Rwanda should speak louder

Those who really know me will agree that I am not really a fan of TV. My taste for TV hardly goes beyond news casts and documentaries. You will not catch me fussing over TV series or soaps or even the ubiquitous Nigerian movies.With that background, the few times I choose to accord some concentration to the legendary magic box as some refer to the television, I give it my all like it was an academic assignment.

Those who really know me will agree that I am not really a fan of TV. My taste for TV hardly goes beyond news casts and documentaries. You will not catch me fussing over TV series or soaps or even the ubiquitous Nigerian movies.

With that background, the few times I choose to accord some concentration to the legendary magic box as some refer to the television, I give it my all like it was an academic assignment.

So on Tuesday when I tuned in to Rwanda television, I was quickly sucked in when I found a debate concerning social media being aired.

Although I found it close to the end, I managed to take note of the fact that the programme was an initiative by the Imbuto Foundation code named ‘Rwanda Speaks’.

One of the moderators of the debate later pointed out that the objective is to boost the culture of public speaking in Rwanda.

Considering the fact that the debate was being conducted in English, I will assume that part of the objective, is to also help develop fluency in the Queen’s language.

The debate was tackling a very interesting topic; how effective is social media (or new media) in the Rwandan context.

At the end of the debate, popular newscaster, Jean Claude Gaga was given a few minutes to give a few tips on good public speaking techniques. The show ended with the participants being awarded certificates of participation.

With an interesting topic like Social Media, I was left with envy since at each point I felt like jumping into the debate. In a nutshell I was very impressed by the whole idea of a televised debate.

To be more precise, I was elated and very grateful that Imbuto Foundation came up with such a wonderful idea.

My prayer is that this idea is supported by other stakeholders as it stands the chance to boost not only the culture of public speaking but also education in general.

That is why Imbuto Foundation is diversifying or demystifying the whole idea of debating in schools to benefit younger learners in the school system.

Help always yields more when it is directed at those who most need it. The faces I saw on TV all had no problem with the English language as well as expressing themselves. They all exuded a fair degree of confidence while at it.

By getting the schools involved Imbuto Foundation will be getting Rwanda not only to speak but to speak louder. Imbuto together with together with Rwanda Television should continue to record, organise and film debates between schools at the secondary level or even at the primary school level.

The mere glamour of appearing on national television is such a huge motivation to the students that within a short time the fad will spread like a wild fire.

The Rwanda Speaks initiative can also include school quizzes covering current affairs topics especially about Rwanda.

I still recall appearing on Uganda Television in 2000 when I took part in a national school quiz. I instantly became a celebrity of sorts once the programme was aired on TV and many students envied me then. At that age few things are cooler than appearing on TV.

Another thing that can be adopted by schools to boost public speaking is allowing prefects address the school assembly.

This offers the young future leaders a platform to practice what they will actually be expected to do in future. The school audience serves as their practice lab.

The struggle to improve language skills and education in general is a continuous one and it would be helpful if other institutions or companies emulated the example of Imbuto Foundation.

ssenyonga@gmail.com

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