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First Lady and UN Deputy Secretary-General look to the future of Rwanda's girls and women

© UNICEF/2010/Ngoboka
Her Excellency Jeanette Kagame, First Lady of the Republic of Rwanda, at the inauguration of the Kacyiru Police Hospital in Kigali.

KIGALI, Rwanda, 21 May 2010 – Her Excellency Jeanette Kagame, the First Lady of the Republic of Rwanda, inaugurated the Kacyiru Police Hospital here earlier this week. With support from UNICEF, the Office of the First Lady and the Imbuto Foundation, Kacyiru Police Hospital delivers services to over 61,000 people – primarily women and children.

Through prevention-of-mother-to-child-transmission services, the maternity ward in the hospital’s women's pavilion gives pregnant women living with HIV a better chance of delivering babies free from the virus. The adjoining Isange One Stop Centre provides a haven to victims of child, domestic and gender-based violence.

The facility is a model of integrated health services designed to overcome gender discrimination. Joining Ms. Kagame at its inauguration were the Rwandan Minister of Interior, the Commissioner General of Police, the Minister of Gender and Equality of Spain and the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health – as well as UNICEF Rwanda Deputy Representative Dr. Jane Muita.

© UNICEF/2010/Ngoboka
UN Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro (left) takes part in a lively interaction with the girls on the tour of the FAWE Girls' High School in Gisozi, located in Rwanda’s Gasabo district.

Focus on safe motherhood

The maternity services at Kacyiru are a step towards realization of the Millennium Development Goals and the objectives of the Rwandan Safe Motherhood Initiative, which promotes increased public awareness of the need to make pregnancy and childbirth safe for all of the country’s women.

“The improvement of the life of millions of Rwandan children, girls and women – especially those of child-bearing age – is the utmost concern,” said Dr. Wilson Rubandana, Assistant Commissioner of Police and Director of Medical Services.

“It is not acceptable that 750 out of 100,000 women die during childbirth in a country with outstanding visionary leadership and tremendous achievements registered in other sectors,” he added. “This hospital will make a contribution to the efforts of the government.”

© UNICEF/2010/Ngobok
Outside FAWE Girls' High School in Rwanda, UN Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro (centre) is flanked by UN Resident Coordinator in Rwanda Aurelien Agbenonci, school headmistress Sarah Ingabire, UNICEF Rwanda Deputy Representative Dr. Jane Muita and Forum for African Women Educationalists Deputy Chairperson Shema.

Inspiring girls to learn

The inauguration of the hospital on 18 May coincided with a visit by United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro to the FAWE Girls' High School in Gisozi, located in Rwanda’s Gasabo district. (FAWE – the Forum for African Women Educationalists – is a non-governmental organization that advocates for gender equity and quality education in school systems across the continent.)

An inspirational role model herself, Ms. Migiro emphasized the importance of girls’ education.

“When, as a girl, you are given the opportunity to attend school, work hard, be consistent, stay focused,” she told the schoolgirls, “the sky [is] the limit.”

Ms. Migiro supported idea of replicating the FAWE school model in other parts of Rwanda and Africa, and lauded the teachers for their work in facilitating girls’ success. She was in Rwanda to participate in the International Forum on the Role of Leadership in Promoting Gender Equality, which was officially opened by His Excellency the President of Rwanda Paul Kagame on 17 May.



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