Men hold a significant responsibility when teenage pregnancies occur, but majority of the girls suffer alone – that has to change, the First Lady Jeannette Kagame said on Sunday.
“I think the boys should account for their actions too, it doesn’t have to be the girls suffering alone,” Mrs Jeannette Kagame said at an event in Ngororero District, Western Rwanda.
She was speaking at the official closing of the Best Performing Girls Campaign – which is part of the Promotion of Girls’ Education project.
This year marks the 11th year of the Promotion of Girls’ Education “Ba Inkubito z’Icyeza n’ishema ry’abakobwa”, with 198 girls from across the country, awarded for their academic achievements, in the following school cycles: 143 from primary school; and at the secondary school level, 30 girls from S3, and 25 from S6.
At the edition in Ngororero district, 36 girls who shined in the national exams were recognised.
The awards have been an annual event since 2005 organised by Imbuto Foundation, the First Lady’s charity with various health and socio-economic initiatives.
Since the inception of the Girls’ Education project, over 4,200 top performers have been recognised and rewarded with scholastic materials, essential funds to create savings accounts, and girls in S6, were also rewarded with a laptop and IT training.
The purpose of the training is to equip the girls with basic IT skills, as they continue with university education.
In her address, Mrs Jeannette Kagame said inroads have been made in empowering the girl child to compete at same footing with boys.
Major challenges still exist though, said the First Lady.
She urged parents to ensure children are in school – not engaged in activities which retard their development.
“Should we be comfortable raising a generation of girls who cannot contribute to development of the country, of course not!” Mrs Jeannette Kagame said, adding that there is evedence of women’s contribution to the development of this country.
It is therefore right that all communities embrace gender equality, and support girls education, she said.
Notably, the 2016 Best Performing Girls Campaign is among the various events held under the celebration of the 15th anniversary of Imbuto Foundation.