The Women and Girls Initiative was founded in 2009 by Didi Bertrand-Farmer, Former Director of Community Health and Social Development at Partners In Health/ Inshuti Mu Buzima. The primary objective of this program is to eliminate barriers to education for girls, ensure their economic independence and access to information so that they can make healthy decisions about their lives.
At its beginning, in collaboration with local authorities, health center staff, and representatives from PIH-IMB, over 120 out-of-school girls in Nyamirama sector were organized into six clubs. These clubs meet weekly to discuss health and reproductive issues, offering peer-to-peer psychosocial support and a platform for health outreach programs organized through the health center.
The program grew into the adolescent girls’ empowerment program, supporting part of the girls to complete their education. These girls receive school fee support, uniforms, sanitary products, and other necessary materials to continue their education. Others were enrolled in vocational training, micro-finance, and women’s cooperatives, for revenue generation.
The goals of the program are summarized as follow:
- Eliminate economic, social, and health-related barriers to education for girls through the provision of scholarship, needed school materials and health insurance.
- Reduce economic vulnerability for female youth through skills-building and micro-enterprise development.
- Empower girls to make healthy decisions through community-based health education.
- Promote the girls’ empowerment, achievement and well-being through psycho-social support.