Empowerment Initiatives: Fostering innovation, promoting a culture of responsibility

Olivier Niyonshimiye, a student at the School of Finance and Banking had never imagined that he could use his movie producing talent to impact lives and change behavior.
Imbuto Foundation’s Patron, the First Lady, Mrs. Jeannette Kagame. (File photo)
Imbuto Foundation’s Patron, the First Lady, Mrs. Jeannette Kagame. (File photo)

Olivier Niyonshimiye, a student at the School of Finance and Banking had never imagined that he could use his movie producing talent to impact lives and change behavior.

Despite the prevailing issues in society, this young man had in no way thought of the possibility to use his interest in the film industry as an informative platform.

In March this year, Imbuto Foundation led by its Patron-the First Lady, Mrs. Jeannette Kagame, launched a chain of Youth Empowerment Workshops country-wide in a bid to sharpen the minds of the country’s youth and enhance their contribution to nation building. 

Rwanda’s young people constitute about 64 percent of the total population.

In this regard, the Foundation found it a necessity to equip this able-bodied group with such skills under the youth curriculum dubbed “Youth Leadership and Mentorship Program,” (YLMP).

Today, the initiative that was launched only three months back has already started bearing unbelievable fruits out of the conferences that mainly convey messages of self-dependence, wealth creation, self confidence, life-skills information and inspiration among others.

After the training session of March that focused on a theme “What does it mean to be a Rwandan today,” Niyonshimiye attested that his dream into movie making for a genuine cause was awaken.

“I decided to produce a movie entitled –the bad side of us. It mainly brings out some of the major issues that we still have to change in our society, one of them being, the poor customer care,” he narrated with a smile.

According to Niyonshimiye, this was possible after mobilizing 20 other students at his school. He believes that after its official launch in July, the product will impact people differently and hopefully this bad attitude towards customers will change completely.

Uncovering hidden potential has not only worked for Niyonshimiye as Fifi Umukundwa, an employee at the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Herve Debarago, a student of the National university of Rwanda have equally benefited from these initiatives.

Umukundwa has managed to mobilize several youth to spearhead patriotism in a bid to cultivate a spirit of unity.

This is a product of Senator Aloisea Inyumba’s former training session which centred on promoting patriotism and visionary leadership as key attributes of high quality politics.

Debarago on the other hand has launched money making business and introduced a unique culture of awarding the smartest students in his faculty as a way of promoting cleanliness and fighting mediocrity.

The Minister of Youth, Protais Mitali has on many occasions advised youth to be the change agents in their society by working hard and reflecting on the future.

In relation to responsibility, the minister points out that the young stars should consider joining the various saving schemes such as COOJAD (a youth cooperative) which can enable them to have a self dependent financial status.

As the Patron of this great initiative, Mrs. Kagame challenges youth to avoid a culture of mediocrity and think not only of what Rwanda can do for them but what they (youth) can do for the country.

“Youth form a core part of the society, consisting of young and vibrant people who are capable of inciting change through making critical decisions. We need to change how we lived in the past and this is your task as young people.”

“Our legacy revolves around effective and hard work which requires one to have a positive attitude,” she advises.

The second quarter of the YLMP started this month in the Eastern Province. This time round, the key issue of discussion is communication as a tool of professionalism and self-esteem. Officials attach great importance to this topic as it builds interpersonal skills, enhances productivity and builds teamwork.

According to the United Nations resident Coordinator, Aurélien Agbénonci, effective communication results into empowerment.

He therefore considers this to be a vital tool for any developing nation considering that the world is a competitive global village.

Rwanda is still rebuilding from the ruins of the terrible events that emerged fifteen years back, in 1994 and the input of the youth who are also the biggest percentage of the population remains vital. 

By encouraging youth to drop the “I do not care attitude,” short term focus, lack of hope, slow decision making and ethical discrimination, Imbuto Foundation’s workshop programmes nurture innovation, promote self esteem and inculcate a culture of responsibility.

In this regard the conferences equip youth with relevant skills that are required to contribute significantly to Rwanda’s development.

Contact: virenam@gmail.com

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