Ambassador: Catherine Uwimana , Rwanda
Kathy spoke at One Young World in 2012 about her initiative Ibaba which was developing reading materials in the local Rwandan language, Kinyarwanda, because many studies showed children who can master their mother language well, learn other languages easily and succeed more at school.
In 2013, Save the Children asked her to work on a similar project for them; at the time Ibaba was the only initiative promoting the production of age-appropriate, better quality, affordable materials for Rwanda children. Today she is the national coordinator of the Rwandan Children’s Book Initiative working with the local publishing industry, to make better books, which are accessible and affordable to every Rwandan child under the age of nine. Today over 200 publishing professionals are working with children’s books and more than 250 higher-quality, locally produced, context and age-appropriate Kinyarwanda children’s books are published, of which 107 books are approved by the Rwanda Education Board.
Kathy also works with different development partners such as UNICEF and UNESCO, government officials in the development of book related policies and the promotion of the culture of reading among children and the private sector to invest more in education and reading materials written in their mother tongue.
Kathy says One Young World played a crucial role in where she is today. Being a One Young World Delegate Speaker built self-confidence, and the exposure raised her profile enabling her to meet influential people who heard and supported her, “One Young World gave me the first high-level platform where to express myself and it surely helped in propelling my career.”