Rwandan tech-innovators set for space and telecoms fellowship

Leapr Labs conducts fellowship programmes where candidates go through the practical experience of building flying robots. Courtesy.

Young innovators should not just sit with their brilliant ideas because Rwanda envisions her young generation as problem solvers, and they will be supported in this endeavour.

Patrick Nyirishema, the Director General of Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authorities (RURA), said this while addressing a group of 50 young tech-oriented Rwandan nationals who will benefit from the Space and Telecoms fellowship.

The six-month fellowship, that started at the weekend, is underway in Kigali at Leapr Labs, a community of scientists and technologists seeking to create impact by translating scientific research into societal solutions.

“Rwanda looks forward to support all young innovators with worth-while projects, to be able to implement, commercialise and later expand their projects. Therefore, through this fellowship, we expect to be proud and celebrate some of your achievements in the next Transform Africa Summit.”

According to Serge Tuyihimbaze, the founder and managing director of Leapr Labs, the essence of the fellowship is to foster the passion of STEM education amongst young learners, thus contributing to country programmes such as Smart Cities.

“We hope to instill the love of technology in the young generations and, as a group, be able to learn, build and then deploy our projects in the associated sectors which I believe can be an ingredient in achieving Smart Cities for our nation,” Tuyihimbaze added.

Serge Tuyihimbaze, Managing Director of Leapr Labs. / Edwin Ashimwe

The fellowship, which will benefit over 50 young Rwandans from different universities in Rwanda, will last six months, whereby the first three months will be dedicated towards conceptualisation and implementation of their innovation.

After this stage, they will be distributed in different partner institutions for internships basing on their area of interest.

Alex Ntare, the CEO Rwanda ICT Chamber, reminded the team of the fact that Rwanda has made a significant step towards tech-driven innovation; however their portion will be of great importance.

“Rwanda is on the move to achieve her ambition of becoming the innovation hub of the continent and there are various talents in this sector; therefore, you are all expected to join the eco-system and play your role,” he said.

Tech innovators to benefit from the fellowship. / Edwin Ashimwe

Beneficiaries speak out

Deborah Grace Gasiza, a Telecommunications and Electronics student at University of Rwanda’s College of Science and Technology, said it has always been her passion to explore Telecoms and Space.

“This is why I opted for Electronics and Telecommunications. Secondly, this fellowship brings together different brilliant minds and I am looking forward to learning more from my colleagues,” she said.

Shadrack Irasubiza, a graduate in Electronics and Telecommunications, believes this is an opportunity for the youth to apply what they studied in theory.

“Personally, I want to own my personal business of making satellites here in Rwanda and strongly believe that the skills which will be obtained from this fellowship will be of great help,” he said.