Rwanda Focus (Kigali)

Rwanda: Youth Centers to Help in Encouraging Entrepreneurial Spirit

"Latest experiences indicate that young people who belong to youth centers are more advanced than those who don't," said Philibert Uwiringiyimana, the coordinator of the National Youth Council (NYC).

He made the remarks yesterday when youth representatives from districts, for the first time, presented their performance contracts and committed to new ones. Youth centers are also among latest mechanisms to tackle unemployment issues.

So far, there are 12 of them countrywide, but the NYC targets at least one center in every district for 3 years.

They are mandated to help the youth to form their cooperatives, plan generating income projects as well as to support them in obtaining easy financial means to run their businesses.

The centers also provide them with professional skills such as dressmaking and computer skills, while also providing social services such as HIV/AIDS testing, sports and other health-related issues.

However, the mindset of some, who still rely on grants, has been mentioned as another challenge that hampers eradication of unemployment among youth. Reacting on this, Uwiringiyimana said that the country is planning voluntarism program among the youth, to plant in them the spirit of delivering first rather than aid first.

"Study of the program is still under progress and we hope to achieve more through all these programs," he said. "Potentials are within us. We have now to exploit them."

He said that the first sessions of the program would be held in the next holidays starting in November.

The district-based youth coordinators also presented their performance contracts. Bugesera district emerged the first while Nyagatare was the last one.

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