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First Lady and UNICEF Reward Rwanda's Best Performing Girls

KIGALI March 10, 2011 - At a ceremony held in the heart of Rwanda, three hours from the nation's capital, 470 girls were honored by Rwanda’s First Lady, the Minister of State for Education and UNICEF for their excellent performance in school.

“This is a proud moment for Rwanda”, said Dr. Joseph Foumbi, UNICEF Representative to Rwanda, to the award winners “because your achievements constitute a big step towards the realization of the vision laid down by all Rwandans for a brighter future based on knowledge and hard work.”

While Rwanda has one of the highest primary enrollment rates in Africa, a quarter of its students do not complete the primary cycle.

Girls, in particular, face challenges to staying in school, including household chores, early pregnancies and long walking distances to school.

Rwanda launched its Nine Year Basic Education Reform in 2009 to address these challenges and ensure that more girls and boys stay in school and have a stronger start in life. Since its launch, not only has the government met its targets, but school fees have been removed and there has been an unprecedented expansion of school classroom capacity (through the construction of close to 6,000 classrooms and 10,000 latrine cubicles between 2009 and 2011).

UNICEF and the UN in Rwanda will continue to support improvements in the quality of education to ensure that both boys and girls have access to quality learning outcomes.

Photos available on request.

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