The first Miss Earth Rwanda beauty pageant had chess lessons included in its bootcamp as the organisers and Rwanda Chess Federation (FERWADE) mulled a move to spread the love for the game.
Looking to promote the ‘beauties for a cause’ concept in a distinctive style, organizers considered introducing the two-player strategy board of strategic skill as a good idea.
FERWADE vice president, Kevin Ganza, who participated in the training, said he was happy that the young girls learned fast.
Ganza said: “In Rwanda, like elsewhere in the world, Chess is still being regarded as a man’s game and is much associated with mathematics. This has been one of the many factors that held women back from playing this very good game.”
“We believe in equality of women and men as far as strategic thinking and problem solving capacity are concerned. We embarked on sensitization by especially proving that girls too can be good at chess. Miss Earth Rwanda contestants will be ambassadors and role models for many,” he noted.
One of the Miss Earth Rwanda organisers, Saida Bahati, said they incorporated chess because “our program is also about women empowerment.”
“The young women need skills and knowledge in order to be good ambassadors for the environment, but also to encourage other women to be independent and to bridge the gap of inequality when it comes to opportunities,” Bahati said.
The Miss Earth Rwanda aims to promote environmental awareness. For the past eight weeks, contestants were trained on cultural values, public speaking and the environment.