First Lady calls for safer families as Rwandans celebrate Women’s Day

A good family is the bedrock of a better country and there is need for all players to work together to ensure families are safe, secure and work together to prosper.

The call was made on Friday by First Lady Jeannette Kagame, as she joined thousands of residents of Nyamasheke District and neighbouring districts for the celebrations of the International Women’s Day.

“Lack of safety in families does not necessarily mean living in war or conflicts,” she told the thousands who attended the function, adding that a safe family is also one that will have children they are capable of raising and treat both male and female siblings equally.

First Lady giving agricultural toolkits to representatives of cooperatives.

The event coincided with a social mobilisation campaign to motivate children to perform well in schools, which saw best performing female students in ordinary and advanced levels of secondary education, awarded by the First Lady.

The awarding is part of the programme launched in 2005 by Imbuto Foundation, for which the First Lady is the Chairperson, which aims at increasing the enrolment, retention and excellence of girls in school.

Since the start of the programme, 4,852 Best Performing Girls (BPG) have been awarded for their outstanding academic performance according to official statistics.

First Lady Jeannette Kagame with Minister Of Gender and Family Promotion, Amb Solina Nyirahabimana.

The prizes include scholastic materials, training in ICT as well as start-up funds for them to start saving.

The First Lady said that as the country joined the rest of the world to celebrate the women’s day, it was also an opportune time to recognize girls who have excelled in school, which she said will encourage their peers to work hard for better results.

Best Performing Girls ''Inkubito z'Icyeza''.

Mrs. Kagame also challenged Government officials and partners to work hard to address other societal challenges that continue to inhibit families, including teen pregnancies, stunting among under five children, as well as malnutrition.

“International Women’s Day is an opportunity to celebrate the gains made towards uplifting women in Rwanda. However, despite these gains, there remains a lot to be done,” she said.

She emphasised that more needs to be done to ensure full enrolment of the girls in schools, retention and excellence.

Dr Claire Karekezi, the country’s first female neurologist, shared her experience with young girls about the journey she went through to become a specialised medical officer she is.

She encouraged them to work hard and heed teachers’ advice as an inspiration for them to succeed, while not getting discouraged whenever they are faced with challenges.

Dr Claire Karekezi, First Rwandan Female Neurosurgeon.

During the same function, five cooperatives involved in agriculture were awarded with various modern farming materials. These cooperatives consist of 1616 members, of whom 48.3per cent are women.

Speaking at the function, Fode Ndiaye, the UN Resident Coordinator, called for leveraging the vast potential of innovation to promote gender equality, as well as removing all barriers hindering it.

He also called for a mindset shift to promote innovation, leaving no one behind, and stressed that it all starts with the planning, thinking big, and understating both challenges and opportunity and gender budgeting.