Youth comprise 28.1 percent of Rwanda’s estimated 12million people. The government targets to create 200,000 off-farm jobs per year, mainly for youth and women in the next couple of years. With Rwanda’s youth numbering 2.3 million, increasing livelihood opportunities for the next generation is crucial for the country’s economic development.
KCB Bank Rwanda under KCB Foundation is one of the private entities in the country that have crafted initiatives that feed into national employment programs and targets.
KCB Foundation, the social investments arm of KCB Bank Group, acknowledges its role in job creation and putting efforts in supporting the youth by advocating and strengthening the linkages between the informal and private sectors.
It’s in accordance with this that KCB Foundation in April 2018 launched a scholarship program dubbed ‘KCB Igire’ in partnership with National Youth Council (NYC) which sponsored 100 students to study vocational skills in the fields of Culinary Arts, Carpentry and ICT at different Colleges under Rwanda Polytechnic.
Igire is a flagship initiative focusing on addressing unemployment by equipping the youth with skills for self-employment and entrepreneurship.
Under the program, competitions are organized at the end of the six months of accelerated training where ten participants with most articulate bankable business proposals are given startup funds by KCB Foundation.
In May this year, the second batch of KCB Igire program was rolled out, sponsoring 200 youth to study vocational skills in the fields of Welding, Auto-mobile mechanics, Tiling, Culinary Arts and ICT at different Integrated Polytechnic Regional Centres (IPRCs) under Rwanda Polytechnic.
Hope Magazine visited some of the KCB Igire-sponsored students at IPRC Kigali who are specializing in ICT studies to understand the progress and the impact the training will have on their skills and productivity.
One of the students, 28-year-old Kantengwa Mediatice recounts the time she completed her secondary studies but was unable to continue to another level due to lack of financial support.
“When I heard on the radio of the call to apply for this six- months training program, my hope to study and acquire knowledge was restored. I applied to study ICT and fortunately I was admitted.
“I am even more motivated to think smart and come up with a profitable business proposal that will win the competition and be funded with a Rwf 3 million startup so that when I complete this training, I immediately have an occupation and create jobs for others.”
Another student, David karekezi says the training has so far equipped him with the best practical IT skills.
“Through these last three months we have already covered modules including hardware maintenance, web designing, coding and creating a database. Right now, I am able to identify and fix a computer with a hardware technical problem.
“The best part about these trainings is that everything is put into practice. We don’t just make notes theoretically.”
Karekezi adds: “In the coming final 3 months of the training, we’re going to study entrepreneurship skills which include business management, making business plans, accounting and many other things. This shows that apart from being equipped with ICT knowledge, we will be able to understand how a business is managed and have a business mind.”
This is among the many initiatives that KCB has crafted to grow with communities where it operates. The KCB Bank Rwanda Corporate Communications Manager, Rosette Mutoni says that over the years, the bank has been involved in multiple community development initiatives.
“Igire Program is one of the KCB sustainable projects that we believe will have a ripple effect on the development of the Rwandan community in the years to come. Hopefully we will continue to be successful and employ other youth so that they can all provide extra income for their families too.”
More students appreciated KCB Bank Rwanda for choosing to invest in the youth skills and for providing this profound educational opportunity.