April 20, 2024

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Empowering communities: GIZ and RWARRI provide toolkits and equipment for TVET graduates and existing businesses in Gicumbi district and Mahama refugee camp

By Justin Kayiranga

The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and the Rwanda Rural Rehabilitation Initiative (RWARRI) have partnered to provide toolkits and equipment to young entrepreneurs in Gicumbi district and Mahama refugee camp. This collaborative effort aims to assist the youth with the basic resources they need to create sustainable livelihoods and contribute to the economic growth of their respective communities. The partnership between RWARRI and GIZ is part of the project “Dukorane Umurava – Upscaling Economic Inclusion of Refugees and Host Communities to Gicumbi District”, which is co-funded by the European Union and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The project was set-up beginning of 2021 to target refugees in Gihembe refugee camp and the host community in Gicumbi district. Since the closure of Gihembe camp, the project continues to support the former host community in Gicumbi, as well as refugees who were relocated from Gihembe to Mahama refugee camp (Kirehe district).

A total of 177 beneficiaries, namely 172 TVET graduates and five existing business entrepreneurs from Gicumbi district and Mahama refugee camp, received toolkits and equipment tailored to their entrepreneurial aspirations during ceremonies on September 27th and 28th, 2023. These toolkits encompass a wide range of trades, including culinary, tailoring, and welding.

Speaking at the event, Gahire Aimable, Acting Director of Business and Employment Development division in Gicumbi district, commended the initiative for its ambitions to address unemployment among the youth, particularly in Gicumbi district.

He said, “This is very important for us as a district because we made a commitment to help our community, especially the youth, start profitable businesses. The recent data shows that we have achieved 15 % of our total commitment within the last two months. We are confident that with the support from GIZ and RWARRI, the number of beneficiaries will increase, and they will also employ others.”

Despite concerns regarding the potential misuse of the equipment provided to young people as aid, to the point where some might be sold off, Uwizeye Belange, the Executive Director of RWARRI, assured that such issues would not arise. The distributed toolkits are equipped with tags to prevent any possible attempts.

He said, “We have been putting measures in place starting from selecting the recipients of these tools.”

“We also have a system that shows that the tool belongs to the project, and there is also a GPS technology that indicates the location of the recipients; the measures help us to manage and track them so that we prevent those having bad habits to sell the equipment,” Uwizeye added.

There is a high level of confidence and ambition among the beneficiaries. Some beneficiaries who spoke to Top Africa News expressed gratitude to GIZ and RWARRI for selecting them and revealed that this support will assist them in accomplishing their long-held dreams.

Charlotte Byukusenge, 25, said that she has been struggling to get a job despite her certificate in culinary arts. However, after being provided with full restaurant equipment she said that “Starting tomorrow, I, with my business partners, we are opening our own restaurant and we are ready to serve clients with excellent services and we are planning to employ others.”

Not only Byukusenge, but also Nyirimanzi Philbert, a representative of Gicumbi Star Cooperative, revealed that their cooperative was involved in sewing and textile work. However, they faced limitations due to the capacity of their equipment. Fortunately, with the new equipment they have been provided, they anticipate advancements and improvements compared to their previous work.

“Among the equipment that they provided us, some items were not previously available here in Gicumbi. As a result, there were certain tasks that we were unable to accomplish due to our limited equipment capacity.” He said.

“However, moving forward, we will be able to address these limitations. Additionally, this new equipment will enhance our productivity and enable us to improve the quality of our products.” Mr. Nyirimanzi added.

Currently, in Rwanda, 25.5 % of youth are unemployed, while in the Gicumbi district alone, 37.5 % between the ages of 16 and 30 are unemployed and not even in education or training.

The partnership between GIZ and RWARRI in providing toolkits for TVET graduates and existing businesses in the Gicumbi district is a significant step towards filling the above-mentioned gap.

By equipping young people with the necessary skills and resources, this initiative enhances their employability and fosters entrepreneurship and economic growth within the district.

Moreover, this collaborative effort demonstrates the commitment of both organizations to uplift communities and create sustainable opportunities for local residents.

With the toolkits in hand, TVET graduates and existing businesses in the Gicumbi district are now better positioned to thrive and contribute to the overall development of their community.

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