Youth should think about profitable projects they can run and work harder for self and national development, Rosemary Mbabazi, the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Youth and ICT, has said.
Mbabazi was speaking at the launch of YouthConnekt Month in Kinazi Sector, Huye District on Saturday.
At least 78.8 per cent of Rwandans are youth.
“We are sensitising the youth to make the most of the opportunities available so that they create jobs for development and self-reliance. Once the youth become self-reliant, the whole country achieves self-reliance as well,” Mbabazi said.
She advised the youth to fully embrace savings culture and join cooperatives.
The PS said the ministry is providing youth who have got vocational skills at Iwawa rehabilitation centre, with start-up kits they need to start their activities.
“We consider them a specific vulnerable group. Some are former drug abusers; others were children on the streets and have no families to look after them. We provide them with start-up kits, equipment that they need to start business, like sewing and others depending on what skills they acquired,” she said.
Youth suggested that the funds the government provides to districts for funding youth projects be shared as revolving funds that will be reimbursed so that more people can benefit.
PS Mbabazi welcomed the suggestion, warning that districts that would not have projects eligible for funding will have the money withdrawn.
“This will be used as a strategy to encourage competition and ensure proper use of the fund for good impact,” Mbabazi said.
Huye vice mayor for finance and economic development Cyprien Mutwarasibo urged the youth to use their strength to build the country.
“A child who fled the country in 1994, aged 10 is now 31 and can struggle to study in primary and secondary. But a person who fled the country with bachelors’ degree can compete on the job market and get a job. You should shun anyone drawing you into the wrong, rather use the available opportunities to enhance your knowledge,” he said.
Erie Busengimana, a worker at Uniproco, a cooperative of youth growing vegetables and maize in Kinazi Sector cited inadequate training and water to irrigate their vegetables during dry season among their challenges.
Mbabazi said the Ministry of Youth and ICT will work with the district to help youth cooperatives, including in building their capacities to deliver.
The coordinator of the National Youth Council in Huye District, Albert Busumbigabo, said there are 14 savings groups in the district with more to be formed.
The YouthConnekt month will be marked with several activities including voluntary services to the vulnerable.
YouthConnekt was launched in May 2013 and this year, it is being held for the third time.