FEATURED: More than 40,000 young people benefit from the USAID project Huguka Dukore Akazi Kanoze | New times
At least 40,097 young people from 25 districts have benefited from the USAID-funded Huguka Dukore Akazi Kanoze (HDAK) project to build their skills and prepare them for work and start their own businesses.
The five-year project, implemented in partnership with the Education Development Center (EDC), in collaboration with CRS, Connexus, AKA and 21 local partners, celebrated its achievements and legacy on October 28.
According to officials, the HDAK project achieved the goal of empowering young people, with 68.1 percent of beneficiaries getting a new or better job through the training gained.
USAID Rwanda Mission Director Jonathan Kamin is optimistic about what has been achieved by the project.
“Working closely with different partners, we have supported young people to help them find ways to acquire skills and have appropriate ways to get paid jobs or become entrepreneurs,” he said. during the event to close the project.
Kamin added that they have chosen to support this project because there are a lot of young people in the country and the unemployment rate is high and the government has made supporting young people a priority.
“In this country a lot of the energy and the spirit of the future belongs to the young people and we know that they are the priority of the government and we wanted to support them to make sure they have the right skills”, did he declare.
Speaking at the event, the Minister of State in charge of ICT and TVET, Claudette Irere praised the legacy of this project for all the help they have given to youth.
“This project enabled the targeted young people to acquire different skills such as preparation for work, employability while allowing them to become entrepreneurs,” she said.
Irere added that part of the legacy of this project was to help them develop and introduce a new curriculum in TVET institutions which she believes will ensure the institutionalization of her achievements.
Alejandra Bonifaz, Country Director of EDC in Rwanda, said this project has been generally successful despite the few challenges encountered over the past five years.
According to her, some of the challenges encountered included the Covid-19 pandemic which has restricted movement and face-to-face interactions.
“The project quickly developed a Work Ready Now audio program consisting of 42 episodes to help build work preparation skills among participants. The young people received these episodes via WhatsApp and later the program was broadcast on radio across the country in partnership with the Rwandan Broadcasting Agency.
She added that this initiative had an impact beyond the project participants.
“The results of a study showed that this audio program had a positive impact whereby families of young people and the wider community also listened to the episodes and benefited from this program.
Beneficiaries speak out
Various young people who benefited from this project praised its achievements, saying that it had “changed their lives” for them.
Rachel Uwiragiye, a tailor, said she would still be in poverty today without the project.
“I am grateful for this project which helped me to become an entrepreneur. I was able to start my own business with the help and advice I received from the training program, ”said Uwiragiye, who runs a sewing business.