URUGWIRO VILLAGE - President Paul Kagame yesterday received the president of Nike Foundation, Maria Eitel, and Mark Lowcock, Director General for Country Programs of UK’s Department for International Development (DfID).
Eitel, whose foundation has over the years been investing in adolescent girls as powerful agents of change in the developing world, discussed with the President the role the government has played in the enhancement of gender equality and investing in girls and women.
“We are very excited about the partnership we have with DfID and we expect some possibilities of opportunities of how we might participate here in Rwanda. We look forward to future visits,” Eitel told the journalists shortly after her meeting with the President.
She observed that most of the country’s population consists of adolescent girls below 18 years of age, and that these have enormous potential for creating continuous growth and stability for the country.
“We will be looking at different sectors where girls might be able to be included in ways that will help them participate more fully,” Eitel added.
Accompanied by senior DfID officials and Nicholas Cannon, UK’s High Commissioner, Lowcock said that the new collaboration between DfID and the Nike foundation will greatly contribute to building better lives for millions of Rwandan women.
“I’m very excited about the possibility of great collaboration on this crucial challenge which will be of benefit to the people of Rwanda, but also of interest and with lessons for a wider world,” Lowcock said.
Finance Minister, John Rwangombwa, said that the country’s impressive performance in the promotion of gender equality largely explains the interest Nike Foundation has in partnering with Rwanda.
“They are of the view that by beginning from a lower level with adolescent girls, this will strongly build on government’s efforts in developing women and girls,” he said.
He added that Lowcock and President Kagame also discussed about the forthcoming Presidential elections and the various economic programs in which the UK government partners with Rwanda.
DfID recently committed £10m (Rwf8.7b) to improve access to financial services by the population.