The Ministry for Gender and Family Promotion has launched a new project meant to support teenage girls in four districts across the country.
The $2 million (Rwf1.2 billion) project, dubbed Adolescent Girls Initiatives (AGI-Project), will be implemented in Gicumbi, Rulindo, Gasabo and Kicukiro districts with the support of the Workforce Development Authority (WDA) and Imbuto Foundation through Multi-Donor Trust Fund for Adolescent Girls.
It is aimed at fighting employment, improving incomes and empowerment of disadvantaged young women, mostly those who dropped out of school due to various challenges.
According to officials, the project was designed to last two years, starting with 675 among the 2,700 beneficiaries selected for vocational training in four main fields, including food production, food processing, arts and crafting and catering.
This will, in turn, help them get employment skills, according to Albert Nsengiyumva, (pictured) the Minister of State in charge of technical and vocational schools.
He, however, said there is a need to increase the beneficiaries’ number to include disadvantaged boys.
“We started with 12 sectors in four districts. It is a small coverage compared to the number of Rwandans. We need to sustain the project and to look at expanding it to reach many girls in the country and if possible to think of how the project can benefit even disadvantaged boys,” Nsengiyumva said.
Henriette Umulisa, the Permanent Secretary in the Gender Ministry, said skills acquired will enable beneficiaries become entrepreneurs.
“At the end of their courses they can become entrepreneurs. We encourage them to get together through cooperatives so we can link them to banks to get start up capital for their own projects,” she said.
Optimism among beneficiaries
A number of young women selected as beneficiaries told The New Times that they dropped out of school due to challenges like poverty and early pregnancies.
Odette Masengesho, dropped out of school while in Primary 5 to work in a bar from where she became pregnant.
When she heard the news of vocational training for disadvantaged young girls, she applied and was picked. She said with the training she is confidence the future is bright for her and her two-year old child.
Gaudence Uzayisenga, 18, admitted at Bushoki Vocational and Technical College in Rulindo had dropped out of school after Ordinary Level education.
She is proud to get a second chance.
The courses will last six months.