Last year, Justin Ngoga launched his Rwandan social enterprise, Impact Route, to provide cultural awareness and cultural intelligence training in a bid to bridge cultural gaps and facilitate cross cultural interaction.
Ngoga is a certified cultural intelligence trainer and the first Rwandan to be certified in the field.
This soon produced the Rwanda Cultural awareness guidebook which had a handful of tips that could help interact with Rwandans, mostly for foreigners visiting Rwanda.
With the lockdown early this year that caused a stall on tourism however, Ngoga says he had to be innovative and “prepare his nets.”
“Covid-19 happened and soon we were all required to stay at home. The idea to write a relocation guide book was at the back of my mind but I didn’t have time. I used the lockdown to compile information to write the book and the book was completed in early June,” he says.
The ‘Moving to Rwanda Guide Book’ provides day-to-day information about life in Rwanda such as how to pay trash picking fees, buying groceries, finding a house helper, among others.
“As a cultural awareness trainer who has also been running an Airbnb for a couple years, the book came as a response to hundreds of questions that people ask me. I realised that there is a need for a relocation guide book.
Most of the information is available on the internet but scattered and some are not updated.
You find some of the articles on the website talking about Jumia, Nakumatt or other businesses that have already closed shop. The book, however, comes with a solution in providing updated information and will be updated in six months so as to add new services.
“The most important thing is that you have all the information in one place,” he says of the book.
With a couple of references to guide him, Ngoga adds that he took enough time to detail important information such as emergency phone numbers and Visa on arrival to aid all kinds of visitors in the country.
“I did consultancy for a couple of organisations for their international staff, and my previous Rwanda cultural awareness book, information as well as information available on the internet were all sources that I drew reference from.
“I’m now left with opening my eyes for any changes so I can update the book,” he says.
The book he adds, is provided as a free resource to people coming to Rwanda, mostly expatriates relocating to Rwanda.
The soft copies can be found on Impact Route’s website but, “in the long run, I would want to see these books in hotel rooms. Even though the guests will stay for a short time, it would tell them about Rwanda and maybe motivate them to relocate Rwanda.”
The relocation guide book is part of the relocation buddy programme. The programme has three components, the relocation buddy, Rwanda cultural awareness tips, which includes sessions like how Rwandans communicate, and activities to do in Kigali and the Moving to Rwanda Guide book.
“After work their managers forget that they need to figure out the new life in the new country and culture. With our programme we give the new person a new buddy, a person who will guide them in their early days as they transition in Rwanda such as opening bank accounts, buying sim cards, buying groceries in the market, exploring schools for their kids, translation, and negotiating contracts with landlords,” he says.
Bigger visions for the guidebook
“It’s a good thing that when mobility picks up again we will have this guidebook ready.
“Another long term goal is work with service providers to support the book and give the book visibility,” Ngoga adds.
He also believes that there is an opportunity to extend this programme and book to other countries.
“I would love to see it grow in East Africa after I have fully established here in Rwanda.”Follow https://twitter.com/SharonKMugabo