The new Minister of Youth, Jean Philbert Nsengimana, has called on the youth to undertake voluntary services to help accelerate the country’s development programmes.
He was speaking, yesterday, at the opening of a two-day conference on volunteerism in Kigali, organized to mark the tenth anniversary of International Year of Volunteers (IYV).
Participants are taking stock of the achievements made in volunteering, in and outside the country, while encouraging more people to provide voluntary services.
“In Rwanda, the youth form the largest proportion of the population, at 60 percent; their awareness and hearty contribution will drastically increase the country’s pace towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs),” noted the minister.
He cited the monthly community work, (Umuganda) as one of the voluntary activities, as well as the Gacaca court system and community health workers, whom he said, attend to 80 percent of health cases, especially in the countryside.
Speaking to The New Times, Fabrice Kwizera, a volunteer with Voluntary Service Oversees, (VSO), an international organisation, urged the youth to focus more on communal over personal gains in service delivery.
“The youth should not just look at making personal gains, but instead seek to contribute to the advancement of society as a whole,” he advised, underlining that there are benefits that accompany volunteerism, including work experience and cultivating contacts.
Ivan Dielens, a Programme Officer at the United Nation Volunteers (UNV), which coordinates volunteerism campaigns worldwide, noted that participants were expected to come up recommendations that would help promote voluntary work in the country.