Creating space and opportunities for young people in Rwanda
Empowering youth for the future of work and life
Generation Unlimited (GenU) Rwanda was launched on 3 September 2020 with a live broadcast on national television. GenU Rwanda’s leadership structure is chaired by the Ministry of Youth and Culture and UNICEF Rwanda.
Every year, more than 60,000 young people in Rwanda graduate from secondary and tertiary education and join the labour market – hence why the school-to-work transition has been identified as a key strategic priority for the country.
Since its launch, GenU Rwanda has progressively pursued cross-sectoral collaborations among stakeholders to intentionally develop shared-value partnerships between the public and private sectors, youth platforms, civil society organizations and, especially, youth – allowing young people to take the lead in solving the challenges that are most pertinent to their communities.
Strengthening youth networks for more effective engagement
Acknowledging that strong networks of young people are a key enabler for their engagement and participation, UNICEF – in close collaboration with the Ministry of Youth and Culture – conducted a month-long capacity-building workshop for 69 youth-led organizations. This was carried out through GenU signature solution, imaGen Ventures (formerly known as the GenU Youth Challenge), and equipped the personnel of the organizations with skills that will enable them to better engage in their respective communities and bring about greater impacts for society.
During the workshop, the youth-led organizations were able to develop innovative ideas, which were translated into projects related to mental health, entrepreneurship, economic empowerment, civic engagement and youth participation. Through a competitive process, the eight organizations with the most viable and impactful projects were awarded financial and technical support to implement their projects. Supporting these youth-led projects has created opportunities for yet more young people in Rwanda to be in the driving seat of change.
Provincial consultations and Commonwealth Youth Forum as platforms for youth participation
In May 2022, the Ministry of Youth and Culture, district offices and other partners organized provincial consultations themed ‘Future of Work, Our Shared Agenda’, aiming to discuss the school-to-work transition for young people. These consultations offered opportunities for young people to interact with policymakers, the private sector, civil society and academia and to propose solutions for their own future.
In June 2022, Rwanda hosted the Commonwealth Youth Forum, where national GenU stakeholders supported a capacity-building workshop entitled ‘Securing Investors and Advocates for Your Project or Business’. The session was led by Young People’s Action Team (YPAT) members and provided opportunities for more than 500 young people to engage and share good practices on making meaningful change in their communities.
In addition, Kevin Frey, CEO of GenU, attended the Commonwealth Youth Forum to address 500 young people on in-demand skills, and jobs of the future. It was an opportunity to discuss how to prepare and empower young people today as well as future generations.
Skilling young people for dignified employment
National GenU stakeholders, including youth networks, have been working together to operationalize and equip youth centres in 15 out of 30 Rwandan districts. The centres give young people access to skills development opportunities with a focus on life skills and non-cognitive skills, digital literacy and entrepreneurship. So far, more than 5,000 young people have been benefiting from the services available in the youth centres.