Rwanda’s Youth Minister, Abdallah Utumatwishima, told an enthusiastic group of CorpsAfrica volunteers, youth volunteers, and change-makers, all driven by the common purpose to steer Africa towards a prosperous change, to “never graduate from volunteering.” Utumatwishima made the remark on June 16 during the CorpsAfrica event held at Kigali Conference and Exhibition Center (KCEV), intended to empower young Africans and foster the continent’s future leaders. “Volunteerism shapes direction, brings motivation, personal growth as well as community and country development,” he said. “As you bring solutions to the community, you curb health risks, diseases, and presentation—which, in turn, saves a lot of money that would be spent—hence, volunteerism is an income-generated activity to the government,” he added. ALSO READ: Create innovations responding to community problems-Minister Mbabazi challenges youth During the roundtable discussion that showcased inspiring initiatives and perspectives of Pan-Africanism were; Hon. Protais Musoni, Chair of Pan Africanism in Rwanda, Hon. Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, Minister of Information (Ghana), Caren Wakoli, Founder and Executive Director of Emerging Public Leaders Foundation and, Dr Bouchra Rahmouni, Director of the Social Innovation Lab, UM6P (Morocco). The forum addressed the importance of youth participation in governance, decision-making processes, driving positive change in various sectors, from technology and entrepreneurship to politics and social activism--from which young people in the house were reminded to be frontrunners, and be the change the African continent wants to be. ALSO READ: How high school students are creating projects that solve community problems Founded in 2011 by Liz Fanning, CorpsAfrica is a non-profit organisation which provides young Africans with the opportunity to become part of the solution for their own countries. It operates in countries namely; Rwanda, Morocco, Senegal, Malawi, Ghana, Kenya, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Uganda. The programme recruits university graduates and trains them before deploying them to rural areas to work with residents on different development projects, such as building kitchen gardens and fertilising fields, and after a couple of days, they team up with local residents to identify projects that can solve society’s problems. Among them is Flora Gihozo Kwizera, a passionate and driven CorpsAfrica volunteer in Bushoki sector, Rulindo District where she has been able to set off a transformative journey in Rugote village among people with limited resources and health education. Gihozo, a recent graduate in Business Management and Entrepreneurship, had always felt a sense of purpose and desire to give back to the community through volunteering. In line with that, she has been able to train 180 families in making environmentally friendly stoves, kitchen gardens to curb malnutrition and stunting, nursery beds for reforestation including vegetables, piggery farming and many more. “We have been able to grow avocados, grapevine seeds, bell peppers, and they all generate a cooperative income from which we share the profits and meet demand.” “My desire was a mission to change minds and attitudes so they could be their own problem solvers and bring to an end the mindset of dependence,” she said. CorpsAfrica, now in its fifth year in Rwanda, held a one-week conference in Kigali from June 12, dubbed “All-Country Conference: Youth Shaping the Future of Africa”. The conference aimed to gain a deeper understanding of its model for locally-led development and build a powerful pan-Africanism network.