On Thursday 3rd December 2020, Rwanda Association of Local Government Authorities (RALGA) organized a ceremony to close a six-months professional internship in local government for 131 fresh female university graduates. The ceremony took place at Nobleza Hotel in Kigali. It was graced by the presence of the Minister of Gender and Family Promotion, Hon. Jeanette BAYISENGE who was the Guest of Honour, the Head of Development Cooperation in the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, Ms. Dorothea Groth and the Secretary General of RALGA, Mr. Ladislas NGENDAHIMANA. The internship program was organised in collaboration with the Ministry of Local Government, the Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion, the districts and the City of Kigali, with support from GIZ-Rwanda through the Decentralization and Good Governance (DGG) program.
A key milestone in filling the gender balance gap and stereotypes in Local Government
In her remarks, the Minister of Gender and Family Promotion highlighted the fact that Rwanda has very good records in terms of numbers of females in Parliament (61%) and Cabinet (52.3%). However, she also reminded that the situation is different in Local Government were women are only 26.7% of Mayors, 16.7% of Vice Mayors in Charge of Economic Affairs and 8% of District Executive Secretaries. Hon. Jeannette also pointed out the stereotypes linking some positions to women and others to men. She gave the example of the position of Vice-Mayors for Social Affairs for which women are 87%, compared to the 16.7 % in the position of Vice Mayors in Charge of Economic Affairs, and the 8% in the position of District Executive Secretaries. She commended RALGA and its partners for initiating the Professional Internships Program which, according to her, is likely to create a critical mass of females who have good understanding of Local Government context, and hence being a sustainable solution to the gender balance gap identified in local government. She committed to support the projected 2nd phase of the professional internship for 120 females graduates from various universities due early 2021.
On his side, Mr. Ladislas NGENDAHIMANA, RALGA’s Secretary General commended the districts for successfully mentoring and coaching the interns despite loaded schedules. He also thanked the Federal Republic of Germany and GIZ-Rwanda for supporting the internship and the Government of Rwanda for setting up a conducive environment for gender equality in Local Government. He finally commended the internees for exemplary conduct as reported by district leaders. This was confirmed by the Mayor of Muhanga District, Cllr. Jacqueline KAYITARE who said that at the end of the internship, you could not make a difference between the interns and the district staff in terms of performance in the different areas of intervention.
On her side, Ms. NYIRANSABIMANA Ange Marie Yvette who was representing the internees said that in their views, the objective set for the internship program was achieved at 99%. She added that they are committed to become good ambassadors of the program and to use the acquired skills and experience in serving Local Government.
A contribution to the SDG5
In her remarks, the Head of Development Cooperation in the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, Ms. Dorothea Groth commended RALGA for the successfully management of the professional program. She expressed her personal passion for gender equality promotion in Local Government and said that the program is an important contribution to the achievement of SDG5 which aim is to “Achieve Gender Equality and Empower all Women and Girls”.