To many, she is just the President’s wife but Rwandan First Lady Jeanette Kagame is more than that. She is a mother, an entrepreneur and an activist. With an activist track record spanning more than ten years, she is undoubtedly a cut above the rest.
While many know her simply because she is Rwandan President Paul Kagame’s wife, First Lady Jeannette Kagame is a woman in her own right. She is more than just the President’s wife. Even before becoming Rwanda’s first lady, she was an entrepreneur and activist. She has a relentless passion to uplift the lives of vulnerable populations in Rwanda particularly those of widows, disadvantaged communities, and orphans of the 1994 genocide.
Her activism has always centered on empowering women and girls through education and entrepreneurial activities with the objective of making gender equality the social norm and create prosperity. In 2018, she received the African Women of Excellence Award (AWEA) for her outstanding work on empowering women and her overall contribution to Africa’s development.
Through her Imbuto Foundation, she has managed to mobilize the Rwandan community to support girls’ education for the last ten years. With an annual social mobilization campaign to motivate girls to excel at school, she has assisted more than 3,000 girls through mentorship and academic sponsorships.
It is against this backdrop that she has been once more recognised by the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGS) for her tireless efforts in championing the empowerment of women and girls in Rwanda. The award was bestowed on the first lady during the 12th Africa Regional Conference of WAGGS which was held in Nyamata, Bugesera District in Rwanda. The conference brought together guides from 41 countries and was held under the theme of ‘’Unite Thrive and Grow.’’
Rosemary Mbabazi, the Minister of Youth, was present to receive the award on the First Lady’s behalf. While receiving the award, she advised the girl guides to take centre stage in solving the issues facing their communities as opposed to waiting for aid and support (that may or may not come) from others.
“African problems should be solved by Africans,” she said and advised the girls and all the members of the Girl Guides not to always rely on foreign assistance to solve African problems as Africa has more than enough resources to sustain itself.
Despite being unable to receive the award in person, the First lady expressed her gratitude on her official Twitter account stating:
Thank you Global Girl Guides for the recognition. We will continue to work together to ensure every girl child is safe and educated.”
Header Image Credit: African Global Village
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