Marking the first year anniversary of international day of the girl

The 11th October marked the first year anniversary for celebrating the 'International Day of the Girl', a United Nations declaration day of observance seeking to promote gender equality across the world. As Marissa's 'Girl Power' post highlighted, out in Rwanda, the girls we were coaching had the same questions we had when we were growing up, they just did not have the avenues we had to find answers.

DSC05943An interesting conversation in the morning of the 11th with Jean Baptist, sociology university student and a teaching assistant at St Espirit primary school (who we were coaching at the time) highlighted that in many schools in Rwanda, sex education is non- existent and in the rural and poorer areas of Rwanda many girls simply do not have the education nor choice on their future life plans. As a result many are simply left to be married off young or have pressure put upon them to be married and have kids like their peers, with boys they do not love. This was holding back the social development of Rwanda.

Whilst our coaching in the schools, especially in Fawe, Kegarama, and Coast, provided girls with an avenue of seeking advice and having questions answered, the CWB team were still left with thinking surely there must be something, some organisation in Rwanda that seeks to promote the rights of the girl.

I had heard about the Girl Hub, a partnership between Britain's Department for International Development and Nike Foundation, prior to coming out to Rwanda which seeks to promote the rights of the girl, but knew little about the work they did in the countries the organisation operated in. Following various email correspondences, we found out that Girl Hub was operating in Rwanda, and on the afternoon of the 11th Marissa and I headed down to their offices to find out more. During our meeting we found out that the Rwandan President Kegame had publicly stated that more work needed to be done in Rwanda to promote gender equality. This had acted as a catalyst for Girl Hub to start work on getting information out to girls across the country about life choices, reproductive health and social issues, which school education could not provide. This saw the start of 'Ni Nyampinga' a quarterly girls magazine given out to girls between the ages of 10-18 which discussed love, life and friendships. More recently Ni Nyampinga started broadcasting a weekly radio show across the country for girls to tune into. Out of this girls have started to form localised 'Ni Nyampinga' social clubs, which meet on Saturdays run by female mentors between the ages of 18-24 who support and provide a safe environment for young teenage girls to have open and frank discussions on important life issues. Although very much in its infancy at present, the program is developing fast and wants to achieve a vision by 2020 where all girls across Rwanda no matter of social status or location have a voice and support to make their own choices in life.

DSC05912For Team Rwanda Autumn 2013, Girl Hub and the Ni Nyampinga program begin to answer our questions and address our concerns that work is being done to provide young Rwandan girls a voice and a choice. Furthermore the organisation wants to set up a sports program as part of the Saturday social clubs, and would be keen to work with CWB and the Rwanda cricket association in delivering this. Exciting times are ahead for girls in Rwanda.

CWB Written by:

One Comment

  1. Marissa Rundle
    October 16, 2013

    Great article Jules.  Thanks for letting me come along to the Girl Hub meeting.  I am very excited about what Girl Hub has started in Rwanda.  During our short visit we identified a definate gap in girls education regarding their sexual health and relationship advice.  I hope that this is the beginning of a great colaboration between Girl Hub and CWB to empower young girls and expand their knowledge and choices.  Happy International Day of Girls everybody!!!  

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