Jul 10 2024

From GLOW Club to Executive Director: Francine’s Journey to Empowering Rwandan Women


In Rwanda, girls have experienced difficulty developing self-confidence to pursue their dreams due to inequality. A decade ago, girls perceived their futures as controlled by others while boys confidently took charge of theirs. While opportunities for girls in Rwanda have significantly improved, girls still encounter barriers to education rooted in socioeconomic factors that impact their ability and confidence to pursue their aspirations.

Francine knew that there was more to her life, and was determined to make her dreams a reality. As a high school GLOW Club member in 2011, she discovered the confidence and leadership skills to pursue her ambitions. Today, as the Co-Founder and Executive Director of the women empowerment organization Women Gain Rwanda, she shares her incredible story.

2011: Finding GLOW Club in Northern Province, Rwanda

In 2011, at the age of 14, Francine was introduced to GLOW Club through the Rwandan Peace Corps. Here, she met girls her age from different parts of the country and started to learn skills that were foreign to her.

“In GLOW Club, we learned how to build confidence, self-esteem, and goal-setting – how to plan for a successful life,” Francine reflected. 

Francine had big dreams for her future and knew that she wanted to be a change-maker in her community. Learning about self-confidence helped her hold leadership roles in her school, and developing goal-setting skills opened up her path to university, where women make up only 34% of the student population.

In 2011, Francine discovered GLOW Club in the Northern Province of Rwanda

“GLOW Club gave me a direction of how I can live life, step-by-step. I planned that I would go to school, pass my exams, and go to university. After university, I will make money to support my family, myself, and my community,” she says. “Learning about leadership in GLOW Club taught me to have discipline in life – discipline for people I met, for my family, and the way I conduct myself with those around me. I learned that I can have an impact in my community.”

Francine used her newly developed time management skills to organize a daily plan for the first time in her life. She learned to be intentional with every minute of the day by networking with others and ensuring that everything she did positively impacted her goals in life. She began to realize that she was passionate about community service and investing in women’s abilities.

“Learning about leadership in GLOW Club taught me to have discipline in life – discipline for people I met, for my family, and the way I conduct myself with those around me. I learned that I can have an impact in my community.”

The experiences she gained in GLOW Club supported her throughout her associate’s degree at Akilah Institute and ultimately led to the founding of her own nonprofit organization, Women Gain Rwanda.

2022: Becoming an Executive Director of Women Gain Rwanda

Francine considers the lessons on confidence, leadership, and future planning in GLOW Club a critical contribution to the leadership role she holds today. 

Francine realized early on that her dream was to help others – especially women and girls – excel in their education. While pursuing her associate’s in business management and entrepreneurship, she met like-minded women through a leadership program, leading to the creation of Women Gain Rwanda in 2022. The nonprofit is dedicated to creating a sustainable women’s leadership network and promoting women and girls’ participation in decision-making spaces. 

As the Executive Director of Women Gain Rwanda, Francine champions positive change for women and girls in her community.

“Being an executive director has been a big challenge. Not in a negative way, but in a way that encourages my growth,” says Francine. “Especially being young, jumping into this position, and being responsible for administrative roles in a small nonprofit is not an easy task. But my self-confidence that I learned in GLOW Club helps me network and speak fearlessly in public” 

Francine is also currently a student pursuing a bachelor’s in Public Administration and Local Governance to further her career. She hopes to use her degree to create a positive impact in her community through her leadership. 

“It’s a passion. It’s a commitment. And I feel like doing all of this is achieving my goal of giving back to others – especially women.”

2024: The Present and the Future  

Francine encourages youth to seek knowledge and pursue their dreams with confidence.

Because of GLOW Club, Francine believes that she learned skills that played a critical role in allowing her to found her own organization and impact the lives of girls throughout Rwanda. She hopes to excel in her career by becoming a public administrator and taking on new opportunities that contribute to her growth as an advocate and leader.

Francine encourages others to do the same by finding every opportunity to learn from mentors or people who can give guidance, but most of all, believe in the power of collaboration.

“Know that all great things take time. In the process of making an impact, be ready to accept challenges. Know that it’s a long journey, and it’s a journey that you can’t accomplish alone. It requires collaboration, being proactive, with your full commitment, and being passionate. If you engage others, you will be able to make it happen.” 

This transformation story has been made possible through our collaboration with Francine, GLOW Club Alumni and Executive Director at Women Gain Rwanda. We would like to extend a special thanks to her for sharing her story and her journey in GLOW Club. To learn more about Francine’s work, visit womengain.org, and support young female advocates like her at globalgirlsglow.org/donate

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