Imbuto Foundation, in partnership with Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Ministry of Youth, yesterday, launched phase two of the Innovation Accelerator, known as iAccelerator.
The initiative is a mentorship programme focused on supporting young entrepreneurs with seed funding, training and entrepreneurship skills.
It seeks to help young people come up with innovative solutions to challenges related to sexual and reproductive health and rights, family planning, maternal health and other population related issues.
It comes at a time statistics show a worrying trend of teen pregnancies. Teen pregnancy rates increased from 6.1 per cent in 2010 to 7.3 per cent in 2015, according to the Rwanda Demographic and Health Survey 2014-2015.
One out of 5 girls becomes first time young mothers, at the aged of 19.
According to statistics, 49.6 per cent of teen mothers have had their first pregnancies between the ages of 12 and 17.
The training is thus seen as a timely intervention to help reverse the trend.
This year’s iAccelerator challenge will focus on tackling teenage pregnancy, by encouraging young people to think critically and creatively about issues related to their sexual and reproductive health and rights.
Geraldine Umutesi, the Deputy Director-General of Imbuto Foundation, noted that: “I want to advise you young people to be very mindful of the decisions you make because something (what) you do today may affect you for the rest of your life. So if you get pregnant today, your future becomes blurry and that is not something anyone of you should go through.’’
Umutesi also noted that care and support will be extended to expecting teenage girls in order to help them pursue their dreams.