The holistic development ideology promoted by Itorero, which involves the empowerment of members through instilling them with entrepreneurial skills, targets to boost the country’s ambitions of attaining a middle income status by 2020.
The “Itorero” is a Rwandan civic education instrument that promotes unity, hard work, self reliance and integrity based on cultural values and employs ancient learning methods.
“Colonialism disregarded and replaced our learning methods; we are modifying and exploiting them to restore what we lost as a result. We teach people from all walks of life,” explained Thacienne Bampire, the mobilising and mentoring officer at Itorero.
“Besides promoting our values, we pass on skills depending on identified need of a particular group. We have trained over 240,000 people since our inception in 2007.”
Bampire added that all local leaders and different cooperative groups have been trained and continue to be trained in business skills.
Under the programme, the youth are the primary target since they are available, teachable and have a longer life span in service than aging adults.
A beneficiary, Silas Kamanzi, 36, who is a Rwamagana resident, was benefited from the training and started a firewood business.
Thereafter, he joined a savings and cooperative organisation, and as his business blossomed, he was able to cater for his family of eight.
“Using the skills from Itorero, I joined a cooperative and got a loan of Rwf50,000. I have a cow and my small piece of land that was previously redundant is now productive. We learnt to share fairly what we have,” Kamanzi testified.
The national chairman of the Itorero, Boniface Rucagu, said the ideology has restored the country to her original values.
“We have a new language that implies oneness and identity of self-worth. We have trained multitudes and continue to do so. Right now, Kigali women are travelling to Nkumba in shifts. We train all categories of people in life skills and cultural values;” Rucagu stated.
Itorero is a medium/ institution of learning which existed before formal education was introduced by colonialists.
It was revived in 2007 to re institute lost values and inculcates a business orientation in the day-to-day life of Rwandans.
It works through existing frameworks of government which follows up trainees on training outcomes.