Youth Tech Informants: The visionaries empowering young Rwandans for a Digital Tomorrow

Graduates of the Youth Tech Informant Initiative in Rwanda

In 2022, at the United Nations Assembly, Rwanda’s President, Paul Kagame, emphasized the inevitability of a digital future and presented evidence to underscore that the transformation is already in progress. Rwanda, under the president’s leadership, has taken significant steps toward achieving a digitally driven economy, envisioning the country as a “proof-of-concept destination and living laboratory” that encourages innovation and supports technology startups.

However, despite global strides in technological innovation, certain African communities continue to grapple with limited digital access and insufficient education or technical know-how. In the heart of Rwanda, a group of young individuals, led by founder Eugene Gato Nsengamungu, is determined to alter this narrative. The visionary ideas of this group gave rise to the Youth Tech Informants (YTI) initiative, aiming to promote digital inclusion in remote areas and bridge the digital divide, ultimately enhancing the quality of life and economic prospects for rural communities.

The Initiative has already garnered recognition, winning the 2023 Wesleyan University’s Davis Projects of Peace Grant and the Christopher Brodigan Award. YTI established a computer center in the Kimonyi sector, providing computer skills training to high school graduates from Kimonyi, Musanze, and Muhoza sectors in Northern Rwanda. On September 8th, 2023, 21 out of 24 enrolled individuals successfully completed the first YTI 3-month training program, attaining an impressive 87.5% success rate. Equipped with IT skills and a determination to become YTI ambassadors, these students underwent training in fundamental computer skills, internet literacy, and proficiency in navigating the Irembo platform—an eGovernment portal offering services in Rwanda.

Ongoing sessions at the computer center

In its brief existence, YTI’s impact has been remarkable, extending beyond the initial 21 students to serve 434 residents, providing them with free access to online services. During the YTI certificate award ceremony, covered by Rwanda Television, the State’s news channel, YTI was joined by various dignitaries, including the Musanze District Mayor Delegate, Rwanda National Police District Command, Northern Province Irembo Director, Musanze District Employment Officer, Rwanda National Youth Council Representative, Kimonyi Sector Executive, and other local government representatives, as well as the parents and friends of the cohort. Expressing their gratitude, they acknowledged YTI’s pivotal role in community development and pledged continued cooperation and support. Nimukuze Devotha, a Musanze resident, echoed this sentiment in her interview with Rwanda TV, stating, “If the youth receive this training, they are our own children whom we live with daily. They will assist us in acquiring the necessary technological skills to become self-sufficient.”

In addition to advancing digital literacy in rural Rwanda, YTI is committed to empowering young individuals to actively participate in the fight against climate change. Collaborating with local government initiatives, YTI focuses on reforestation and plastic waste management. Actively engaging with the community, YTI participates in events such as “Isaha Imwe Nsukure Musanze Yanjye” (“One Hour to Clean My Musanze”), Umuganda, sports, and various other community activities.

Founder – Eugene Gato Nsengamungu

Looking ahead, the Youth Tech Informants project aims to establish more local and international partnerships to expand its reach and empower even more youths. YTI is expanding its curriculum to include data analysis, website development, and entrepreneurship workshops. As the YTI project continues to empower rural youth with digital skills, it stands as a shining example of how grassroots initiatives can foster change. 

Are you Inspired by what these young minds are doing? If yes, consider donating to YTI Youth Tech Informants through their GoFundMe page.

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