First-Ever Rwandan Girl's Teen Magazine Aims To Empower Young Women
In today's social climate, life can be pretty tough for teen girls.
But in countries where early marriages and teen pregnancies are often promoted over higher education and personal success, young adults face far greater concerns than melodramatic feuds with friends and fleeting puppy love.
To combat these unfair ideals and expectations forced upon young women, Rwandan girl journalists launched Ni Nyampinga ("beautiful girl"), a quarterly magazine, weekly radio show and digital platform for teens.
What's now grown into a nationwide network was first founded in November 2011 in conjunction with The Girl Effect and Girl Hub –– global movements that seek to improve millions of young girls' lives through education, health, safety and opportunity.
Ni Nyampinga's main mission is to help define girls as doers and leaders of their community.
Before the mag's inception, cultural barriers forced young women to accept certain circumstances and shy away from achieving as much as their male counterparts.
According to the site's video, in 2010 only 5.4 percent of women ages 20–24 had completed secondary school and 50 percent of teen girls thought it was okay for a man to beat his wife.
Now, early signs of the country's first girl-led teen brand prove the initiative is affecting real change, inspiring young girls to think in new ways about their futures. "While enjoying being teenagers," they learn about friendship and make wise decisions to feel connected to one another and the world.
"Ni Nyampinga let me see that girls can succeed the same way as boys," says 16-year-old Bonnette, who feels her dream to own her own business as an electrician is obtainable, thanks to the girl-centric brand.
In a sea of international mags that mostly boast how-to fashion guides and dating advice, opportunity-based lifestyle hubs like Ni Nyampinga are vital to young women's growth.