In 1994, Rwanda suffered one of the greatest atrocities in history – the massive genocide that took the lives of between 800,000 and 1,000,000 men, women and children in 100 days. Rwanda has made significant progress on reconciliation, peace and stability. With this has come a window of opportunity to create permanent self-sustainability for the country and its citizens.
Rwanda is rebuilding and healing after the devastating genocide with remarkable courage and determination. The country has one of the lowest corruption rates in Africa, is investing in infrastructure across many sectors, has long range goals for development with a focus on education (spending approximately 16% of the government’s budget on education) and seeks to become a point of stability on the continent that could serve as a model for other less stable countries.
They recognize that one of their biggest challenges to the acceleration of their development is an educated populace. There are simply not enough people trained and educated to create an economically sustainable and stable country. There needs to be an investment in all sectors; however, education is an area that can create profound change on the individual level -- which in turn will lead to a readiness to build other business and system structures. Education is crucial to raise people out of poverty, to begin to build a middle class and to foster continued stability and peace in the country.
As RGI looked to create a successful model for girls’ secondary education, Rwanda’s focus on education and dedication to gender equality were key factors that led to the decision to build RGI’s first project there. President Kagame has stated that there is no way that Rwanda can meet their development goals if over 50% of the population (women) are not able to participate in the country’s growth. They are determined to increase access to education for girls, recognizing the impact it will have on the country’s future development.