This year, two young Rwandan women won an international Emerging African Women Leadership Fellowship programme that is organized by a consortium of leading organizations that promote women leadership globally.
The programme is brought together by a partnership of organizations that promote women leadership such as the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women (UN Women), Women’s Initiative for SelfEmpowerment (WISE), Junior Achievement International, The Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG), The Global Fund for Women, OSI-International Women’s Program, and The Africa Group Consult, GATE to Africa among others.
The fellows were chosen through a highly competitive selection process and criteria, including for their outstanding leadership promise, community service accomplishments, and commitment to the advancement of women in Africa. The 25 selected fellows are some of Africa’s most extraordinary young women leaders with the courage and commitment to lead and shape the future of their communities and Africa as a whole.
Undeterred by the events that befell her family and the Rwandan society during the Rwandan Genocide in 1994, Belise Rutagengwa, currently residing in the United States has excelled in education, sports, leadership and community services among her many talents. She recently graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and International Studies with a minor in English Literature from Northwestern University.
Fluent in her mother language, Kinyarwanda, Rutagengwa has embarked on big causes that confront humanity globally from advocacy against genocide like the Genocide Intervention Network in Sudan to teaching local students in the US about Genocide. Her work in this area propelled her to the Oprah Winfrey Show in 2006, where she urged youth of her age around the world to take action to help the people of Sudan. She is interested in tackling gender issues in education, sexual violence, and political representation, and she hopes to apply her fellowship experience to initiating a project that aims to look at these issues and how they can be eradicated.
Patricie Uwase is a third year student of Civil Engineering at the Kigali Institute of Science and Technology (KIST), who has served as a local university Guild Minister of Gender and represents Generation Rwanda as an Ambassador in the U.S.A and Canada. The two Rwandans join a team of other twenty three emerging African women leaders from around the continent.