Projects for Peace: The Vision of Kathryn W. Davis

"My challenge to you is to bring about a mind-set of preparing for peace, instead of preparing for war."

Sisters in Success (SIS): Empowering girls in Burundi to promote peace

Project #
Wellesley College
  • Belyse Inamahoro

Sisters in Success (SIS): Empowering Girls in Burundi to Promote Peace

Collaborating with a number of fellow Burundian college students, Belyse Inamahoro organized and led a weeklong summer camp for 24 high school girls in Bujumbura, her country’s capital city. The goal, she writes, was to encourage the girls “to pursue their dreams, develop their full potential, and create a generation of successful Burundian women who will contribute to the development of their country.”

Inviting online applications on Whatsapp and Facebook, the team drew responses from 119 girls, from 10 out of Burundi’s 18 provinces. Each wrote short essays on their participation in extracurricular activities, desire to change their communities, and motivation to join the camp.

Gathered in a boarding school “away from the city noise and traffic jam,” the campers participated in workshops on writing resumes, designing projects, mock interviews and more. They also received individual coaching in school applications, and joined in “visits, debates, games and presentations so that the participants can build problem-solving, self-branding and team-building skills,” Belyse writes. “Most of the teachers were successful female business owners and professionals in Burundi.”

Belyse’s collaborators in organizing the camp were college students from the Bridge2Rwanda Scholars Program, Akilah Institute, the National University of Rwanda, the African Leadership Academy, and the United World College system. She drew coverage from national and international media, including a number of Burundian newspapers.

Looking ahead, Belyse hopes to organize more events, and to work with camp teachers and participants to develop new learning opportunities, such as internships, conferences, forums and job shadowing.