FEATURED: Hope as 200 youth graduate in vocational skills under KCB Bank’s IGIRE Initiative

Two hundred youth who were equipped in various technical skills graduated on Thursday 21, through a six-month training scholarship programme dubbed “IGIRE” which is an initiative of KCB Bank.

The programme’s name is coined in Kinyarwanda to mean “self-reliance”.

This programme was initiated in 2018 by KCB bank in partnership with the government through the National Youth Council, to support vulnerable youth get a chance at better life through equipping them with vocational skills.

The graduation ceremony that took place at the Youth Employment and Production Centre Kimisagara in Nyarugenge district, left the youth graduates excited, motivated and eager to start their own businesses.

Speaking at the event, George Odhiambo, the Managing Director KCB Bank, urged graduates that the end of their courses is the beginning of a new chapter of life.

He urged them to make the right decisions, take time to think through any decision they will make and challenged them to all embrace the culture of self-employment saying that this where enormous opportunities lie.

Odhiambo said that there is a lot of potential in Made in Rwanda products, saying that the country still imports a lot of products that can be locally made, which he said was an opportunity for the youth.

“We shall continue mentoring you and create a platform where you will share your success stories. We chose to be part of your empowerment and help you realise your potential to shine not only in the country, but also globally and create jobs for other Rwandans,” he stated.

The Guest of Honor at the graduation, Rosemary Mbabazi, the Minister of Youth and Culture, commended the youth upon the new step achieved, and KCB Bank for trusting and supporting them.

She cautioned the graduates to work harder, and put everything they learned into practice and use all the platforms available to showcase and practice their skills.

Mbabazi emboldened the youth that learning is a continuous process that not only happens in school as everything in life teaches lessons, for instance; clients, the environment and challenges.

To get the best out of it, Mbabazi urged them to remain disciplined, and always be pragmatic but careful the way they react to challenges that come their way, saying that some of these challenges could actually be opportunities.

According to John Waimiri, the KCB Foundation, Senior Manager in charge of Partnerships, all the technical skills acquired by the youth are relevant on the Rwandan market.

He added that KCB Bank will be looking forward to offer coaching, networking, ensuring business growth, marketing and engaging professionals like lawyers, with the graduates to uplift their businesses.

Waimiri told graduates that lack of capital shouldn’t stop them from having business plans and growing their skills but most importantly to keep moral ethics, be persuasive, eager, work smart and always be proactive in their communities.  

Graduates who excelled were given prizes.

Marie-Gisele Byukusenge was the only girl in the welding cohort, a course that is mostly done by male students, walked away with a brand new techno smartphone.

In an interview, she couldn’t hide her excitement as her dream has come true as she has always wanted to do this course but lacked the opportunity and financial support.

She appreciated KCB Bank and the government for she vows not to let them down. She is willing to change the way people look at welding, saying that there was nothing about it that women cannot do.

The students were trained from the Integrated Polytechnic Regional College (IPRC Huye) and the skills acquired were in tiling, ICT, welding, culinary art and motor vehicle engineering.

On top of getting certificate, the best 10 successful businesses developed by the graduates in their respective trades were awarded Rwf3m, each.