Youth is a key demographic for the Rwanda National Development agenda. Nevertheless poverty, unemployment, poor productivity, lack of economic empowerment, deficit in education and training as well as lack of access and utilization of ICT have continued to hinder the progress of youth development in the country.
Research conducted by Never Again Rwanda and Interpeace identified fundamental issues that continued to undermine youth participation in governance including among others:
- Low and sometimes lack of literacy of on-going or intended government policies and strategies
- Little to no understanding of the decision-making process in the country, power and hierarchical relationship among the decision-making bodies and channels of accessibility.
- The long-standing issue of limited and sometimes inexistent connections between youth organizations and their large membership on the one hand and youth representatives with their constituents on the other.
- Limited skills in dialogue and consensus-building among youth groups to advocate for their rights and needs. As a result, they end up with self-censorship, loss of legitimacy and trust among themselves hence voiceless and powerless as well as weak relationship between youth and their stakeholders.
To remedy these challenges, the project facilitated youth leaders to be trained in policy and financial literacy, business development and management to increase their participation in decision-making process. Youth leaders were encouraged to transfer those skills to their respective networks across the various districts in Rwanda. By targeting Youth leaders, Youth organizations, and national and local policy makers, the Youth Engage project seeks to fully unlock youth potential and maximize their voice in constructively engaging with government policy and development processes on key issues of concern.