Girls Crucial to Development – Minister

Girls are proven key drivers in socio-economic growth of the country, the Minister for Gender and Family Promotion, Odda Gasinzigwa, has said.

Speaking at the opening of a three-day Girl Learning Summit in Kigali yesterday, Gasinzigwa said continued participation of girls in all sectors of the country is critical to achieving development aspirations.

She said government has worked tirelessly to reduce gender disparities in primary and secondary schools, adding that the net enrollment had reached 96.5 per cent by last year.

Gasinzigwa also said in Rwandan culture, women are considered the ‘heart-beat’ of the household, meaning that once a woman makes a good decision, she brings prosperity not only to her family, but the entire community.

“There is no doubt that without the girl-child’s efforts, Rwanda wouldn’t have reached the level of development we see today. However, this hasn’t come out of nothing as opportunities for Rwandan girls have greatly increased over the last 19 years,” she said.

Gasinzigwa also said her ministry will ensure more participation of girls in the formulation of laws and policies, mainly those that concern women, as well as appropriate girl representation from grassroots level.

Building connections:

Kate Wedgwood, the country director of Girl Hub Rwanda, said the summit is an opportunity to build connections and create a network with people who work to empower girls.

“The Girl Learning Summit has provided a brilliant way to bring together people from across sectors that together can enable girls to drive social and economic growth. There is an incredibly ambitious community focused on girls in Rwanda. We are happy to be part of this and, hopefully, we’ll have this summit annually,” Wedgwood said.

Sifa Mukayuhi Gisabo, from Girl Hub, said this was a good forum for girls’ issues and challenges to be heard and addressed.

Some of the challenges she pointed out that are faced by many girls include lack of mentors, low self esteem and financial constraints among many others.

Mukayuhi said through such forums, more girls will get empowered.

The Girl Learning Summit which ends tomorrow was organised by Girl Hub Rwanda in a partnership with the Gender Monitoring Office.

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