A local organization has initiated an annual program to equip youth with leadership skills following evidence showing gaps in leadership roles among youth and delays in addressing citizen’s issues.
The program dubbed ‘Generation Leadership Academy’ was officially launched this weekend by Citizen Voice and Actions (CVA), an organization that focuses on inclusive Governance and Rights and Youth Engagement among others.
The annual leadership academy program started with the first cohort intake of 21 students selected from across the country, especially fresh graduates and members of the National Youth Council (NYC).
CVA officials said that the annual program will have two cohorts (of 30 students each) with the intention to build character and skills in leadership among youths.
The initiative comes at a time when it has become evident that local leaders delay taking ages to address citizen’s concerns, an aspect that was highlighted during the recent Presidential Citizen’s outreach program.
Samuel Hakuzimana, CVA founder and Executive Director said that the program was initiated after five years of working with youth and realizing gaps of lack leadership skills especially at the grassroots levels and fresh graduates who are supposed to be future leaders.
“In our field activities we have noticed gaps in leadership skills among youth. Therefore this program will build character and skills for future leaders who are aware of government policies and ready to perform,” Hakuzimana said.
In the CVA findings, Hakuzimana said that youth have not captured their role in the leadership space that the government has set for youth, but also some existing local leaders don’t have leadership character even when educated.
“This means we have to prepare youth to have character in communicating, collecting citizen feedback and the timely approach to issues with feedback. This will improve future leadership,” he said.
In the program the trainees will also be able to meet and share ideas with prominent leaders to get hands-on experience and a feeling of 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 address shortfalls in current leaders who are phasing out.
Musiime said that there has been a lack of sharpening and encouraging youth to enter leadership roles even when some of them have proved it through volunteer activities.
The inclusive program also on-boards youths with disability and will focus on disseminating knowledge on the National Strategy for Transformation (NST1), decentralization and effective leadership.
Through a sign language interpreter, Frida Umutoniwase, a deaf youth trainee said that this is an opportunity disabled persons to understand government policies and be involved in leadership roles, which have been blocked by language barriers.