A local organization has launched an annual program to equip young people with leadership skills following evidence showing gaps in youth leadership roles and lags in addressing citizen issues.
The program dubbed “Generation Leadership Academy” was officially launched this weekend by Citizen Voice and Actions (CVA), an organization that focuses, among other things, on inclusive governance, rights and youth engagement.
The annual leadership academy program began with the first cohort of 21 students selected from across the country, including new graduates and members of the National Youth Council (NYC).
CVA officials said the annual program will feature two cohorts (of 30 students each) with the aim of building character and leadership skills in young people.
The initiative comes at a time when it has become apparent that local leaders are slow to take years to address citizen concerns, an aspect that was highlighted during the recent Presidential Citizen Outreach Program.
Samuel Hakuzimana, Founder and Executive Director of CVA, said the program was launched after five years of working with young people and realizing the gaps in the lack of leadership skills, especially at the grassroots level and among new graduates who are expected to to be future leaders.
“In our field activities, we have noticed gaps in leadership skills among young people. Therefore, this program will build the character and skills of future leaders who are aware of government policies and ready to perform,” Hakuzimana said.
In the findings of the CVA, Hakuzimana said that young people have not grasped their role in the leadership space that the government has defined for young people, but also that some existing local leaders do not have leadership character. even when educated.
“That means we need to prepare young people to have character in communicating, collecting feedback from citizens and approaching issues with feedback in a timely manner. It will improve future leadership,” he said.
In the program, interns will also be able to meet and share ideas with prominent leaders to gain practical experience and insight into what it means to be a leader in Rwanda.
Fred Musiime, a human rights and governance consultant, said the academy program is a good idea to prepare future transformational leadership to fill the gaps of current leaders that are fading away.
Musiime said there has been a lack of referrals and encouragement for young people to take on leadership roles, even when some of them have proven this through voluntary activities.
The inclusive program also integrates young people with disabilities and will focus on disseminating knowledge on the National Transformation Strategy (NST1), decentralization and effective leadership.
Through a sign language interpreter, Frida Umutoniwase, a young Deaf intern, said it was an opportunity for people with disabilities to understand government policies and be involved in roles. of leadership, who were blocked by language barriers.