The association of Girl Guides in Rwanda has said it aims to produce future model leaders. This was revealed on Wednesday after 404 girls from across the country spent three days honing their leadership skills at a camp in Musha, Rwamagana District.
The camping exercise, which also attracted guide teams from England and Germany, took place from August 12 to 15 and attracted girls aged between 13 and 18.
In addition to acquiring leadership skills, the girls were also trained on to how to stop violence against girls and women as well preventing alcohol and drug abuse among youth.
At Musha, the girls also learned practical skills, including water treatment and making pads for themselves
“I can now advocate for thousands and thousands of young girls thanks to the different skills that I learned from this camp,” said Shemsa Umutoniwase.
She added that the training increased her self-confidence. “I wish every young girl had a chance to be a guide”.
Before she became a guide, Umutoniwase said, she was shy to speak in public but now she is more confident.
She also dispelled the widely held misconception that the guide association, which was founded by Baden Powel, is for Catholics.
“My name is Shemsa, I am a Muslim, Guides are not based on any religion whatsoever, all people from any religion can be members of Guides,” she said.
Pamela Ruzigana, the Chief Commissioner of Association des Guides du Rwanda, said their aim is to raise girls with high moral values.
“No girl guide can fail to speak in public because we teach them to overcome fear, and no girl can fail to be a leader because we teach them to be responsible wherever they are,” she said.
Theogene Muhoza, the Executive Secretary of Musha, said his sector was lucky to host young people who are keen to learn and fight poverty.
The Deputy Police Commander of Eastern region, Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) Francis Muheto, praised the girl guides for their dripline.
“When arresting girls found drunk in nightclubs, we never found a girl guide, this is something I appreciate you for,” he said.
Founded by Baden Powel in 1910 as an area for girls’ entertainment and learning, Guides have been active in Rwanda since 1980. They today operate in 160 countries worldwide.