Clarisse Nzafashwanimana, is a Senor 5 student at Groupe Scolaire Masaka. She is doing Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics (PCM). She combines her studies with making knitted baby clothing (sweaters, caps and socks). She says the idea came when her school joined the School Enterprise Challenge.
This programme was introduced by Teach a Man to Fish, an international non-governmental organisation. Nzafashwanimana says through this programme, all the students were challenged to come up with a business idea and develop it with mentorship from their school entrepreneurship teacher.
Thanks to this programme, she got a chance to exploit her inner potential. With the money she gets from knitting she can buy herself school materials and some other basic needs.
“I like this programme because it gets to introduce us to the business world when we are still young. The skills we learn will be useful for a lifetime. With rising unemployment, when I don’t get a job related to my studies, I think I can thrive as an entrepreneur,”she says.
On the other hand, Jerome Umuhire, an entrepreneurship teacher at College Christ Roi, says under the School Enterprise Challenge, the school started a project of making paper envelopes. The students are the ones who deal with all the work from scratch, he says.
“This programme helps the students to learn about a business plan, implementation and business management, among others. The money made from the envelopes is used to pay school fees for one needy student, while the rest is saved for further investment.
“Even we teachers have expanded our skills about how to teach entrepreneurship more effectively. Before, we used to teach theoretically without any tangible practical reference. But now, when students are involved in business they get to understand the course better,” he says.
According to Teach A Man to Fish, the School Enterprise Challenge is a global business start-up awards programme run by the educational charity ‘Teach A Man To Fish.’ It aims to create globally aware, socially responsible, young entrepreneurs.
Sharon Munyazikwiye, the country coordinator of Teach A Man To Fish, says the Challenge is free for schools in any country to participate in and it gives students the chance to gain hands-on experience of running a real business.
‘The programme supports teams of students and teachers to plan, set-up and run a school business. School business teams receive guides and training to create a business that responds to local resources and needs, as well as a sustainable business that can thrive. Through running a school business, students learn skills such as teamwork, creativity and confidence while also generating income for their school or important cause of their choice,”he explains.
Teach A Man To Fish started working in Rwanda in 2014 through the Rwandan Girl’s Education and Advancement Programme (REAP), that supported 28 schools in Nyaruguru District.
In 2016, 22 schools across Rwanda registered in the School Enterprise Challenge, of which seven implemented the school business. In 2017, 59 schools developed business plans and 43 schools across the country have implemented the businesses.