2 May 2024 Thought Leadership: Out of School Youth

Hasani Jean Aime has been employed by gold Youth Development Agency, in cooperation with the National Youth Council of Rwanda, to mentor school dropouts in his area, Burera.  “Out of school youth think that a good life is based on education, so if they do not have the opportunity to continue their education, they become discouraged and engage in negative risks” he says. Hasani is part of a team of motivated young leaders who is helping to prepare school dropouts for a life of meaningful economic engagement, despite them no longer receiving schooling.

The good news is that youth themselves recognize the importance of programmes addressing these problems. One of Hasani’s colleagues, Jean d’Amour Muragijimana from the National Youth Centre in Karongi, has this to say: “Programmes targeting out-of-school youth are very important because it helps them to get access to opportunities. In rural communities, out-of-school youth don’t have sufficient support. That is why I think to initiate a programme like this in our community will help youth to change their behaviour and their minds and to create good relationships with their communities.”

The programme is targeted to the specific needs of these young people. It includes mentoring to encourage personal development but is largely focused on developing foundational skills to operate in the economy – financial literacy and microbusiness training. Recognizing that Rwanda has a strong focus on agriculture, and knowing the opportunities that the food industry is projected to provide to African youth in the coming decades, the programme includes Talk Groups to accustom youth to ways in which they can participate in the food industry, as well as a farm demo day and some farm training. Those youth who show entrepreneurial inclination will receive further training on this topic, to set them up for success. Young people are positioned to serve their communities and solve problems in a way that is sustainable and ultimately aims to alter the System of Youth Education and Upbringing.

The beauty of gold’s methodology—peer education—is that youth take it upon themselves to exert peer pressure in a positive way. gold-youth’s Out-of-school Programme therefore relies on these young people sharing what they learn with their peers in the community.  Of course, this can happen in school, but it can happen out of school, too. Having seen over the last 20 years how well the methodology of peer education works, we are excited to see young Rwandans catch the vision of a future in which they lead with integrity and boldness. We see a new generation of leaders rising!

Hasan tells us more: “The Out-of-school Programme is about showing these young people that every situation should allow someone to change the lifestyle from negative to positive mindset. Short courses remind them about their tasks and to help them access to opportunities. It is a very good initiative because once they understand their self-worth and are well trained, then they will become the mirrors for others.”

Article written by gold-youth Research and Development Team