Rwanda: Youths must shun short-cuts to success


By (Kenneth Agutamba)

An incident happened this week that left us with a ‘197-dollar question’ (pun intended) to reflect on, as we head into the freedom week; how much have the youth learned from the young men and women that led Rwanda’s Liberation struggle, 25 years ago?

He has since changed it but my friend, AC Group’s Patrick Buchana had the perfect Bio on his Twitter profile; ‘I have grown up watching and learning from the men and women that liberated our country; now it is time to do my bit.’


Considering that every country has its own liberation story, the ‘197-dollar question’here is not meant for only Rwandan youths but every young African in their respective country.

The incident on Tuesday morning was disturbing to follow; young Rwandans in their thousands, gathered at the Convention Centre, responding to what later turned out to be a false-call with a vague promise of returning home with ‘$197 value bonus’ to qualified participants.


The ‘$197 value bonus’ which was misconstrued by most to mean ‘cash handout’ at the end of the workshop only to learn otherwise at the event, left many wondering how it was possible for everyone to get it wrong; or whether the vague messaging was deliberate to attract revelers.

I am avoiding to say more about the unfortunate eventon purpose; to deny the organizers possible prominence and credibility that comes with being mentioned in this reputed publication.


It is instead the lessons from the wrecked event that deserve being highlighted with prominence. The first lesson to draw being that, our youths are paying attention to the internet, searching for opportunities to learn and enterprise, to improve their personal financial situations.

That is a good thing and we should not in any way use it to conclude that Rwandan youths are ‘desperate for jobs and money’ as some attempted to spin in various social media chat threads.


As my colleague Thierry Gatete pointed correctly out in one of the twitter threads on the same subject, ‘money, let alone $197 would have excited anyone in most parts of the world’ regardless of unemployment rates in their respective countries.

Indeed, some of those that turned up were employed young people who took leave from their workstations to attend the event which they saw as an opportunity to earn a quick additional buck.


That however leads us to lessons of caution and responsibility. From the story of our country’s liberators, which we are celebrating this week, the youth should learn that there are no short-cuts to success and that they should treat with caution whoever shows up with such promises.

In consolidating the gains of their respective countries, African youths must not substitute reason with excitement especially in the face of dappled promises for quick success;such an attitude is not only a danger to national security but also jeopardizes personal destiny.


The story of the now rehabilitated Kizito Mihigo, the once young celebrated musical icon provides a classical example of what happens when young people swallow the bait of short-cuts to success.

Consolidating Rwanda’s liberation gain requires youth that are steadfast on reason and caution before engaging in actions that could end up jeopardizing their future.


“The liberation struggle that we participated in, has set the foundation for you to succeed and consolidate what we gained to take our country forward,” General James Kabarebe said in an address to the youth, during the Liberation week last year.

He added, “It’s the youth, in fact over 90 per cent, that were at the vanguard of our liberation struggle; for instance, His Excellency our leader Paul Kagame was only 32 years old; Fred Rwigyema was 33, and many others were in their 20s, youths, just like you.”


Here were men, whom at 30, had just helped liberate a country and almost immediately embarked on a new campaign to liberate their own to regain the dignity of having a nationality and a country to truly call home, to which they would dedicate their lifelong effort to developing.

As someone in my early 30s, Rwanda’s liberation story has always left me and colleagues in the same age-bracket, challenged and questioning our own contribution.


These are men and women who had proven their worth in battle and were assured of lucrative careers worth more than US$197, in a foreign country they had helped liberate; no wonder, many were already holding senior positions in different government departments.

It’s steadfast attitude and visionary wisdom even at their tender-age that informed the brave decision to embark on a military campaign whose victory was not assured; they overlooked ‘bonus values’ and short-cuts to success in a foreign country, to take the longer route to their vocation.


Today’s youth have an opportunity to not only learn but also continue the liberation struggle which is now in the reconstruction phase after attaining victory in the military phase. But it takes strong character and steadfast focus to stay the course.

The youth of Rwanda and Africa at large, should not be distracted by short-cuts to success because real success is toiled for but the joy from such victories is very much worth it. Stay focused; think and act as the liberated youth that you are! Accept a hand-up but shun handouts!



Rwanda: TVET: Empowering the youth with practical skills

By (Michel Nkurunziza)

In the aftermath of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, the country was devastated in many ways including a lack of skilled labour and trainers in different technical fields. Those in the workforce had either been killed during the Genocide, while others, who had participated in the massacre, were either in prison or had fled the country.

The Ministry of Education developed the first Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) policy, adopted in 2008, to address the serious deficiencies in trained human capital for technical professions and meet the major objective of Vision 2020, to create a knowledge-based and technology-led economy.

The new policy led to the creation of Rwanda Polytechnic, approved by Cabinet in December 2017, which took over the TVET implementation role previously conducted by the Workforce Development Agency (WDA).


In 1994, Rwanda had five technical schools and a small number of vocational schools. By 2010, there were 69 TVET schools which have since increased to more than 360 TVET Centers with approximately 103,000 students.The number of graduate students increased from a few hundred in 1995 to 97,000 in 2018 and over 400,000 to date.

Electrical wheel chair for the handicapped

Rwanda Polytechnic has eight colleges designated as ”Integrated Polytechnic Regional Colleges” (IPRCs) which are: IPRC Gishari, IPRC Huye, IPRC Karongi, IPRC Kigali, IPRC Kitabi, IPRC Musanze, IPRC Ngoma, and IPRC Tumba. They offer Advanced Diploma & Diploma courses in different fields namely Civil Engineering, Irrigation and Water Engineering, Agriculture Engineering, Hospitality Management, Electrical and Electronics Engineering, Wildlife Management, Wildlife Tourism, Forest Resources Management, Mechanical Engineering, Information and Communication Technology, and Mining Engineering.

Training Centers in coveted skills have also been established like the Africa Digital Multimedia Academy (ADMA) created to equip students with the skills necessary to work in all areas of the digital media industry with the same degree of talent and resources as anywhere else in the world.

Rwanda Coding Academy is a model school that aims to produce, in a more sustainable manner, a pool of top-end experts in the field of software engineering in order to address the current shortage of software developers in the Rwandan market and the region.

Impact on labour market

Dr Eugene Mutimura, Minister of Education, says that the future is tending towards Hi-Tech and that the Polytechnic colleges established all over the country are aimed at positioning TVET as a very attractive course option for young people. “The National Strategy for Transformation 1 (NST1) has a target of ensuring that 60% of our young people are enrolled in TVET schools by 2024.”

Besides TVET Schools, the Minister strongly encourages all schools mainly tertiary institutions to provide more practical industrial orientated trainings

According to National Tracer Survey and Employer Satisfaction Survey for TVET graduates of the 2015/2016 academic year, employers are satisfied with the graduates. The survey showed that the employment rate within 6 months after graduation was 64.9% among TVET graduates and 75.2% among Polytechnic graduates. Most graduates in TVET schools and Polytechnics were satisfied with the quality of education at 72.4% and 76.6% respectively while employers’ satisfaction with graduates was at 78.2%.

Milk selling machine

Eng. Pascal Gatabazi, Director General, Workforce Development Authority, said that the research raised awareness of where improvement is needed to ensure that students are empowered with employable skills and entrepreneurship capacity. “This type of research is necessary and will continue because it is feedback that informs us of what measures need to be taken to ensure that the knowledge and skills that students acquire in TVETs and Higher Education institutions meet labour market demand.

We are allocating more resources to increase the capacity of teachers and availability of equipment and training consumables. It is our responsibility to help students to develop their entrepreneurial and innovative capacity and thus be able to scale up their innovations and become proprietors of small and medium enterprises that create jobs.”

Innovative skills

The growth in the number of TVET students has increased innovation. Students at IPRC-Tumba designed a hybrid system that combines power from utility grid and off-grid (solar system). The hybrid system has a solar power part with the capacity to generate 800 Watts that can supply electricity to 2 families in rural Rwanda.

They also developed a Smart Egg Incubator to incubate and hatch poultry eggs. This machine increases the productivity of poultry farming by incubating and hatching a huge number of eggs in a short time. The farmer can save more than 80% of their expenses.

IPRC-Tumba students also fabricated a Solar Water Heater which, over the years, has been continuously improved to attain higher levels of thermal efficiency and cost effectiveness. “We have to put much effort on innovations that can lead to rapid development,” said IPRC-Tumba Principal, Eng. Rita Mutabazi.

A smart egg incubator.

IPRC-Ngoma students built an electric wheelchair for the disabled to enable them to move freely in all directions, without expending much mechanical energy and reducing the need of a helper. They also built strong pavers made from recycled plastic waste and sand, used to pave different places such as pathways and parking spaces.

Dr James Gashumba, Vice Chancellor, Rwanda Polytechnic, said that TVETs were instituted to ensure that students were equipped with academic and work skills and also initiate a change in the mindset of students and parents regarding their view of occupations that require working with their hands. “Rwanda Polytechnic plans to carry out a national awareness raising campaign that will last one year, with the assistance of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, conveyed by Rwanda Broadcasting Agency. The campaign will be characterized by interactions with people who have made their mark in TVET, involve young people and social media to ensure that there is a lot of conversation such that by the end of the campaign young people who are gifted and creative and want to earn a good income will choose TVET instead of choosing TVET because they feel they are not intelligent enough. We want to change that mindset and are hopeful that we will.”

Rwanda: Burera youths warned against drug abuse

By (James Peter Nkurunziza)

The state minister expressed concern over the growing number of mental health cases

Youths from Burera District were on Wednesday warned against the abuse of drugs, reminding them of the repercussions that include loss of life, destroying life goals and lengthy prison sentences, among others.

This call was made by Agnes Mukagashugi, the Deputy Prosecutor General during an anti-drug abuse campaign held at Burera playground in an event that was organised by Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC) in partnership with the Ministry of Health.

“Drugs are responsible for the big number of cases of mental health patients in the country,” she said to a large audience that consisted students from secondary schools from across the district and area residents.

The meeting was also attended by the State Minister Dr Patrick Ndimubanzi, local government officials including the Governor of Northern Province, and security officials among others.

Mukagashugi reminded the youths – whom he said are the main consumers of drugs – that drugs do not only affect the individual consuming them but also the community they live in and also the country as a whole.

She noted that in 2015-2016, over 4700 cases were recorded and in 2016-2017, the numbers significantly increased to over 5,600 cases but due to the anti-drug abuse campaigns that started soon after these findings, the numbers reduced from to slightly over 4,000 last year.

Ndimubanzi also expressed his concern over the growing number of mental health cases resulting from drug abuse that the country is facing at the moment.

“As a ministry, we shall not tire from fighting drug abuse through such types of campaigns throughout the country,” he said.

The Minister also cautioned residents to always be on the lookout against individuals that are involved in the abuse of drugs or selling them, saying that communities are destroyed where drugs are allowed to thrive.

Meanwhile, Ndimubanzi cautioned everyone present to be cautious of the Ebola scourge that had as of Wednesday reached neighbouring Uganda where three cases had been confirmed.

He argued residents to maintain proper sanitation at all times and also report individuals with symptoms such as diarrhea, bleeding from different body parts such as ears, eyes and nose among others.

During the event, assorted drugs were destroyed in the presence of the residents.

Rwanda: Youth ministry targets 100,000 jobs in one year

By (Michel Nkurunziza)

The Ministry of Youth will help create 100,000 jobs for the youth in the next financial year, that starts August 2019 through July 2020, a cabinet minister has said.

Rosemary Mbabazi, the Youth minister, was on Friday speaking to Saturday Times in Kigali after emerging from a meeting with members of the Chamber of Deputies’ standing committee on national budget and patrimony that focused on the ministry’s budgetary allocation for the next fiscal year.

The Youth ministry was allocated Rwf1.9 billion for the next fiscal year, up from Rwf1.7 billion it received for the current fiscal year.

Considering that the budget is not sufficient, Mbabazi said, the ministry was looking into ways to mobilise more funding from other sources, including through projects running under the National Employment Programme.

NEP is backed by development partners.

“Our focus is on developing projects for the youth,” she said. “The top priority is to avail the youth opportunities to create jobs in agri-business, environmental protection, ICT, tourism and arts.”

She said her ministry will continue to support the youth with different talents to turn them into viable projects.

This, she said, will be done in partnership with the Ministry of Sports and Culture and Imbuto Foundation.

“Last year we conducted talent auditions across the country, attracting about 2,400 youths with different talents part,” she said, in reference to the inaugural Art Ubuhanzi competition.

The talent search lasted for two months, ending in December 2018.

We identified about 600 youths that stood out, she said. “From these we selected 70 who went to the boot camp for specific trainings and we gave them about Rwf33 million in start-up capital to develop their talent,” she said, adding that this project shored up job-creation efforts.

Minister Mbabazi said that some of the talented youths were now working in cooperatives to promote Made-in-Rwanda products in fashion, film, cinematography and writing, among other areas.

“We will also incubate the others for six months after which we will link them to the industry,” he said.

She said the annual YouthConnekt contest was another avenue forjob opportunities for young people.

“We select three projects from each district and come up with 90 projects at the national level. So far, we have established a network of 626 youths who have all received awards,” she said. “They managed to create companies and have hitherto created 8,309 jobs for other youths,” she said.

And, next year, Mbabazi said, the ministry will roll out a new competition for TVET students, dubbed ‘TVET Challenge’. The idea is to help mobilise capital for TVET graduates so they can go on and create jobs, she said, adding they hoped the students will leverage their skills and innovations.

Environment is another area which the ministry intends to exploit to help create jobs for the youth, she said.

Over 2,500 jobs will be created under the Nyabarongo Rriver Catchment project and other green undertakings under the Youth Eco-Brigades initiative, the minister noted.

This is part of a broader strategy to encourage the youth to partake in efforts to protect the environment, she added.

“We have trained about 500 youths and 2,000 others will be prepared for this project as well,” she said. “We prepare them in a way that they embrace the saving culture and make use of financial institutions so that even after the project has folded they will be in position to continue running businesses and creating jobs,” she said.

Youth constitute about 70 per cent of Rwanda’s population, with 77 per cent of them living in rural areas.

Tackling unemployment, especially among the youth, is one of the top priorities of the Government, which has committed to creating at least 200,000 off-farm jobs annually.

Rwanda: The Youths Must be Taught to Preoccupy Themselves With Giving Back to the Community

By Christine Osae

With the ideology of ethnic hatred continually reinforced and disseminated to the general public through radio, television broadcasts, print media, and in public meetings, the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi became inevitable.

The seeds had long been planted in our schools, churches and in the confines of our houses, and the vicious call to “weed out the cockroaches” was just the last nail on the coffin. Had all educators stood their moral ground in fighting genocide ideology, perhaps we would be telling a different story today.

In order to fully grasp the gist of this article, two things must be made clear from the onset: one, an educator is not just a teacher but anybody whose conscious or unwitting actions influence behaviour. This loosely translates to all of us- teachers, religious leaders, parents…Second, educators, in whatever capacity, are opinion shapers, the sower.

In all honesty, the media’s role in amplifying the fear and genocidal ideology that had already been planted and silently circulating throughout the Hutu population is indubitable. This begs the question: who had planted the seeds of doom way before the media took its toll on the matter? Of course educators: parents, teachers, you… If we are to effectively eradicate the genocide ideology, we must leverage the role of educators.

World over, educators are intellectualised as agents of transformative change in nation building, identity construction and peace and reconciliation by imparting values that espouse peace- including tolerance, recognition and respect, as well as a range of skills such as critical thinking, negotiation, compromise, collaboration and interpersonal relationships among learners.

Whether you know it or not, young people listen to what you say and read even what you do not verbalize. If education wasn’t such a crucial part of the puzzle, Rwanda would not have been able to rebuild and become a modern hub of progress and development, putting in place social, political and economic systems that are grounded in national unity and reconciliation – with education reforms playing a central role. It naturally follows that educators are still our best shot at combatting genocide ideology.

From ashes- dismantled institutions with a profound lack of qualified teachers, a huge pool of orphaned children, insufficient funds and inaccurate textbooks- Rwanda has slowly but surely transformed its education system from one based on standard rote memorization where seeds of hatred are sown, to one that inspires discussion and a spirit of critical thinking and analysis- an approach that seeks to redress the biases taught by the genocidal regime, as well as prepare young people to thoughtfully and constructively enter the workforce.

Additionally, it has worked tenaciously in training the teachers to impart knowledge using the right methodology. Why not calibrate everyone to the same footing in this fight?

That being said, apart from adhering to the curriculum in teaching aspects of genocide that have already been incorporated in various subjects, educators must also find ways to incorporate critical thinking, emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills. We must repeatedly proclaim peace and insist on the value of life. There is need to teach the youths economic values and lifelong skills on coexistence and sustainability.

The youths must be taught to preoccupy themselves with giving back to the community and making Rwanda a better country. Educators can easily help the youth achieve this because they are voices of influence in the society. Believe me, the media would have had nothing to flaunt around had the youths been anchored on a well-grounded mainstay!

The scars from the past are indelible; educators should steadfastly steer learners toward tranquillity; toward a developed country where humanity is sacred. We must do everything within our capacity and strength as educators to counter genocide ideology.

Source The New Times

Rwanda: How best can the youth fight bad vices?

Children and Youth is a non-profit organisation 

By Lydia Atieno

Raising a child with proper manners takes effort. With today’s society dripping with temptation almost everywhere, establishing a morally upright background can be tough.

Going by this, ‘Children and Youth’ will launch Rwanda student’s lifestyle at Amahoro National Stadium this week with the aim of helping high school and university students fight bad vices such as drug abuse, transmission of HIV/AIDS and gender-based violence.

Children and Youth is a non-profit organisation with vocational programmes that help children between the age of five and 18 explore their talent in sports.

The youth should be encourged to stay away from vices such as drinking alcohol. Net photo.

Through sports, students are brought together to interact and discuss these issues.

Educators have a big role to play

Silvia Mahoro, a youth mentor and counsellor, says some vulnerable students may resort to risky behaviour to get necessities.

Mahoro says there is also lack of psychosocial guidance programmes in many schools and that although every educator is supposed to provide that support, not everyone is willing to provide it.

She believes the media also has a role to play in this.

“Sometimes what is exposed by the media makes young people curious to experience and indulge in,” she says.

Omer Mayobere, a psychologist at Caring for Impact Ministries (CIM), an NGO that promotes life in all its fullness among the youth, notes that most of the time, youth engage in dangerous activities due to factors such as family conflict, poverty, absence of parents to provide love, care and affection or a result of inter-generational issues from parents.

He is of the view that for this to be handled, educators should be trained first for them to understand why the youth get into such vices in the first place. He believes if they are equipped with enough knowledge, the youth will be given the right education on the effects of drug use not only as a disciplinary issue, but as a vice that has serious repercussions.

Educators on the other hand must have knowledge on human development, especially an understanding about teenage hood, Mayobere says. This, he says, will help them understand the world of the youth, change their attitude towards them, and provide approaches to use and deal with the issue of bad influence.

He advises educators to create weekly, monthly or quarterly dialogues, where different themes can be developed centred on the causes or effects of drug abuse. This will help students invent their own solutions, he says.

“This must be a participatory platform where educators create a conducive atmosphere to help students feel free to share their ideas. This will help them engage in fighting such vices,” Mayobere says.

According to Nelson Mukasa, Executive Director of Children and Youth, educators should encourage students to take vows or sign a social contract between themselves to fight against the issues affecting them. This can be done between schools and the Government, as it will help set a self-regulating mechanism on the prevention of such issues.

He says this must be a learning process to encourage ownership, adding that schools must have some campaigns using people who have overcome the vices to share their stories and learn from them.

When it comes to GBV, Mayobere says it’s ideal for teachers to be trained in gender sensitive approaches with emphasis on positive masculinity; this means that they (teachers) must have a structure on how to address these issues, and students on the other hand must have accountability.

Sylvester Twizerimana, a psychologist, says schools must schedule GBV dialogues in class in order to empower each and every student, in a way that students own the issue and implement creative resolutions.

He says many educators have little knowledge on these topics yet in some cases they are the ones suspected to misbehave, especially with GBV and risks related to HIV transmission.

“There is a gap in communication between parents and students, it is hard for young people to get into deep conversations on these issues with their parents because parents may not be knowledgeable, or their attitude is always tough disciplinary measures,” he says.

This makes children distant from their parents, yet they are supposed to get advice and help from schools as well as home, he adds.

Call for awareness

Aflodis Kagaba, the executive director of Health Development Initiative (HDI), says one of the main challenges when it comes to fighting such issues is that many youngsters are not aware of them or even the dangers associated with them.

He says there is an increase in drug use in the country with the youth ranking at the top.

According to statistics from Kigali Health Institute, more than half the youth in the country (14 to 35) have consumed one or more kinds of drugs.

Research shows that overall lifetime prevalence rate for substance use among the Rwandan youth is 52.5 per cent.

Kagaba, therefore, says if the youth are not educated on the dangers of drugs, the number will likely increase because a big number of them are idle and unemployed; thus resorting to abusing drugs, leading to other vices.

He says because the youth are at times lured to these vices as a result of stress or peer influence, there is need to come up with mechanisms at the community level to help address the issue.

He also points out that educators should provide right and accurate information on the dangers.

“The main aim of creating this awareness is to prevent them from abusing, but at the same time, those who are addicted need to be supported mentally and psychologically and helped to quit the vice.”

Kagaba believes that sporting is important because it attracts many, making it easy to pass information.

He says through sports, the youth are able to understand such issues. It also helps them reach out to their peers.

“When they are aware, they will most likely abstain from these vices, including drugs and sexual activity, thus avoiding unwanted pregnancies, HIV and other infections,” he says.

Kagaba adds that the most important aspect is that awareness through sports can encourage the youth to share and talk about the dangers of these vices, which is helpful as far as abstinence is concerned.

Kagaba also says that young people should be encouraged to take part in prevention measures, especially boys who are more likely to be the perpetrators of GBV.

Source The New Times

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