19 December 2012

Rwanda: Youth Commit to Take Part in Volunteer Work

Huye — Secondary school leavers who attended the just concluded two-week civic training programme, commonly known as itorero, will soon start national volunteerism services, the national chairman of Itorero taskforce, Boniface Rucagu, said.

He was speaking on Tuesday after officiating at the closing ceremony of the training programme in Huye district.

Over 40,000 students, who sat for their A' Level national exams this year, attended the training nationwide.

In Huye district alone, over 1,700 young men and women benefited from the programme.

In an interview, Rucagu explained that the aim of community service is to train the youth and transform them into active players in the national development process.

He noted that the programme will encourage volunteerism and national service among the youth while positioning them as active contributors in the socio-economic transformation of the country.

"We are yet to determine when the activities will start exactly, but they are starting as soon as possible", Rucagu said.

"In a few days to come, we will sit and decide when they (the young trainees) will start the services".

According to the official, the youth will be working within their communities.

They will intervene in various areas, including the sensitisation of residents on various key campaigns like family planning, development policies, HIV prevention, gender equity, among others.

They will also be participating in Umuganda, the monthly community service, and will support in the area of infrastructure development.

For the time being, the volunteerism works will last for three months, instead of six as earlier planned, with the young people working only in the morning hours.

"Local leaders will decide where they will be intervening according to specific needs in their respective areas," Rucagu said.

He expressed optimism that the works will attract high turnout among the target group.

"Their actions and efforts will be recognised by the general public, thus making them key actors in the community," Rucagu explained.

"In that position, there is hope that many will turn up for the works".

Jean Paul Bugingo, one of the trainees, told this newspaper he is ready to participate in the community service.

"This is a good initiative," he said.

"I don't think they will affect my other activities, because I will have certain time dedicated to them and another time to my personal business".

"The works will help me remain updated on various developmental programmes, it is an opportunity for me to develop and contribute to the development of others," he said.

Meanwhile, closing the training for over 7,000 students from districts of Eastern province, on Monday, Madeline Byukusenge, the Director of Good Governance in the Province, who is responsible for the activities of Itorero, noted that the youth were promising future managers of Rwanda.

She told the thousands of enthusiastic youth that such initiatives as Itorero were a good foundation for their future role in the country's development.

"Cultural values such as integrity, patriotism and a sense of humanity is what the youth like you needed...I am happy that these past days were fruitful to you and the nation.

"Aim at being people of integrity and be visionary," she told the youth.

Additional reporting by Stephen Rwembeho.

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