President Paul Kagame yesterday received officials from Nike Foundation and UK’s Department for International Development (DfID) to discuss ways to enrol the ‘Girl-Effect’ programme that aims at building confidence among young girls below the age of 12.
Nike Foundation, which 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.
Speaking to the press after meeting with President Kagame, Charlie Denson, a Nike Foundation Board Member, said that a programme dubbed 12+ was created in Rwanda eight months ago as a pilot phase with a target to enrol it countrywide.
Information from the Nike Foundation website indicates that 12+ combines safe spaces, mentorship, health and financial literacy training, and fun health “adventures” to delay girls’ sexual activity and increase contraceptive use once it is needed.
“The Foundation’s relations with Rwanda is built around the 12+ programme which we tested here over the last eight months and we are now looking at rolling out across the country, and hopefully getting all the girls involved in this programme,” Denson mentioned.
The Minister of Health, Dr. Agnes Binagwaho, also pointed out that the Nike Foundation’s involvement in Rwanda is creating a big impact in building confidence among girls.
“The pilot phase was very successful with an objective of giving skills to girls to believe in themselves, skills in future proper family planning decisions and economic entrepreneurship,” she observed.
“This programme involves girls and mentors; girls love it, mentors adore it and the results are great. So the next step is to customise the programme and put it in the school curriculum and in programmes out of school with the use of guides,” Binagwaho said.
Also present at the meeting was the CEO of Rwanda Development Board (RDB), John Gara.
RDB will develop programmes to follow up on girls who have completed benefiting from the 12+ programme by creating for them entrepreneurial programmes.