“When women develop, the family and the country in general develop.” It is over a decade now and the Government of Rwanda has, in one way or another, transformed every sector of the economy.
This is partly due to the strategies designed by the government to solve the problems affecting the country.
After overcoming the trauma of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, the Rwandan Government under the leadership of President Paul Kagame, focused on the development and transformation of the country, putting women right at the forefront of development.
One wonders why a small and young country like Rwanda, achieved its development goals and objectives in the shortest time possible, compared to its neighbours and many other African countries. Today, in a country of about 11 million people, every citizen is encouraged to participate in the country’s development including the women.
Women in particular have been encouraged and entrusted with positions of leadership which help them make decisions that positively affect their economic transformation.
According to Jane Lichtenstein, a communication assistant at the Ministry of Agriculture (MINAGRI), the Government of Rwanda appoints people to, “positions of responsibility based on their technical experts, talent and skills; putting the right women and men in the positions of responsibility that they do best.”
This has opened opportunities for women in key positions. For instance, Mrs. Aisa Kirabo former Mayor of Kigali City now Governor of Eastern Province, led a team which has transformed Kigali into a modern city that is talked about in every corner of the country and across borders.
Another example is Jolly Dusabe, Project Coordinator RSSP and LWH Projects under MINAGRI, funded by the World Bank, a technically expert person who has led a team which is transforming lives of many Rwandans across the country through construction of Irrigation dams and the rehabilitation of thousands of hectares of Marshlands for rice production. As a result they have achieved every target on time as they were set out to be.
Other outstanding women include: Dr. Agnes Kalibata, Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources, Hon. Rose Mukantabana, Speaker of the Parliament (not forgetting the house she’s entrusted with, which has a bigger percentage of women than any other Parliament in the world). Louise Mushikiwabo, Minister of Foreign Affairs who is the “Face of Rwanda” worldwide—she plays her role of protecting the image and branding Rwanda.
The list is endless, from public to private sector as well as Non-Governmental Organizations. The success of these women is so dependent on the team they supervise. Additionally, their background can’t be overlooked in determining their success in their career paths.
Nevertheless, Rwanda’s leadership needs to be commended for the audacious vision of entrusting some of the positions to the daughters of this country.
Why women? Research indicates that, women are good managers and developmental thinkers. 75 percent of the income earned by women is transferred into household consumption: That is food, children’s wealth and education. Therefore, educated women, placed well in any leadership position, will quickly transform their families and their nation.
One of the major objectives of the present Government is to promote women’s emancipation in all sectors of the economy, as well as preserving cultural values. The achievements of these policies are easily noticeable.
The saying goes that, “Train a woman and train a nation” and according to Andrew Mitchell of DFID, “Women can erase development black spots.” With such observations, we can now understand the reasons behind women being placed at the “fragile” positions in any Government, from America to Asia, Africa and across to Rwanda.
Rwanda has become a talk worldwide, not because of its dark genocide history, but because of the tremendous transformation and development of the country toward alleviating poverty and improving people’s livelihoods; women are seen to be playing an active role in this development.
“The emancipation of women is both necessary and desirable.” Hirschfeld Magnus (1866-1935).
The writer is a communication and Marketing Officer at RSSP-LWH/MINAGRI.