Gakenke-Nyabihu: The Vulnerable Youth Empowerment Project Transforming Youth Livelihoods

The Vulnerable Youth Empowerment Project, implemented by AJPRODHO JIJUKIRWA under the support of the Ministry of Youth and Arts, aims to empower 100 young individuals to break free from poverty by leveraging their talents and transforming them into valuable skills.

Targeting the youth in Gakenke and Nyabihu districts, the project provides life skills training designed to promote personal growth, prevent substance abuse, and avoid unplanned pregnancies. Participants will also receive vocational tools tailored to their unique talents and capabilities.

Kevine Mudahogora, a young mother who experienced an unplanned pregnancy, underscored the project’s timely intervention. She remarked, “This initiative is perfectly timed. For someone like me, who had an unplanned pregnancy, it offers essential skills and the opportunity to find employment, enabling me to support and raise my child effectively.”

Jean Baptiste Gatabazi, a former resident of the Wawa Rehabilitation Center, shared his optimism, stating, “We possess skills that we can put to use. The Vulnerable Youth Empowerment Project will equip us with the necessary tools to practice our trades. I am confident this will help us settle down and earn a living, steering clear of negative behaviors.”

The 100 young participants include 50 from Gakenke and 50 from Nyabihu, encompassing a diverse group of individuals, including those who have undergone rehabilitation, young mothers with unplanned pregnancies, school dropouts, and those with vocational training but lacking the resources to utilize it.

Initially, these young individuals will receive comprehensive training on daily conduct and behavior, followed by various lessons aimed at enhancing their vocational skills, as announced by project management on May 16, 2024.

Marie Claire Uwamahoro, the Vice Mayor of Gakenke District in charge of social affairs, highlighted the project’s potential to reduce unemployment and improve the living standards of the youth through increased job opportunities. She stated, “We deeply appreciate the Vulnerable Youth Empowerment Project initiative, as it will engage our youth in productive activities, fostering their personal development.”

Dr. Fulgence Mpayimana Leading the Charge in Empowering Rwanda’s Youth Through the  Vulnerable Youth Empowerment Project

Dr. Fulgence Mpayimana, the Executive Secretary of the Vulnerable Youth Empowerment Project, emphasized the importance of building a bright future for the youth, recognizing them as the country’s workforce. He explained, “We chose to work with the youth because they are the backbone of our nation. Our goal is to build their capacities so they can create jobs based on their skills. We begin by identifying and nurturing their talents, providing them with training, and then supplying the necessary tools.

The expected outcome is to see these young individuals, who were once struggling, now engaged in activities that promote their development. This will also help reduce the prevalence of drug abuse and other harmful behaviors, as they will be focused on productive work.”

The Vulnerable Youth Empowerment Project is slated to run for one year, during which its impact on the youth will be monitored and evaluated. The achievements will lay the groundwork for future initiatives aimed at continuing the project’s mission to support Rwanda’s youth.