Pathway 9 - Girls’ leadership

Pathway 9 - Girls’ leadership

This pathway contributes to change by:

Promoting girls' leadership by creating opportunities for sport, student governance, life skills and social networking.

  See below for the specific sections of this pathway. For further information on each section please refer to the attached document.


This pathway aims to have an impact on OVC girls of 12 years and older. By definition, this pathway is focused on girls, who do not have the same opportunities as boys to develop and use leadership skills. It is assumed that OVC girls of 12 years are in a better position to take up leadership roles than younger OVC girls.

  • The Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion, being the line ministries that have initiatives contributing to this pathway.
  • Girl Hub Rwanda, focusing on enabling all adolescent girls to reach their potential, and a catalyst in the area of girls’ leadership.

CARE Rwanda’s work on this pathway is informed by the Government of Rwanda’s policy context. Of specific importance to this pathway are:

  • The National Policy for the Protection of OVC (MINALOC, 2003) includes in its vision that OVC “will be assisted to reach their full potential”.
  • The Integrated Child Rights Policy (MIGEPROF, 2011) envisions the participation of every child in all spheres of society.
  • The Girls Education Policy (MINEDUC, 2008) looks at the elimination of gender disparities in education. Its three focus areas are access, quality & achievement and retention & completion.
  • The National Gender Policy (MIGEPROF, 2011) highlights principal guidelines on which sectoral policies and programs will base to integrate gender issues

To promote girls’ leadership, CARE Rwanda and its partners work at two levels. First, there are the capacities and confidence of girls themselves to take up leadership roles, speak out in public, etc. and second, there is society’s view on the role of girls and the general acceptance of them being leaders. This is done through a combination of welltested models and innovative approaches, including the following:

  • Peer support groups. Known under many different names, peer support groups are groups of children and/or youth that aim at building their capacity and self-confidence. They can be mixed groups or girls only, organized around a certain topic (such as health, hygiene, doing homework) or be more general and address a wide variety of topics.
  • Children’s forums and summits. These are government initiatives in order to support representation of children and giving them a voice towards decision-makers. As the forums and summits work with representatives on focuses on children in general, there is a risk that OVC are not included or represented.
  • Change norms and perceptions about girls and their roles in society. In order for girls’ leadership to be effective, they need to be accepted in their roles as leaders by others. In order to achieve this, CARE uses methods such as public dialogues and awareness raising.
  • The Child Mentorship Model. The Child Mentorship Model provides OVC with an adult mentor to help them in multiple areas in their lives. The participating children choose adults they trust to serve as their volunteer mentor.
  • Learning journeys. Learning journeys can help girls in expanding their views and in realizing their potential for leadership. By building links with and facilitating visits to individuals, institutions and businesses they journeys aim to inspire and motivate girls to consider a range of careers, to gain practical knowledge of everyday activities and to develop their understanding of formal structures and procedures, finance, the law, policy making and women’s rights.

The following indicator is used to measure impact at the level of this pathway:

  • % of school student leaders who are girls
  • Experiences with the Child Mentorship Model show that increased self-esteem and capacities of girls has lead to them being elected as the head of mixed children’s and youth groups.
  • Thanks to changes in how society looks at girls, decisions taken by girls heads of households are now more respected, whereas before they were not seen as equally important to boys heads of households.
  • NISU (Nkundabana Initiative Scale-Up)
  • KGAS (Keeping Girls at School)

CARE Rwanda is committed to learning, to continuously improve the relevance and quality of its work. In relation to supporting girls leadership, it poses itself the following question:

  1. How can an impact at the level of girls’ leadership be measured? It is difficult to know whether girls’ leadership in girls’ networks really contributes. When girls are leaders of mixed groups, it is equally difficult to know whether this is due to their individual characteristics and capacities, or whether CARE and partners’ work has been able to change something for the position of girls overall.