The New Times (Kigali)

Rwanda: The Women Achievers of 2012

Rwandan women drummers won Common Ground award

Clarisse Iribagiza winner of the US$50,000 'Inspire Africa' entrepreneurship competition.

Women Drummers in the Ingoma Nshya Dance Troupe which comprises of survivors of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, won a Common Ground Award.

Ingoma Nshya Dance Troupe based in Huye district was recognised for breaking cultural lines and won the award that was given by Search for Common Ground, an international organisation.

The Common Ground Awards were held at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, DC. The awards are presented annually by Search for Common Ground to honour outstanding accomplishments in conflict resolution, negotiation, community and peace building.

The organisers say these inspirational women are creating a space where female Rwandan artists can be free to develop their creativity as they work together towards the goals of preserving traditional culture while building a livelihood that will benefit all Rwandans.

Aloysie Cyanzayire, first woman Ombudsman

The former Chief Justice, Aloysie Cyanzayire, was in June 2012 appointed the new Ombudsman, replacing Tito Rutaremara who is now a Senator. She was also the first Rwandan woman to serve as Chief Justice.

Clarisse Iribagiza, winner of the US$50,000 'Inspire Africa' entrepreneurship competition

The 24-year-old CEO of Hehe Limited a mobile computing Technology company won the 2012 Inspire Africa entrepreneurship competition. 24 participants of the Commonwealth exposed a variety of ideas on trade especially in agriculture, developing a program of mobile telephones, entertainment, construction, education and industrialisation where Clarisse Iribagiza emerged the winner of the competition.

The tasks they were given involved carrying out business as market research, economics and management. The grand finale event was held in Rwanda and Iribagiza beat two other finalists, Manuela Pacutho and Davis Musinguzi both from Uganda to win $50,000.

She was voted due to her amicable leadership skills and her brilliant ICT business knowledge.

Alphosine Niyigena, proprietor of Rwanda's first Beauty school

Alphosine Niyigena, proprietor of Universal Beauty Academy, is among several Rwandan women who have benefited from policies that empower women.

Universal Beauty Academy (UBA) is the first of its kind in the country. Niyigena spent about Rwf120 million to establish her business. The school has the capacity to accommodate 360 students in shifts. Two halls are used for theoretical classes in beauty therapy and hair dressing while six smaller rooms are for practical classes, the school officially opened on July 1st, 2012.

Miss Rwanda 2012

The 20-year-old Aurore Mutesi Kayibanda was crowned Miss Rwanda 2012 after beating 14 other contestants in a seriously competitive contest that took place at the Gikondo Expo Grounds.

She was first recognised as Miss Heritage before she was crowned Miss Rwanda 2012. She replaced 2009 Miss Rwanda, Grace Bahati.

Kayibanda who represented the Southern Province, was handed her grand prize worth Rwf25 million.

Hon. Dr Agnes Kalibata, granted 2012 Yara Prize Award

The Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources, Dr Agnes Kalibata, was on September 5th, 2012 announced winner of the 2012 Yara Prize Award for her efforts towards ensuring food security in Rwanda.

She was awarded the prize for her great work in the transformation of food security and agricultural development in Rwanda as a result of the national agricultural policies with the NEPAD/CAADP frameworks.

As a way of sustaining the gains in food security and the future of agriculture in Rwanda, Dr. Kalibata has been a driving force behind the Grow Africa Initiative, a partnership platform to accelerate investments for sustainable and inclusive growth in African agriculture.

Rwanda girls won full scholarships to top U.S. universities

Four girls - Rina Ntagozera, attained a scholarship at Haverford College in Haverford, Pennsylvania; Sharon Damas Batamuriza went to Bennington College in Bennington, Vermont; Charlotte Mugisha enrolled at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington and Denyse Niwenshuti, headed to Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Open A Door, a non-profit organisation dedicated to helping talented young women from Rwanda gain access to university scholarship opportunities in the US, organised a competition to get future young women leaders into their program. Fifty Rwanda girls applied, but only four won.

Claire Akamanzi, listed among 2012 global young leaders

Clare Akamanzi, the acting CEO of Rwanda Development Board, RDB, was on March 6th, 2012 honoured among 192 global young leaders from 59 countries for their outstanding leadership, professional accomplishments and commitment to society.

The announcement was made by the World Economic Forum, a Swiss non-profit foundation based in Cologny, Geneva.

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