#008: Where is Rwanda's Diane Rwigara

Sep 1 Issue of Empower46 below. To receive more like this straight to your inbox, join us here.

  • Where is Rwanda's Diane Rwigara?  

 35-year-old Diane Rwigara, former presidential hopeful and fierce opponent of Rwandan president Paul Kagame, went missing this past week in Rwanda.

After being disqualified from running against Kagame and being subject to release of her  alleged nude pictures, she has now been missing for over 48 hours. According to family, Diane's home was raided by police on claims of tax evasion and forgery, but the police dispels any claim that they arrested Diane or any of her family members after searching the home. However, Diane and four other family members have not been seen or heard from since the police raid.

Back in July, Diane expressed that she and her family might be in danger considering her brazenness to speak out against Kagame (who has been in power since 1994). Kagame has a strong economic record, but has been criticized for stifling free speech and maintaining a strong hold on power. It was Kagame's Rwanda that Diane described as: "a pretty girl with a lot of makeup, but the inside is dark and dirty." 

Read for"This is about silencing my sister because she exposed some things and speaks her mind against the wrong things that Rwanda is doing." 




  • Changing Girls' Lives through Education

CAMFED's (Campaign for Female Education) series, "Women Who Lead" sheds the spotlight on change-maker and philanthropist, Nimatu Siisu. A young woman from the North Gonja district of Ghana, Nimatu's greatest obstacle in obtaining an education was the financial burden of school fees.

Through the support of CAMFED, she finished secondary school and once she was in university, she looked back to help other young girls like herthrough philanthropy and charity work. Her story is beautiful and is proof of the multiplier effect that education of girls brings. 

Read for"The main challenge for girls in this community is financial. Most girls are passionate about school but they don't have the necessary support to complete their course of studies."  




  • SMS Service Sends Maternal Health Info to Tanzanians in Swahili

The SMS service called "Wazazi Nipendeni" sends free health and nutrition information via text messages to over 120,000 people across Tanzania. "Wazazi Nipendeni" means "Parents Love Me" in Swahili and is particularly targeted to reducing maternal and infant mortality, by providing pregnancy health information and sending appointment reminders.

Wazazi Nipendi is highly effective in increasing access to information on topics such as mother-to-child HIV transmission, importance of attending prenatal appointments, tips for breast feeding, amongst others. 

Read for“Delivery in a healthcare facility was also influenced by exposure to Wazazi Nipendeni - for each message source to which a woman had been exposed, there was a 20% greater odds the woman delivered at a health facility" 


  • 41 Years of Iman  

In a riveting piece for Vogue, which cheekily begins with "Who me? 62?", Somali model, Iman, reflects on her legendary modeling career from being discovered walking down the street in Kenya to walking in the biggest runway shows and posing for great photographers.

Besides her jaw-dropping beauty, Iman has been a source of inspiration for many black girls going into fashion industry because of her fight for diversity. She has also been an icon for her fight against female genital mutilation in Somalia and other areas across the world.
In the article, she talks of the context behind her most famous photographs, the pain of losing her husband David Bowie early last year, and the inexplicable joy of becoming a grandmother.

Read for"While I was hardly confident, I was not scared. I felt I had nothing to lose, only to gain. In Arabic my name, Iman, means 'faith.' I had faith."



  • The Disaster of Sierra Leone's Mudslide  

On August 14, Sierra Leone experienced the most devastating mudslide and floods recorded on the African continent in the past two decades. International agencies and the Sierra Leonean government place the death toll at over 1,000.

While the military has been deployed to support in aid and rescuing efforts, the level of the disaster and its impact on the country remain enormous. Furthermore, groups such as WHO and the Red Cross have raised alarms about water-borne diseases such as cholera, which now more easily be transmitted.  Efforts are being made to honorably bury victims, rebuild the affected areas, and support displaced persons.

To donate to disaster relief in Sierra Leone, please consider Save The Children or Action Aid

Read for“Our local aid workers in Sierra Leone are telling us that they are especially concerned for the welfare and safety of girls and women, who are the most vulnerable at this time." 



Nneoma Nwankwo