Fresh initiatives aimed at extending ICT solutions to rural areas were launched yesterday in Tumba Sector, Rulindo District.
The move is expected to help accelerate service delivery.
Dubbed, “Tumba Smart Village Initiative and the Digital Ambassadors Programme” (DAP), the initiatives were launched by the Minister for Information Technology and Communications, Jean-Philbert Nsengimana, together with Northern Province governor Jean-Marie Vianney Gatabazi.
In particular, the Smart Village is a concept initiated by the Government to engage stakeholders to collaboratively bridge the digital divide using different technological approaches to digitally transform rural areas and ensure the wellbeing of Rwandans.
“This project also aims at extending universal digital inclusion. This initiative is based on full coverage infrastructure and we want to see people being able to connect to devices, access smart electricity like solar energy, as well as do other activities smartly,” Nsengimana said.
Toward digital literacy
On the infrastructure foundation, the minister said enhancing digital literacy is prerequisite and that it’s what the Digital Ambassadors Programme will do.
The Digital Ambassadors Programme, locally known as Intore Mu Ikoranabuhanga, is an ambitious plan in which the Government targets to introduce five million citizens to digital literacy and opportunities through the use of e-Government and e-Business services.
“Digital literacy is very important and so we want to train everyone to be able to use digital services on a self-service basis, particularly digital financial services that facilitate people to save and do other transactions using technology devices,” he said.
Nsengimana said the initiatives will contribute to digital inclusion and growth and that they are aligned with the National Digital Talent Policy, which seeks to drive digital adoption and bridge the ICT skills gap.
As part of Tumba Smart Village Initiative, a solar powered container, was opened. It will be providing different business and health services. The container houses an internet café and a clinic.
During the launch, service providers introduced different solutions, including the smart saving scheme that allows unbanked local savings groups (Ibimina) to digitise. The scheme was introduced in partnership with Tigo Rwanda.
Governor Gatabazi called on Rulindo citizens to take advantage of the increasing technology programmes that the Government is rolling out, saying they could help change their families’ welfare.
“I am confident that, if leveraged, these programmes can provide unprecedented opportunities to you. I advise you to put them to good use and use the skills that you will acquire to impact socio-economic welfare of your families,” he told the residents.
Gatabazi said, without collaboration, nothing can be achieved, and that to, achieve accelerated development, people should put together efforts.
Training five million Rwandans
DAP was launched in partnership with Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT) Rwanda and it is in line with the Government’s plan to become an ICT hub.
Based on DOT’s youth-led development model, DAP will train 5,000 young Rwandans as digital ambassadors who will offer digital skills training to five million Rwandans by end of 2020 so they can access online opportunities and e-Government services.
Minister Nsengimana said at least 3,000 people will be trained during the initial stage from five select districts of Rulindo, Nyagatare, Nyarugenge, Gisagara and Rusizi.
Emmanuel Nzeyimana, the DOT Rwanda country programme manager, said digital ambassadors will receive the digital, leadership and training skills they need to respond to the unique needs and challenges of their communities.
Meanwhile, the event brought together government institutions offering digital services, telecom operators (MTN and TIGO), internet service providers, banks (Bank of Kigali and Banque Populaire du Rwanda), and electronic device suppliers.