Accelerating transformation of Rwanda: Why Youth should be involved

Members of JCI Rwanda after providing hygenic materials to the patients at CHUK

Last week, youngsters from JCI Kigali Youth, a local chapter of JCI Rwanda, carried out a charity oriented project to support the vulnerable community at University Teaching Hospital of Kigali (CHUK) where they distributed sanitary materials to patients.

Patients were also given medication and underwent lab examination requested by their doctors. This was done for patients who couldn’t afford medical treatment because of financial constraints.

These are just some of the activities carried out annually by JCI Kigali Youth members, as a way of giving back to the community and helping the less fortunate.

About the organization

JCI Rwanda is a non-profit organization composed of active young people from all sectors, public and private sectors, university and other higher learning institutions who make a difference in their community by taking action and providing sustainable solutions. It is a branch of a JCI (Junior Chamber International), a global movement based on St. Louis, USA, created in 1915 by Henry Giessenbier Jr.

JCI Rwanda was created by and for young people in 2005. For more than fourteen years, the organization has focused on getting development opportunities to young people aged between 18 to 40 years from different sectors, to be the leading minds to create positive change in society.

According to Luce Gloria Nishimwe, the 2019 national president of JCI Rwanda, the idea came after realizing that enterprising Rwandan youth at university level, graduates, young entrepreneurs and other interested youth in our country, needed a platform to enable them to learn and network by sharing experiences and being proactive in their respective communities.

Nishimwe says centred on pillars which govern all members— social responsibility, leadership, fellowship, entrepreneurship and networking— they aim at creating lasting positive change to improve themselves and accelerate the transformation of the world around them.

“As global citizens, we all have rights and responsibilities, as well as shared goals. Hence, through active citizenship, we embrace social responsibility and work towards goals that benefit our country and our members,” she says.

Nishimwe says in doing this, they embrace collaboration, diversity, and new ideas through different activities like workshops, training, volunteering, fellowships and networking. This year we expect to inspire more youth, leader and change.

Nishimwe says centred on pillars which govern all members— social responsibility, leadership, fellowship, entrepreneurship and networking— they aim at creating lasting positive change to improve themselves and the world around them.

“As global citizens, we all have rights and responsibilities, as well as shared goals. Hence, through active citizenship, we embrace social responsibility and work towards goals that benefit our country and our members,” she says.

Nishimwe says in doing this, they embrace collaboration, diversity, and new ideas through different activities like workshops, training, volunteering, fellowships and networking. This year,they expect to inspire more youth, leader and change.

Why young people should be involved in community work

Aminadhad Niyoshunti, an English teacher at Apaper Complex School in Kicukiro, says it’s important for young people, especially students, to work towards building society.

However, this doesn’t just happen on its own; it’s the role of parents and teachers to encourage learners to engage in such activities.

“Find ways for the youth to make use of outdoor activities. Also, help learners identify what they are good at and support them,” Niyoshunti says.

He adds that parents need to impart learners with decent morals so that they grow up knowing what is right for them. They should also learn how to treat people around them with courtesy, humility and respect.

Yvan Gatoto, the 2019 director of partnership and trainings at JCI Rwanda  says that the essence of organisations that involve the youth is to bring together young people who are committed to building their communities.

He says the youth should be able to collectively develop the skills, knowledge and understanding to make informed decisions and take actions in all sectors of society.

“We do this through different pillars, such as leadership, entrepreneurship and networking,” he says.

Gatoto believes that empowering young people, especially learners, to create positive change is important because if you want to create sustainable change that will impact generations, you need to empower young people to be the driving force of that change.

“As we all know, education plays a major role in the personal and professional growth of an individual. Teachers should, therefore, aim at shifting conceptual activities in different institutions for young people to be ready to explore the real world,” he says.

Developing skills

Stanley Mukasa, the programme manager of Business Management and Entrepreneurship at Akilah Institute of Women in Kibagabaga, says educators can empower learners to create positive change in their lives by putting emphasis on 21st Century skills.

For instance, he notes that they should create an environment that not only emphasises academic skills, but one that also creates opportunities for students to think critically, be creative and analyse data, and, solve problems.

“It’s also important to provide opportunities for students to learn collaboration across networks and lead by influence; these attitudes are required for successful participation in the generally connected world,” he says.

He points out that class projects done in groups, or team activities, can encourage students to do more. However, teachers should set a good example.

Mukasa says instructors should encourage entrepreneurial thinking and initiatives by inspiring students to come up with ideas that can make their communities better.

This, he says, helps prepare learners for achievement in the fast changing world; employers are looking for quick thinkers, people who can come up with ideas and solutions in the shortest time.

Also, he says, opportunities for students to practice flawless oral and written communication should be provided.

He says this is because society needs individuals who can effectively express themselves and influence change.

Benefits

Gatoto says that previous members of JCI –Kigali Youth have been able to do well in society, and most importantly, they know how to handle the challenges they encounter in their daily lives.

He says such organisations do not only impart a great deal of knowledge to the members, they also provide access to a network of leaders and motivators across the country and beyond.

“Members strive to grow personally and professionally,” he says.

He says that learners should be encouraged to join such organisations, and that community work is a concept that should always be echoed by teachers.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

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