In Southern Sudan, she is rare. As a headmistress, she directs a predominantly male faculty. She gives oversight to a campus with more that 300 young residents. She coordinates the school’s public-private partnerships. She drives her own motorbike to work and she hasn’t even had her 30th birthday!
Rita Harriett is the only female secondary school principal at the only all-girls boarding school in Yei County. Along with Africa ELI’s program director, Diane Birungi, Rita and I negotiated our first contract as public-private partners working together in Yei’s education sector. Rita is eager to work with organizations like Africa ELI who can help scale up students’ learning opportunities.
Rita subscribes not to the old adage, “anything a man can do a woman can do.” Rather, she believes, “anything a woman can do, a man can do too!” Both men and women are capable of accounting, or cooking, or leading a meeting, or caring for children. In a traditionally patriarchal environment, her thinking is progressive. For her vision, her tenacity, and sheer will to succeed, we recognize Rita Harriett as a “Champion Changemaker.” She is a role model for any woman in Sudan or around the globe.