The multi-donor trust fund administered by the
Its donors include the governments of
A report on the
It was noted that the country's large youth cohort--some 19% of the population is aged 15-24--faces major obstacles in entering the work force.
Adolescent girls also face the added burdens of widespread early childbearing, high fertility, and gender-based violence. They are also less likely than their male peers to complete secondary education, limiting their opportunities and ability to work their way out of poverty.
Under AGI, young women get six months of skills training in areas such as food processing, culinary arts, arts and crafts, and agri-business--complemented by life skills courses, social support, and mentoring. Participants also receive support to form cooperatives and connect with the private sector, including exporters: One public-private partnership is helping participants break into high-end US and Japanese markets.
According to the report, three cohorts of young women--2,007 in all--will have completed training in
The report says 23 girls who studied food processing at the
Graduates from the first cohort have formed 60 cooperatives, typically comprising 18-20 members, and several businesses. Several cooperatives have ventured into non-traditional farming such as mushrooms and beekeeping. In Bushoki, a rural village north of the capital, 22 girls have established a restaurant that is quickly becoming popular in the area.
Life skills, including social and behavioral skills, which enable trainees to deal effectively with the demands of everyday life, are an important part of the Rwanda AGI.
In addition, through a partnership with Girl Hub Rwanda, participants are provided with a designated space that is safe and supportive, aimed at helping girls make healthy choices.
"I thought my pain and sadness were mine alone but when I came to this program, I realised that there are many girls in similar situations," said
"We have been trained how to live with other people and how to handle difficult situations. This... keeps me going."
Maria Nyiraminani, 20 and the youngest of eight children, had to leave school to help her mother at home after her father died in 2009. With AGI training, she said, "Now I am sure I can get a job and help my mother... I hope one day I will be able to help young girls in poor settings."
The Government of
But numerous challenges remain, particularly for young women in this youthful, densely populated country in
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