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Filles et Femmes

This brand is redefining the role of girls in Rwanda

Flickr: Maia B

Watch out Tiger Beat, Teen Vogue and Cosmo Girl… there's a new teen magazine in town, and it’s from Rwanda!

The magazine, Ni Nyampinga means “A girl who is beautiful inside and out and makes good decisions,” in Kinyarwanda, and is more than just a collection of pages guided by advertisers. It's a teen brand by Rwandan girls, for Rwandan girls. Whether it be through their magazine or their weekly radio programme, the teen journalists provide a platform to discuss issues like reproductive health and gender equality.

What better way to empower girls than to share inspiring stories of passionate, determined and thoughtful young women, just like them?

Not only have these young women harnessed their own innovative potential, but they’ve shown women all over Rwanda that they can do the same.

The first magazine issue was released in 2011, and featured women who were electricians and plumbers--professions that are typically thought be for men. The feature inspired 14-year-old songwriter, Yvette, to professionally craft and play traditional musical instruments that only men played in her village.

"It was like a veil was being lifted, because I always thought girls were left behind," she told Girl Effect.

Hundreds of thousands of copies were distributed within the magazine's first year of release.

Diane Uwamahoro, A Ni Nyampinga ambassador, illustrated how the magazine had inspired girls in her community: “When you interact with most teenage girls, they will tell you how they want to be like Esther Mbabazi, Rwanda’s first female pilot, because of the story they read in the magazine about her journey to such a great achievement.”


She was inspired herself, and chose to become a dentist because of stories in Ni Nyampinga. She “read stories in the magazine in 2011 about how science is a field that girls should not shy away from and this gave [her] the confidence to take on such a challenge.”

Ni Nyampinga is arming the next generation of women with knowledge, wisdom and drive. Look out, Rwanda, here they come!