RULINDO/GICUMBI — Computer literacy is probably one of the starting points to achieving Vision 2020 in Rwanda’s rural areas.
Community telecenters have been set up to empower rural residents with ICT skills, as part of efforts to increase access to information which can in turn has the potential to lead to transformation of rural livelihoods.
This sort of intervention has simplified work of the business community, students and teachers. A mini survey carried out by The New Times in Rulindo and Gicumbi Districts’ community telecenters recently; shows that many residents have undertaken short term courses in basic ICT packages.
At Gasiza Trading Center community telecenter located in Bushoki Sector in Rulindo, authorities have promoted wide use of ICT. Traders and farmers’ cooperative societies say they fully utilise the telecenter to order for goods and services from Kigali City on Internet.
“I am now able to order for goods from Kigali and elsewhere on Internet,” says Jean d’ Amour Hatagekimana, one of the traders.
Students from RULINDO, URUMURI and BUYOGA Secondary Schools also throng Gasiza community telecenter over the weekends, to surf internet and send emails to their friends.
Since last year, there has been a wide campaign to promote ICT use in Gicumbi District. District employees, police officers and members of cooperative societies have been trained at Byumba community telecenter an initiative spearheaded by Rwanda Development Board(RDB) personnel.
According to the telecenter manager, Donata Butere, trainees are awarded certificates upon completion of a two-month training in ICT basics.
A total of 15 cooperative society members from Gicumbi recently completed a three-week computer training, conducted by Regional ICT training and Research Center (RITC).
“The training is part of RDB’s e- Rwanda programme to empower members of cooperative societies country-wide with basics in ICT,” said RITC’s trainer Rita Mutabazi.
Issa Turyomwe, one of the trainees from the Peace and Unity Cooperative Society based at Gatuna border, says computer skills will enable him transact his foreign exchange bureau business more efficiently.
“This training will enable me manage finances efficiently through making periodic reports to the National Bank of Rwanda (BNR), regarding foreign exchange outflow at our Forex Bureau,” he said.
Another trainee from Kundisuka Miyove the Modern Agriculture Cooperative Society, Diogene Niyitegeka, hailed the government for introducing the e- Rwanda programme, saying ICT skills will boost his management skills for proper running of their cooperative.
“The training in the basics of ICT will enable us store and exchange vital information regarding the status of our cooperative society,” said Niyitegeka.
During the national inauguration of community telecenters at Byumba last year, the Minister of Local Government, Protais Musoni called upon area residents to embrace computer literacy as one of the ways to accelerating economic development.
On the same occasion, the Minister in the Office of the President in charge of Science, Technology and Scientific Research, Prof. Romain Murenzi said government intends to extend Internet connection to all Rwandans by the year 2012,citing ICT as the main source of information for a modern society.