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01. June 2006

Georgina Rwanda © Georgina Nitzsche/WwB

Georgina together with Elizabeth Powley and Ahmed from Women Waging Peace in Kigali.

Group Picture © Georgina Nitzsche/WwB

'Group B and D' with their trainers Emertha and Grace, who are both final year university students, orphans and head of household: both are in their early twenties. “The trainers are really great, they are like big sisters, we can talk openly with them because they have lived through the same as us

workshop in Kigali ©Georgina Nitzsche/WwB

workshop group ©Georgina Nitzsche/WwB

Training with the "Bee what you want to be" handbook.

"I know leadership, I am capable of leading my country..."

Rwanda - Girls fit for Leadership!

Georgina Nitzsche has just returned from Rwanda visiting our ‘Fit for Leadership!’ after school leadership programme, which is being piloted in an girls boarding school in Kigali.
Please read her report below:

It was rainy season time, but the landscape was thick and green and the people were warm and sunny!

In weekly after school clubs, 160 girls take part in training workshops using the Bee what you want to be! Curriculum from Women without Borders. The exercises are designed using modern interactive methods and tackles themes such as leadership, gender, participation, civil society and personal skills. Girls and young women can learn to develop their abilities for future roles in public life such as management and decision making.

The participants are clearly very enthusiastic about the programme, they like the change in style from their usual 'classes' and enjoy learning about gender in particular. “Leadership taught me a lot of self-confidence, but also to be responsible, creative and loving plus being courageous” said one participant.

This curriculum empowers girls to determine their own roles so that their talents and energies can benefit themselves and society in general. The form of leadership offered is one of Stewardship, where leadership is a form of service to others. It was overwhelming to see that many girls in the programme want to become high-flying professionals in medicine and law expressly so that they can help others. “I feel that I can and I want to make my world the best it can be” said another young teenager.

The Kigali Boarding school is run in partnership with FAWE a pan-african NGO that promotes girls' access to education. Led by Odette Mukazi, the FAWE chapter in Rwanda is partnered with 48 government schools across the country. She explains that many girls are orphans, traumatised, at risk from violence and sexual abuse. The HIV/AIDS virus infection rate is at 7%, and young women are coping with studying, caring for sick family members, and bring in an income as well. Odette is dedicated to increasing and retaining girls in school, she seeks sponsorship for talented girls who otherwise would have no chance to attend secondary school at all.

Educating girls is crucial when one considers that after the genocide in 1994 the population consisted to 70% of women and girls. It was clear that the participation of women in political and social life would be necessary. Today 48,8% of the members of parliament are women, that is the highest number in the world.

That is why leadership training is so important for girls NOW, so that the skills become second nature and girls are ready for active participation and co-determination of society. Not only in law or government, not only ‘captains’ of big businesses, Rwandan civil society needs female leaders in health, journalism, in trade and in leisure and in all aspects of their life, “'Because I know leadership, I am capable of leading my country in justice, I can be a leader already!” beamed Jessica, aged 17.



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