There is need to invest in women's empowerment and leadership in order for countries to achieve sustainable development.
Peter Malnak, USAID Rwanda Mission director, made the remarks yesterday while opening the first partners meeting for a Women's Leadership Programme in Kigali.
The Women's Leadership Programme is a USAID-supported project that operates in four countries worldwide: Rwanda, South Sudan, Armenia and Paraguay.
The Women's Leadership programme seeks to develop curricula and promote opportunities for women in business, agriculture, and education.
"Investing in women's empowerment and leadership is fundamental for strong and sustainable development. Educated, empowered women are healthier, start families later and are more economically successful," Malnak said.
He said educated women are able to transfer benefits to their children, raising a generation of citizens who are better prepared to contribute to economic development process.
Meeting under the theme, "A shared vision for promoting women's leadership through higher educations," the USAID project objectives are achieved by pairing the US higher education institutions with local institutions in each participating country.
For instance, Michigan State University and National University of Rwanda are creating a gender-sensitive Masters of Science programme in agribusiness that will promote women's leadership in agriculture.
Also, the University of California, Los Angeles, and the Kigali Institute of Education are fostering strategies to promote gender awareness through targeted outreach and recruitment programmes, institutional capacity building and gender-sensitive curriculum and teaching approaches.
The meeting drew representatives from partner institutions in the US and the four participating countries to provide an opportunity for stakeholders to share implementation experiences, receive training, discuss tools and practices for monitoring and evaluating results as well as build networks for future sharing and collaboration.
Up to $8.75m (about Rwf5.6b) has been earmarked to facilitate agriculture and education programmes in the participating countries until June 2015.