You are here

“Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change”: International Women’s Day 2019

Girls Take Over Initiative


The “Girls Take Over” Initiative was aimed at providing a shadowing experience to young women in Rwanda, drawing on the evidence that having role models and career advice at an early age can be a game changer for young women and their achievements in the world of work. Through the Initiative, 20 girls from FAWE Girls School, Gashora Girls Academy, Akilah Institute for Women, and the Rwandan Organization of Women with Disabilities (UNABU), spent half a day in various Institutions and Businesses with the view to get first-hand professional experience and follow the daily responsibilities of leaders in various areas.


UNFPA’s Girls Take Over Initiative hosted Anisie Byukusenge from the Rwandan Organization of Women with Disabilities (UNABU). Anasie is a Rwanda youth leader who served as UNFPA Representative for the half day as a shadowing experience.  She is passionate about of Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH)/Gender Based Violence (GBV) affecting women with disabilities.  

Anisie and her fellow young girls who participated in job shadowing different institutions benefited from the opportunity to interact with high profile professionals in offices, Embassies, and in businesses to learn about a professional's day-to-day responsibilities and enabled them to decide whether, and the avenues to use in order to embrace such career paths.


Think Equal, Build Smart, innovate for Change” was this year’s global theme to celebrate 2019 International Women’s Day celebrated annually every 8th of March.


The celebrations in Rwanda took place in Nyamasheke District under the theme: “Together, Let’s Build a Safe Family”. The One UN in Rwanda joined the Government officials and national partners to recognize achievements towards gender equality and empowerment. Her Excellency the First Lady of Rwanda as the guest of honor and as the Chairperson of Imbuto Foundation awarded best performing girls in primary and secondary schools among other activities.


 Photo: H.E First Lady of Rwanda, Mrs. Jeannette Kagame (Central Right behind) and UN Rwanda Resident Coordinator, Fode Ndiaye (Central behind) awarding best performing girls during International Women’s Day celebration in Nyamasheke District

Under the leadership of First Lady Jeannette Kagame, Imbuto Foundation started the Promotion of the Girl Education Campaign in 2005 to encourage and increase the enrolment of girls in schools. Since then, 4852 best performing girls have been awarded for their outstanding academic performance


In the spirit of One UN Rwanda, the Resident Coordinator, Fode Ndiaye supported by Mark Bryan Schreiner, UNFPA Representative and Fatou LO, UN Women Representative joined the citizens in Nyamasheke District to celebrate the International Women’s Day.

  Photo: UN Rwanda Resident Coordinator, Mr. Fode Ndiaye delivers remarks on behalf of One UN during International Women’s Day celebration in Nyamasheke District

Rwanda will not tire to empower girls and women – Rwanda’s Prime Minister asserts


Photo: Rt Hon. Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente (2nd left) launches a report on the State of Gender Equality in Rwanda report alongside central bank Deputy Governor Monique Nsanzabaganwa (left) Minister for Family and Gender Promotion Solina Nyirahabimana (right) and Fodé Ndiaye, UN Resident Coordinator.


The celebration of women’s month in Rwanda was characterized with a number of activities including the launch of a Report on the State of Gender Equality in Rwanda. The index shows significant progress made on several fronts in promoting gender equality in Rwanda.


Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente said that Rwanda will not stop to promote gender equality and to empower women as their role in the realization of both socio-economic development and transformation is unprecedented.


The Government of Rwanda will not tire to empower girls and women as well as giving equal opportunities to both girls and women,” the Premier said.


Closing the Women’s Celebration Month, the Prime Minister highlighted that the day to close the celebration was particularly a great moment to celebrate what Rwanda has achieved in empowering girls and women and developing their capacity in different fields.  


We strongly believe that giving equal opportunities to men and women as well as girls and boys plays a critical role in achieving the country’s desired transformation.” Hon. Solina Nyirahabimana, Minister for Family and Gender Promotion


The State of Gender Equality Report further highlighted major remaining challenges including; limited access to information on sexual and reproductive health particularly for the youths; law participation of male in family planning program.


UNFPA Representative’s message on celebrating International Women’s month activities particularly on International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) and Women’s Rights, appreciates the Government of Rwanda and all partners’ efforts to ensure girls and women’s rights are promoted.


“This year, 2019 as we celebrate the 25 years later of ICPD, the right to make free and informed choices over women and girls sexual and reproductive health rights still have not been fully realized. However, something extraordinary is happening: Women are stepping up, to secure the rights of their friends, sisters and countrywomen. Women are real-life superheroes, and their efforts are a clarion call for all in society to join and celebrate” Mark Bryan Schreiner, UNFPA Representative