Reaching out to Rwanda's 'unreachable' girls

The Girl Research Unit is a group of six young women who have been trained to reach out and speak to adolescent girls in Rwanda.

They are using their unique position to gain real insight into the lives of their peers, who naturally feel more comfortable talking to them rather than someone of another gender, nationality or age.


Before the Girl Research Unit was set up, there was very little information on girls in Rwanda and out-of-school girls aged 10-12 were considered "unreachable" by the government. 

The Girl Research Unit young women have been going into communities and spending time gaining the trust of girls, boys, parents, gatekeepers and local leaders. Using this method, they've collected information about girls, including the most difficult to track.

The young researchers have used qualitative and quantitative research techniques, including SenseMaker, to gather stories that girls tell them about their lives. They have then been analysing that information on a large scale.


The Girl Research Unit achievements to date include participating in Girl Consultations - a series of interviews with girls to gather their ambitions and goals for the future. These were  presented to the Women Deliver Summit in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, where world leaders were tasked with addressing global issues that would eventually see these girls' ambitions realised.

The researchers have been instrumental in gathering feedback and assessing the impact of Ni Nyampinga magazine and radio show. Through the unique access they have to vulnerable girls in communities, they're able to get genuine feedback about the topics the magazine and show cover. For example, some of the most popular content is on the topic of sexual and reproductive health. The researchers have been able to get girls to open up about these issues - the challenges they face and knowledge gaps in this area - ultimately allowing them to fine-tune content for future coverage.

The information the Girl Research Unit gathers will be instrumental in making national policies in Rwanda work better for vulnerable girls.


Last month the Market Research Society recognised the unique insights the Girl Research Unit has collected; the prestigious President's Medal was awarded to 2CV and Girl Hub Rwanda for their joint effort with the Girl Research Unit.

The researchers were trained by Girl Hub Rwanda Monitoring and Learning (M&L) with support from global research agency 2CV. 

Find out more about Girl Hub Rwanda

Read about how the Ni Nyampinga magazine and radio show work