On July 17, 2018, Rwanda Education Assistance Practice (REAP), a local educational NGO in Rwanda, inaugurated the Community Learning Centre (CLC), an educational resource centre in Rwamagana. The main objective of the centre is to make available relevant educational resources to the community and neighbouring schools by which these beneficiaries will learn the English language, ICT, extensive reading using the Library Box and, have open spaces for children who want to revise school work, sciences, humanities, and offer skills related to human security issues like nutrition and family conflict resolution. The establishment cost roughly Rwf 70m.
Over 500 people attended the event. To laud the occasion in the presence of the community members and the officials of REAP were: Rwamagana District officials; Ms Christine Niyizamwiyitira (the in-charge ICT in education at Rwanda Education Board); Hon. Mukayuhi Constance Rwaka, a Member of Parliament; as well as the Founder of REAP, Mr Edward Ballen.
Residents were excited particularly that the centre will facilitate their children’s learning. One elderly gentleman, named Jean Claude Kayonga, expressed his sentiments, saying: “Even though I am not personally able to learn those skills the centre will offer, I am particularly glad that my children will have access to this set of knowledge. I have some children who have some education and they are learning computer skills. Then, there are older siblings who will go there to learn how to prepare a good diet for their children”.
Hon. Mukayuhi Rwaka Constance, for her part, asserting the importance of the centre, said the learning centre will play a big role to the community and to schools in general. “It will prevent young generations from drug abuse and alcohol use. Students from around the centre will now easily access the skills of technology as it is significant in this country’s vision”, she said.
In explaining the expected effects of the centre, Mr Mutatsineza Jean Paulin, the Country Director, Rwanda Education Assistance Practice in Rwanda, said: “The first thing we encourage the community to do, is to actively participate in the projects of the centre. We have formed the community board for the centre composed of 12 community members to encourage ownership and sustainability. The board is responsible for utilisation of resources to benefit the community and ensure maintenance and security of the centre.”
Edward Ballen, the founder of REAP, on the genesis of the initiative, said: “I came here in 2006 and we saw children at Duha Complex School who wanted to study. So we became cumulatively very happy in education. It is how I started this project. Most importantly, we want the community to own the centre and to send children to school. We advise parents to be involved in children’s education”.
Ms Umutoni Jeanne, Rwamagana District vice Mayor in charge of Social Affairs, thanked the sponsors of the initiative and expressed commendation and assurance and the need to maintain the facility. She said: “Today we are very excited about this project which is facilitating our community towards acquisition of skills like: technology, health and sanitation as well as improving our Village Kitchen known as “Igikoni cy’Umudugudu” and it is important to the district because it is one way to accomplish the district’s targets (Imihigo)“.
She went on to say that they want the community board to maintain the centre’s activities and serve the community; and if they face challenges due to lack of capacity in solving, they should inform district leaders for help.