A seven-year project dubbed ‘Akazi Kanoze’, has significantly changed livelihoods of 21,000 youths in the country, according to implementers.
The USAID-funded Akazi Kanoze programme, aimed at enhancing skills and employability of youth to enable them to get jobs and further education.
Last week, the project partners met beneficiaries in Kigali to share experiences and achievements of the last seven years working in Rwanda.
According to the project implementers, the beneficiaries (youth) have been acquiring skills to enable them fit in the labour market upon completion of their studies.
They received communication, work readiness, entrepreneurship, customer care, saving, teamwork, and leadership skills, they said.
They also conducted internship at various businesses.
At least 60 per cent of the trainees have got jobs while others are self-employed.
Jerome Gasana, the director general of the Workforce Development Authority (WDA), recognised the contribution of the project in reducing youth unemployment and enhancing their skills.
He hailed the project as successful in enhancing youth entrepreneurship.
“We recognise their hard work over the last seven years. They reached some rural areas we could not cover ourselves. They linked young entrepreneurs with business companies,” Gasana said.
“Even beneficiaries’ testimonies show that the outcomes of the project are critical for economic empowerment and country’s development. Their contribution complemented class lectures.”
He said, as the project winds up, discussions are ongoing on the possibility of launching another phase.
Gasana challenged the youth not to despise jobs.
Steve Kamanzi, the coordinator of Akazi Kanoze project, said the outcomes of the project will last forever.
“We worked closely with business persons who employ our trainees. We have been receiving feedback that our trainees are hard working and skilled. They also received soft skills to prepare them for employment,”
Immaculee Nyirabizeyimana, a trainee, said the training opened her mind.
“I did not have a vision. My thoughts about earning money were limited. But, with the training, I acquired skills to create my own job,” Nyirabizeyimana said.
Regis Mugiraneza echoed Nyirabizeyimana message, saying that Akazi Kanoze enriched his potential.