriage,” she said.
She urged the newlyweds to sensitise those in their communities who are cohabiting to legalise their unions.