Top award for Girl Effect's Rwandan champion

“An investment in the girls today, is an investment in Africa’s future growth,” Donatha Gihana, Country Director of Girl Effect Rwanda, told crowds as she accepted the award for Africa’s Most Influential Woman in Business and Government in the East African Region, at an event held in Kampala, Uganda, on 19 August 2016.

Heading Rwanda’s largest and most influential girl-centred organisation, Girl Effect Rwanda, Ms Gihana was recognised for her relentless efforts working for the inclusion of girls at every level of Rwandan life.

Girl Effect Rwanda produces Ni Nyampinga, Rwanda’s first teen brand made by girls and for girls. Ni Nyampinga lives as a magazine, radio programme and across digital platforms, providing young people – girls in particular – with positive, inspiring and educational information. Its ultimate purpose is to start breaking down some of the social barriers and behaviours which inhibit girls from achieving their full potential – giving them the knowledge, skills and self-belief they need to be active participants in building Rwanda’s future.

The Most Influential Woman in Business and Government Award (MIW) was established by the CEO Group South Africa, to recognise the initiatives and achievements of women working to promote gender equality. It has grown into one of the continent’s most influential platforms to celebrate women who use their clout to promote equality and Africa’s growth.

Ms Gihana said: “As our girls rise, Rwanda rises. If we listen to girls and use our voices to ensure their needs are heard at every level, we can build the next generation of African women of influence. Ni Nyampinga helps girl in Rwanda do just this – it starts to break down some of the behaviours and beliefs that hold girls back, and gives them the self-confidence to be the people they want to be.”

Farah Golant, CEO of Girl Effect, said: “Women like Donatha are what Girl Effect is all about – and I’m so proud that she’s been recognised with this award. We want girls everywhere to be able to make their own choices and decisions in life, to grow and develop as the smart, empowered individuals they are. Our hope is that every girl has the chance to become a woman just like Donatha – strong, proud, passionate and dedicated to helping other girls and women fulfil their potential.”

Find out more about Dontha's work with Ni Nyampinga in Rwanda here