Kagame UPs HeForShe Commitment to 500,000 Champions

From 100,000 commitment to raise that number of Rwandans backing the global HeForShe campaign, Rwanda made a new move this Thursday to have five times more champions.

President Paul Kagame today called on every Rwandan man to be part of the campaign.

We should have at least 500,000 champions, said Kagame while addressing 1000s of locals in Ngoma District on Day one of two-day eastern province tour.

“I was among the first men to sign up for the campaign. I encourage all men, starting from today, to sign and support women empowerment,” added Kagame.

In September last year, Government launched “HeForShe” initiative – a solidarity campaign for gender equality unveiled by UN Women. What people have to do is log on to www.heforshe.org and sign up using their identifiable name and email.

Today Kagame said: “I know some have signed up but the process is at a slow pace…”

The campaign intends to engage men and boys as agents of change for the achievement of gender equality and women’s rights, by encouraging them to take action against inequalities faced by women and girls.

The Kagame trip also coincided with the International Girls in ICT Day – an opportunity for girls and young women to get an insight into ICT sector, to consider ICT careers through open days at ICT institutions, meeting women role models, and getting “hands on” experience in technology.

To promote women among other citizens in ICT requires huge infrastructure, like Fibre Optic where Rwanda has invested $130 million to roll out a fiber optic cable on 3000km across the country.

The massive investment is intended to ensure rural schools get access to broadband connectivity. However, Ngoma district, especially Mugesera sector, the president’s meeting venue is still lagging behind because the cable is yet to reach there.

“I am going to follow up on why Fibre Optic Cable did not reach you. You should be hearing about it in just stories,” Kagame said amidst cheering from the crowd.

Rwanda is already at the crossroads in investing in ICT in education. Currently, 244,793 laptops have been distributed in 722 schools nationwide. Three million pupils in Rwandan primary schools are set to benefit this new technology which was dubbed ‘One laptop per child’ programme.

In the past few years, ICT has been the driving engine for transformation of the education sector, and allocated with 20% of the national budget, approximately $494 million of $2.47 billion.

Meanwhile, President Kagame challenged Ngoma District residents to support government in fighting poverty.

“To defeat poverty, we must work together to develop ourselves and begin by building on the resources we have.”

Kagame’s reaction came after Ngoma District Mayor, Nambaje Aphrodis, said that the district has been ranked among the poor in the country.

A recent Integrated Household Living Conditions Survey indicates that Ngoma District is the 9th poorest among the 30 district, with 19.5% of its 380,000 population below poverty line, while 46% of them remain relatively poor.

The district mayor told KT Press that most of the challenges attributed to growing poverty levels include, among others, lack of funds to establish Irrigation schemes in response to drought.

“In collaboration with Agriculture Ministry, we set aside 1200 hectares of land for irrigation but this requires Rwf40 billion which the district cannot fund,” Nambaje said.

The district’s economy largely depends on farming and commercial activities, with an annual revenue turnover of Rwf802million. Kagame pledged a tarmac road from Ngoma district to Karongi district in Western Province as part of supporting trade and other activities.

The President’s Citizen Outreach programme will proceeds to Nyagatare district tomorrow.

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