Rwanda: Thousands of Youths Turn Up for Mass NID Photography as Covid-19 Restrictions Are Eased

28 September 2021

Tens of thousands of youths on Monday turned up in different designated areas to have their photos taken so that their national identification cards can be processed early two years after the exercise was suspended due to Covid-19.

The targeted youths are those who clocked 16 years since early last year before restrictions were imposed after the outbreak of the pandemic.

The dedicated sites in Kigali include the stadiums of IPRC Kigali, Kigali Independent University (ULK), Kigali Stadium in Nyamirambo and Amahoro National Stadium.

The three-day activity started from Monday on September 27 and will run until 29th.

In an interview with The New Times, the Director General of NIDA, Josephine Mukeshimana, said that the exercise is being carried out in line with Covid-19 measures.

"In partnership with local authorities and the City of Kigali, we have introduced this to help the youth get their IDs easily while coping with Covid-19," she said, adding that this is the first exercise since the outbreak of the pandemic in the country in March last year.

According to Mukeshimana, before Covid, these services were available at sector offices in the country on a daily basis, which explains the massive number that is anticipated in the latest exercise.

She added that the exercise will also help students aged 16 and above to get the IDs before going back to school.

Mukeshimana, who said she did not know the number they will get at the end of the exercise, said that after Kigali, they will extend similar services in upcountry districts.

According to officials, before Covid-19 between 250,000 and 300,000 youths clocked 16, which means that the anticipated number could easily be close to 500,000.

Several youths who were interviewed welcomed the exercise, with some saying they were worried about missing out on some of the opportunities that come with the national ID.

Divine Neza Kamanzi, a 17 years old from Gasabo district, commended NIDA for this opportunity she got before returning back to school.

"I missed getting my ID last year due to Covid-19 but now I am happy that I will now get it before I return to school."

Kamanzi said that she is set to do national exams next year and one of the requirements for one to sit is to present a national ID in case you are 16 and above.

Another beneficiary is 21 years old Jean Baptiste Kagame, who said that he had over the years missed out on the ID, which, besides Covid-19, he attributed to "family issues".

"I lost both my parents when I was 13 and since then I dropped out of school; I have been doing odd jobs and I wasn't registered anywhere and that is why I never got an ID," he said, expressing happiness that he will finally not only get the ID, but also be registered in the civil registry.

The people registering for IDs have to present a Rwf500 receipt paid through Irembo and other identification documents like student ID or community health insurance (Mutuelle de Santé etc) among others.

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