There are few opportunities for young women in East Africa to gain the skills and education necessary for meaningful employment and financial independence. Nearly 85 percent of East African women still work in subsistence agriculture, where they live on less than two dollars a day. Fewer than 7 percent of university-aged women in Rwanda enroll in higher education. Conversely, Rwanda’s private sector is experiencing rapid growth while facing an acute shortage of employees with the requisite skills and initiative. The Akilah Institute for Women serves as a critical link, a bridge, between women, the workforce, and the economy.
The Akilah Institute is an accredited women’s college in East Africa that provides a holistic model of market-relevant education which enables young women to achieve economic independence and obtain leadership roles in the workplace and in society. Akilah currently serves 350 students on its Kigali, Rwanda campus, and offers diploma programs in Entrepreneurship, Hospitality Management, and Information Systems – all high growth sectors in East Africa. In addition to courses in their selected majors, students receive instruction in English, leadership, business, and information technology. Akilah’s Career and Alumnae Affairs department helps graduates connect with a network of over 60 employment partners.
This unique education-workforce model has led to outstanding results:
Akilah enrolls promising young East African women who come from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds and demonstrate leadership skills and a capacity for growth. Seventy-eight percent of students are the first in their families to attend college, over half are from rural areas, and 75 percent were unemployed prior to coming to Akilah. Akilah provides significant scholarship support to all students.
A tax-deductible donation to Akilah is an investment with infinite returns. Akilah graduates are more than capable professionals; they are leaders and job creators who are giving back to their families and communities. Women typically invest 90 percent of their income into the health, education, and nutrition of their families, the highest return in the world.