East Africa: Scouts From East Africa in Ruhango for Peace Training

19 December 2019

Hundreds of scouts from seven East African nations have started training on peace and unity in Ruhango District.

The training has attracted more than 600 scouts, aged between 13 and 26 years.

"We want you to be the engine for change and take part in intercultural dialogues for youth. You should also take part in all activities that aim at bringing unity and cohesion," Emmanuel Gasana, the Governor of Southern Province, said Wednesday at the opening of the four-day training in Ruhango.

He added that the youth are the generation of problem solvers, irrespective of where they come from.

This year's training is being run under the theme: "Scouts Promoting Unity and Cohesion in Africa".

The theme was informed by the current state of peace and cohesion in Africa, said Virgil Uzabumugabo, Chief Commissioner for Rwanda Scouts Association.

"We see what happens in one country when two sides are in conflict, or in another, people are chasing foreigners, and we hear about countries that are in disputes. As scout associations, we ask ourselves what role we can play in promoting peace and unity," he said.

The educational camp attracted scouts, boys and girls, from Burundi, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan, Ethiopia and the host Rwanda.

Francine Zimurinda Umuhoza, a scout youth leader, said that the experience gained during the camp is valuable.

"This cultural diversity is really important for us to understand and learn from scouts from other countries," she said.

Anthony Gitonga, International Commissioner for Kenya Scouts Association, said they will also discuss the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

"We will discuss contemporary issues that are affecting the youth, from drug abuse to unemployment, to discipline and environmental conservation. We want to see how the SDGs marry with the scouting objectives," he said.

He added that choosing Rwanda as a host resonates with the theme.

"We admire Rwanda in terms of peacebuilding activities, environmental aspects, and cohesion and the government is very supportive."

Rwanda scouts association has between 38,000 and 40,000 members. The scout movement was created in 1922, by the British Robert Baden-Powell.

Scouts from seven East African countries have started the four-day camp training in Ruhango District.

Emmanuel Gasana, Governor of the Southern Province, said the youth should take part in activities the promote unity and cohesion.

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