Empowering Rwandan Youth: The Impact of the Youth Empowerment in 10 Youth Friendly Centers Project

The Ministry of Youth and Culture and Imbuto Foundation through UNICEF Rwanda, in partnership with DOT Rwanda as the implementing partner, operationalized and equipped youth centers in 10 districts. The canters give young people access to computers and Internet connectivity, skills development opportunities focusing on life skills and non-cognitive skills, digital literacy, and entrepreneurship. The project was directly linked to Imbuto Foundation’s Youth Empowerment Program – Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and aligned with all four focus areas of Generation Unlimited, providing education and training as well as entrepreneurship training and support, increasing employment opportunities, and centering an equitable approach when working with young people.

Under the belief in investing in youth and women to create a healthy, educated, and prosperous Rwanda, DOT Rwanda and the Imbuto Foundation successfully collaborated to implement empowerment, employment, mentorship, and entrepreneurship programs supporting Generation Unlimited objectives.

Implemented from August 2021 to November 2022, the project operationalized ten Youth Friendly Centers in Kicukiro, Kayonza, Nyagatare, Ruhango, Huye, Nyaruguru, Rubavu, Nyabihu, Gakenke, and Gicumbi districts.

The project increased the traffic to the centers, indirectly benefiting 299,210 (62% female) young people;

Key results of the projects

  • Participants Who had never used or touched a computer declined from 72% to 5%
  • Taking leadership roles in a club, association, cooperative or council rose from 32% to 64%
  • Confidence in using technology, including mobile phones, to make money increased from 36% to 79%
  • Ability to network to find opportunities increased from 38% to 70%
  • Level of confidence to use ICT skills to access better work and business opportunities increased by 39%
  • Ability to leverage ICT skills to access opportunities for better work increased from 38% to 78%
  • Confidence in using technology for business increased from 36% to 79%
  • Ability to create and develop detailed business ideas increased from 10% to 54%
  • Capacity to keep business records and manage their cash flows increased from 47% to 93%
  • Confidence in money management increased from 26% to 64%


Community Outreach on Girls’ Education and Skills Development:

The project also extended its reach to address the critical issue of girls’ education and skills development. By targeting girls aged 10-24, the project sought to break down barriers, promote access to opportunities, and tackle mental health concerns. This outreach was an essential step towards building a more equitable society in Rwanda.

Access to Finance and Youth-Led Projects:

Through the “Business Competition in 10 Youth Friendly Centers,” the project provided vital access to finance for young entrepreneurs. This support aimed to fuel the growth of youth-led projects, both existing and new. In total, 105 youth-led projects were awarded a substantial sum of 62,000,000 Rwandan Francs. This financial boost not only helped youth refine their business models but also stimulated economic inclusion and innovation.

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The YEin10YFCs project, under the Generation Unlimited Rwanda initiative, stands as a beacon of hope and empowerment for Rwanda’s youth. It has effectively harnessed the power of partnerships and community engagement to provide access to education, skills, entrepreneurship opportunities, and support for mental well-being. By assessing and operationalizing Youth Friendly Centers, delivering essential training, and fostering entrepreneurship through hackathons and competitions, the project has created a ripple effect of positive change in the lives of thousands of young Rwandans. As we witness the tangible impact of this initiative, we are reminded that investing in youth today is an investment in a brighter, more prosperous Rwanda tomorrow.

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