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The Akilah Institute at Davis College Rwanda


​​Elizabeth Dearborn Hughes had a dream. In 2008, she and her husband Dave Hughes, co-founded the Akilah Institute for women in Kigali, Rwanda. She arrived in Rwanda in 2006 after reading about the horrific 1994 genocide that left more than 800,000 people dead in a three-month period. In addition, she recognized that young girls and women had limited higher education opportunities. So she created Akilah to change that.


Akilah worked in tandem with private sector professionals seeking to align the Rwandan workforce with the skills needed in emerging sectors, and offered degrees that included Hospitality Management, Entrepreneurship, and Information Systems. The school proved so successful that the country's First Lady implored the educators to open a similar school for boys. This new charge would expand the mission of Akilah Institute, and bring logistical challenges.

How can an impact organization stay true to its mission, while responding to requests from high-level stakeholders to expand its impact?


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