OFFICIAL LAUNCH OF ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT OF GIRLS AND YOUNG WOMEN PROJECT- AGI Project
Hon. Mukabaramba Alivera, Minister of State in Charge of Social Affairs/MINALOC officiated at the launch, which was also attended by the Minister of Youth, World Bank Country Manager, PS /MIGEPROF, Government Agencies, Private Institutions, districts, NGOs and other partners.
AGI Project is a 2,700 million USD project financed by the World Bank that will last three years. In addition to improving incomes and economic empowerment, the project will also test innovative approaches to promoting productive employment for the targeted beneficiaries, as well as providing scholarships to enable girls return to formal education.
Under the guidance and coordination of MIGEPROF, this project will be implemented in four districts: GASABO, KICUKIRO, GICUMBI and RULINDO by executive Agencies like Workforce Development Authority (WDA) and Imbuto Foundation.
The Guest of Honour Hon. Mukabaramba thanked the Government of Rwanda, the World Bank, WDA, Imbuto Foundation and the Districts of Rulindo, Gicumbi, Kicukiro and Gasabo for the efforts invested in this project from its inception. She added that it was a good coincidence that the project was launched during the Women and Girls’ Month aimed at empowering women and girls.
Hon. Mukabaramba said she expected the project to improve employment, income, and empowerment of disadvantaged adolescent girls and young women in the four districts. She noted that Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) is a national priority.
Speaking on behalf of the Minister of Gender and Family Promotion, the Guest of Honour said the Ministry is pleased to be able to work with the Workforce Development Authority and Imbuto Foundation and others to ensure all children have an opportunity to go to school and contribute to capacity building and skills development in Rwanda.
She added that the Government of Rwanda will continue to invest in social protection for vulnerable groups, including adolescent girls and boys and continue to seek ways to enhance the economic empowerment of all Rwandans, in particular youth and women.
The World Bank Country Manager, Ms LADIPO added that the World Bank and its development partners care about what happens to adolescent girls and young women and are supporting MIGEPROF to remove the barriers that girls and young women face that prevent them from realizing their full potential which include poverty and gender inequality.
Despite Rwanda’s remarkable economic progress in the last few years, poverty remains widespread; 44.9 percent of the households still live below the poverty line, of these 33 percent are female-headed, in some cases by young girls.
In addition, gender inequality continues to have far reaching consequences: 18 percent of women are still not paid for their labor and only 23 percent work in non-farm employment.
Rwanda has made enormous strides in improving access to education at all levels and in promoting gender equality within the education system, however social and institutional barriers remain. These impair girls’ performance in school, and prevent girls from completing secondary school in equal numbers to boys. Today, only 11.9 percent of girls have secondary school education versus 14.5 percent of boys – and only 2.8 percent, complete secondary school.
Some of the reasons for the lower participation of girls in secondary education include: limited places in secondary school and social practices such as early marriage and negative attitudes to sending girls to school. Yet, we know that educating girls beyond primary school empowers them in fundamental ways that primary school alone cannot. As a result of secondary school education these girls live longer, plan and raise healthy families, and in the process help strengthen economies.
The Country Manager said the World Bank is very proud to be associated with this pilot program and commits to work with the Government of Rwanda and its development partners to scale-up and mainstream the lessons and best practices that emerge from it.
During the event, WDA and Imbuto Foundation, the two executive agencies of the Project presented their strategies to implement the Project and young girls under scholarship gave testimonies.
The Minister of Youth, Honourable NSEGIMANA Jean Philbert made the closing remarks and welcomed the AGI project and emphasized the need to create many other projects to help all young people to overcome difficulties.