During the 10-year anniversary of YouthConnekt themed “10 Years of Impact”, young people got an opportunity to share their thoughts on the current development steps of the country and made requests on what can be done to harness it. Among the issues tabled is a request for special needs youth to serve in the army.
In an interactive session with President Paul Kagame, young people from different sectors submitted their insights and requests for what can be done to enable their contribution to the country’s development.
With Rwanda’s steps in achieving inclusivity as commended by Nziyonsenga, he requested that people living with disabilities should also have an opportunity to contribute to the country’s development, specifically, being part of the army forces.
Kagame said that the army is not about shooting and wars but it is open to different professionals such as doctors, engineers, and accountants, among others, hence, the possibility of his request.
Niyonkuru requested investments in infrastructure and research in Artificial Intelligence to make the advancement in technology work for Rwandans.
Digital Umuganda is an Artificial intelligence company specializing in language technology for African languages with an emphasis on voice-based solutions. It started in 2019 and enabled Kinyarwanda language to be recognized and accessed on Google Translate.
Their work has expanded to now working with other six African languages.
She commended the government for Education for All policy that has allowed people with disabilities to get an education, equipping her with a degree in Journalism.
However, she requested that the challenge of being denied employment based on their physical condition should be denied. She said that a person living with a disability who is able to apply for a job and goes through stages of interview is denied a job not because of incompetence but employer disregards them the instant they see them.
This is in both public and private sectors, according to Uwicyeza.
As the world is faced with a climate change crisis that has a cross-cutting impact, Gatabazi requested that green skills should be taught in schools and enable young people to create green jobs as they play their role in environmental conservation and take part in the fight against climate change.
Meanwhile, at the event that attracted more than 2,000 youth from across the country, President Kagame tasked youth to purposefully work hard and smart with a mindset of putting the country on a global stage of development, with dignity.
He noted that the youth should always question what is hindering Rwanda from developing in the wake where other countries on other continents are advanced, adding that this shouldn’t be a basis for belittling treatment but calls for mutual respect as equal people.
Launched in 2012, YouthConnekt is a platform that links the youth with their leaders, role models, skills, and resources to promote employability, access to finance, civic engagement, and entrepreneurship opportunities.
Over the past 10 years, more than 36,000 jobs were created as a result of the initiative, while 2,000 youth-led enterprises were empowered and supported with business development skills, seed funding, and mentorship services. Over 3000 vulnerable youths were supported including teen mothers and people with disabilities