A three-day International Youth Leadership Conference bringing together youth from Canada, Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania and Rwanda got underway yesterday in Bugesera District, Eastern Province.
The forum that focuses mainly on fostering unity, peace building, healing and reconciliation was organised by GEL (Governance, Ecosystems and Livelihoods) a project under World Vision in partnership with Canadian International Development Agency.
Opening the forum, Edward Kalisa, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Youth, said that young leaders have the power and courage to promote peace, democracy and good governance.
“Young people are the agents of change in their communities. Empowering them to promote youth-driven change and become vehicles of peaceful, positive change towards development is vital,” he explained.
He added that, coming together and share experiences with other young people from other countries, Rwandan youths shall be able to draw lessons and experiences.
Kalisa urged the youth to utilise the knowledge they will get from the forum and share it with their peers in transforming their societies for peaceful development.
According to George Gitau, the National Director World Vision Rwanda, one of the main objectives of GEL project is to empower young people to become good future leaders.
‘Through sharing experiences and ideas with others, you will have the best opportunity to develop and enhance your leadership skills and abilities,” he told the youth.
“See yourself as global resources that can be utilised anywhere in the world”.
He added that young people are the potential leaders who can influence their peers, families, communities and countries positively towards development.
Rachael Uwamahoro, one of the youth representatives from Rwanda, said that it was an opportunity to unite and create an atmosphere of learning, friendship, shared growth and change.
“We hope that, group discussions, cultural exchange and shared experiences will contribute to cultivate our abilities to become strong and effective agents of change in our communities, at both local and international level,” she stressed.
Rosemary McKee youth representative from Canada said that was a moment to interact, share knowledge and experiences and as well as exchange culture, customs and the vision of each other’s country.
Since its inception in 2007, GEL has funded many developmental projects and cooperatives in Rwanda.