On 16th and 17th January 2020 at Hotel Saint André in Muhanga District, Rwanda Association of Local Government Authorities (RALGA) organized a Technical Forum for District officers in charge of youth, sport and culture from all the districts of Rwanda and the City of Kigali. The objective of the forum was to increase the capacity of participants to identify opportunities and gaps for effective coordination, supervision and management of youth support initiatives in the sector of youth civic engagement and empowerment at local level. The activity was organized in collaboration with VNG International under the Inclusive Decisions at Local level (IDEAL) Project. The technical forum was graced by the presence of the Secretary General of RALGA, Mr. Ladislas NGENDAHIMANA. The National Youth Council (NYC) was also represented by its Executive Secretary, Mr. Robert MWESIGYE.
In his opening remarks, RALGA Secretary General reminded to participants that the technical forum was an opportunity to discuss about their responsibilities, to share experience and best practices, and to objectively assess themselves with the aim of identifying gaps and possible solutions. He appealed the participants to seize this meeting opportunity to propose strategies for enhancing youth participation in local governance and development programs given their demographic weight in Rwandan population. He insisted that district officers in charge of youth should play their role as agents of change to address the problems that Rwandan youth is faced with and also help Rwanda to reap demographic dividends.
On his side, NYC Executive Secretary commended RALGA initiative to provide this framework for open discussion on youth support services at District level. He emphasized that District officers in charge of youth, sport and culture should think about holistic approach to empower the youth including on the cultural side so that the youth can actively contribute to the national vision policy targets for 2050 (The Rwanda we want).
As a result of the discussions and experience shared, and with the purpose of improving their efficiency, participants made a series of recommendations.
Better planning, information sharing and induction courses recommended for more efficiency
The lack of collaboration between key stakeholders in the area of youth, sport and culture promotion was identified among issues affecting the efficient implementation of youth support initiatives. These include the Ministry of Youth and Culture, the Ministry of Sport, the National Youth Council to name but a few. Participants strongly recommended regular joint planning sessions and timely information sharing on the planned activities and available resources among the stakeholders for more impact of the planned activities on the beneficiaries. They also recommended induction courses for the new NYC committee members as soon as they are elected in 2021.
Participants committed to make more efforts in job creation for youth, fighting drugs and unwanted pregnancies
During the discussion and experience sharing sessions, participants acknowledged the fact that unemployment, drug consumption and unwanted pregnancies particularly for minors are among the threats to the development of the youth and the country in general. They hence committed to make more efforts and find innovative ways of engaging the youth on these issues.