By Girl Effect Team
As the world gears up to decide on the next set of global development goals, girls from across Rwanda are making their voices heard.
Last week, Girl Hub Rwanda’s Ni Nyampinga girl ambassadors helped 80,000 copies of the MyWorld Survey – the UN’s public consultation on the post-2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – reach youths in every corner of the country.
“Girls across Rwanda are leading the charge to amplify youth voices in the post-2015 agenda,” said Amina Mohammed, special adviser to the UN secretary-general on post-2015 development planning.
“I understand that the girl ambassadors are going to be reaching boys and girls in every corner of the country. This commitment and approach in Rwanda should serve as an example for the rest of the world.”
MY World is a global survey organised by the UN that gives the general public the opportunity to tell world leaders about the future they want. With collaboration between Girl Hub and UNICEF, along with Peace Corps, Plan Rwanda and Girl Guides, the survey will gather in- and out-of-school youths’ perspectives on priorities for the next set of development goals. The results will be fed into the final decision-making.
Aurore Irangeneye, a Ni Nyampinga ambassador from Karongi district, said: “The survey collects different ideas from people and takes the views up to high-level decision-makers who can then incorporate these ideas into the global development agenda. Rwanda’s voices will be heard at the global level.”
Ni Nyampinga is Rwanda’s first magazine and radio show for teenage girls. Sarah Doyle from Girl Hub Rwanda says the Ni Nyampinga ambassadors’ involvement in this project has demonstrated the vital link girls provide between Rwanda’s 30 districts and the capital Kigali.
“They’re enthusiastic about learning new information, so it’s really great that they can help us to help them and their communities,” explains Sarah. “Originally we were just using them for magazine distribution but now we’re really seeing the potential in the Ni Nyampinga ambassadors and how we can deploy them for so much more.”
Before distributing the survey, the girl ambassadors attended a workshop in Kigali to receive training and to kick off discussions about what Rwandans would like to see prioritised in the post-2015 development goals.
“The girls talked a lot about creating opportunities for girls,” says Sarah. “There was discussion about access to school and finding time to study and focus on themselves, because girls are distracted by all kinds of obligations.
“There was also a lot of debate about health care. Rwanda has a great health system in place already but there is still a need for improvements, so there was a big debate around that, as well as maternal health issues.”
UNICEF’s Rwanda representative, Noala Skinner, said: “Through a fantastic team effort and infectious commitment on the part of young people themselves, we will hear the voices of over 80,000 Rwandan children and youth. It’s an inspiring initiative. Through the survey results, we look forward to hearing how Rwandans envision their future and their priorities, post-2015.”
Sarah hopes that those post-2015 priorities will include girls. “It’s really great that this MyWorld process is looking to get the input of the citizens of the world, particularly the youth, who so often don’t have a voice,” she says.
“It would be great if we could get a post-2015 development goal specifically for girls. Rwanda has supported creating opportunities for girls and women from the start. Rwanda has really set itself apart as a leader on the girls and women agenda.”
The Rwandan surveys will be completed by the middle of April. You can have your own say on the post-2015 MDGs here.
Find out more about the Millennium Development Goals
Read more about how Ni Nyampinga is empowering girls in Rwanda
This story is a collaboration between the UN, Girl Hub Rwanda, girl effect and DFID
UNICEF Rwanda has in collaboration with Girl Hub ensured that 80,000 offline My World surveys has been distributed to children in every corner of Rwanda”