First Lady Jeannette Kagame calls for special attention to girl’s education in national development

On 11 November 2021 at 03:30

First Lady Jeannette Kagame has said that girls have potential to play a central role in national development if they are given chance to access quality education and enjoy equal rights in the society.

She delivered the message on Wednesday 10th November 2021 at the 5th East African Youth Leadership Summit (YouLead Africa Summit) 2021 held in Arusha, Tanzania.

The summit brings together over 10,000 young professionals in the areas of leadership, investment, peace building and gender equity and women empowerment in Africa as well as policy makers.

Themed the ‘Future of Africa: Creating Jobs, Feeding, and Housing the World’s Youngest Continent’; the summit running from 8th to 12th November, 2021 is aimed at discussing issues pertinent to the regional development agenda including unemployment and access to economic resources.

Sessions held on Wednesday focused on the role of the youth to promote gender equity and women empowerment.

As she delivered remarks, Mrs Kagame reminisced the words of Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem highlighting that ‘the world cannot a better place if women’s conditions are not better in it’.

Even though his words were highlighted in 2006, Mrs Kagame said that they still resonate now ‘despite our country’s advances of the past 15 years in granting women equal status, equal opportunities and equal protection under the law’.

She revealed that the biological differences between the sexes are frequently mischaracterized as a justification for gender inequality. Mrs Kagame however insisted that it should not be case but rather ‘an indicator of how complementary our respective offerings can be’.

“To be in the post 1994 Rwanda, the contributions of all available human capital had to be put to use. The nurturing nature of women, the sensitivity that nourishes the unconditional love for their children, needed to be capitalized upon to engage an entire nation in the testing task of communal healing,” she explained.

Mrs Kagame also emphasized that Africa needs life and love as a continent that has been scarred by centuries of oppression.

“Gender equality is not about uplifting one gender. It is about uplifting the community by empowering every individual that can contribute to our society’s progress, wellbeing and stability,” she noted.

Sustainable Development Goal 5 (SDG 5 or Global Goal 5) concerns gender equality and is fifth of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals established by the United Nations in 2015.

The principle of gender equality is also enshrined in Africa’s Agenda 2063 where it calls in its aspiration 6, for “An Africa, whose development is people-driven, relying on the potential of African people, especially its women and youth, and caring for children.”

The African Union (AU) also recognises that gender equality is a fundamental human right and an integral part of regional integration, economic growth and social development and has developed the AU’s strategy for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment (GEWE) to ensure the inclusion of women in Africa’s development agenda.

Mrs Kagame said that gender equality is the common appreciation of the unseen yet essential efforts of invisible woman to craft the first notion of home ‘most of us have ever known’.

She therefore stressed that achieving gender equality is ‘our means of giving back to those countless women who have dedicated their lives to ensuring we could all sit here positioned to be an impact on the future of our communities’.

Mrs Kagame highlighted that girl’s education in developed nations is of critical significance.

“On our continent, too many young girls have been withdrawn from schools and forced into premature adulthood through child marriage, full time employment and responsibility of financial support to their families. While these practices are becoming less and less common, we cannot hope for our morality to match our development in 2063 if they still occur at all,” she noted.

To promote young girls education, Mrs Kagame through Imbuto Foundation supports students from vulnerable backgrounds under the ‘Edified Generation Programme.’

Imbuto Foundation also awards girls with outstanding performance through ‘Best Performing Girls’ initiative.

First Lady Jeannette Kagame has said that a young girl who has shown the merit and the value of her efforts will be more willing to take on academic challenges.

She revealed that rewarding best performing girls is of critical importance and stressed the need to create an ecosystem where girls can exhibit their skills.

“I invite some of the professional, leaders and entrepreneurs here today, to join us in providing our young people including our young girls with guidance on attending career fulfillment and success. Your expertise might be invaluable but I believe it could lead to quantifiably promising results,” she noted.

Mrs Kagame emphasized that the ultimate goal is to see countries helping and granting girls and women, opportunities they deserve.

“For all the love that girls and women receive, they reinvest ten folds. Give a woman safety and she will give you serenity. Allow, a woman knowledge, and she will raise your children to be wise. Give a woman seed, and you will be brought the fruit garden flourishing,” she stated.

The Youth Advocacy Advisor at She Leads Plan International, Elsie Masava explained that the meeting plays a significant role to determine the youth’s role on the continent.

Tanzania’s Prime Minister, Kassim Majaliwa also emphasized that the youth deserve opportunities leading to sustainable development.

He stressed that Africa should particularly empower women and the youth in financial management which paves the way for sustainable Africa’s development.

The youth accounts for 60 percent of the population in East African Community.

First Lady Jeannette Kagame has called for special attention to girl’s education in national development.