The Adolescent Girls Initiative (AGI) project—a joint that aims at empowering young women who dropped out of school with life skills has so far benefited 575.
The project is being implemented by the Workforce Development Authority (WDA) in partnership with the Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion (MIGEPROF) and Imbuto Foundation.
It is supported by the World Bank, Nike Foundation, the Swedish government and the UK to the tune of USD 2.7 million and is benefiting young women in four districts of Kicukiro, Gasabo, Rulindo and Gicumbi district.
The women who successfully completed training in various disciplines from nine Vocational Training Centres received their certificates in a graduation ceremony that took place at Shyorongi Vocational Training Centre (VTC) in Rulindo District in the Northern Province.
“When I was given an opportunity to be among other trainees at Shyorongi Vocational Training Centre, I was reluctant to join, but after sometime, I picked interest and the training and skills I acquired have changed by life for the better,” said Athanasie Ayanone who acquired skills in Arts and Crafts.
Other trainees acquired skills in Food Processing, Culinary Art and Agri-business. Ayanone said that with other trainees, they have formed a cooperative through which their products are sold. Among other products, they make African necklaces, handbags and ear rings.
In a good month, Ayanone saves at least Rwf 60,000 which she says will help her in coming up with her own business. Other trainees Sunday Times interviewed said there was need to have more similar trainings as many women were in need of the skills.
The Director General of WDA, Jerome Gasana promised that more will benefit from the project that is currently targeting 2,700 women.
“The AGI project will continue to make sure that more girls get skills to join the labour market so that they can be able to improve their lives as well as contributing to the country’s development,” Gasana said.
The coordinator of Hospitality Training & AGI project at WDA, Sam Barigye, said that 47 cooperatives had already been formed by the graduates
Speaking on behalf of the World Bank, Carolyn Turk, the Country Manager, commended the implementation of the project saying that it was on course for its intended mission.
“From our survey, we realized that the failure for these young women to join the labour market does not only affect them as individuals and their families, but it also affects national development because they do not play any role in the development process,” said Turk.
She added that the World Bank wished to support more similar projects that will enable the local population to play a role in the economic development of their country.