Graduation/ Certificates Award Ceremony for the 1st Cohort of R-YES Beneficiaries
On Thursday 17th November 2022 – Three Hundred and Fifty Six (356) rural youth were awarded certificates of competence following their completion of technical/ experiential learning in ten (10) agribusiness courses from different Integrated Polytechnic Regional Colleges (IPRCs) of Rwanda Polytechnic, TVET schools of Rwanda TVET Board, RAB centers, and agribusiness industries through a five-year Rural Youth Employment Support (R-YES) project (2020 – 2024) funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) to create employment opportunities for rural youth in agribusiness.
R-YES project is implemented in Rwanda by a consortium led by Kilimo Trust in partnership with Rwanda Youth in Agribusiness Forum (RYAF), Rwanda Polytechnic through its Integrated Polytechnic Regional Colleges (IPRCs), Rwanda TVET Board through TVETs, RAB centers of excellence, and agribusiness industries/companies as centers of technical training and employment for R-YES beneficiaries (youth). R-YES supports youth aged between 18 and 30 years from Rwanda’s 16 target districts, including: North (Gicumbi, Rulindo, and Musanze), West (Nyabihu, Rubavu, and Rusizi), South (Nyanza, Ruhango, Gisagara, Kamonyi and Huye), and East (Nyagatare, Kayonza, Rwamagana, Ngoma and Bugesera). Interventions include vocational and experiential learning, apprenticeship, work-based learning, and business development for youth (including those with disabilities).
The certificates award ceremony took place at a stadium of Rwanda Polytechnic’s Kigali Campus (IPRC-Kigali) located in Kicukiro, Kigali from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM. The ceremony was graced by the Honorable Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Gerardine Mukeshimana, the Vice Chancellor of Rwanda Polytechnic, D. Sylvie Mucyo, the Executive Secretary of the Rwanda National Women Council, Kamanzi Jackline, Kilimo Trust CEO, Dr. Birungi Korutaro, leaders of different technical colleges, agribusiness industries, partnering institutions, and local government officials.
In her remarks to the graduands, the Minister of Agriculture said, “Thank you for choosing wisely. The skills that you acquired are the right skills we need as Rwanda to develop our economy.”
She also cautioned those that say studying agribusiness is for the ‘unwise’ to change that mindset because it is for the brilliant. She encouraged the youth that graduated to put in use the skills acquired and where they meet challenges, they can reach out to the ministry to find solutions. In addition, she encouraged them to join the Rwanda Youth in Agribusiness Forum (RYAF) whose mandate is youth advocacy and connection to opportunities in the agricultural sector.
The 356 rural youth underwent three to four months of competency-based training at IPRC Musanze, IPRC Gishari, IPRC Kigali, Kabutare TVET school, Kavumu TVET school, College Fondation Sina Gerard, 28 agribusiness companies, and centers of Rwanda Agriculture and Animal Resources Development Board (RAB). They were awarded certificates of competence in the following agribusiness areas: i) Milk processing; ii) Meat processing; iii) Animal feed production; iv) Fodder (hay and silage) production and marketing; v) Vegetable production and processing; vi) Poultry farming (broilers and layers); vii) Operation and maintenance of field irrigation; viii) Operation and maintenance of farm tractors and machinery; ix) Operation and maintenance of agro-processing machinery; x) Refrigeration and cold chain management. These courses/ opportunities were selected by R-YES stakeholders based on the findings of the labour market assessment conducted by Kilimo Trust.
R-YES progress in summary
As of October 2022, Rwanda agribusiness hub has been established comprising of 41 public and private sector partners who signed agreements with Kilimo Trust Rwanda to provide training and employment opportunities to rural youth through R-YES project. They include 28 agribusiness industries/companies, 7 technical colleges, Rwanda youth in agribusiness forum (RYAF), and Government Agencies such as Business Development Fund (BDF), Rwanda Polytechnic, Rwanda TVET Board (RTB), Rwanda Agriculture and Animal Resources Development Board (RAB), and the Single Project Implementation Unit (SPIU) of IFAD.
Twenty (20) upgrades were conducted by R-YES project to enable adequate technical training in selected agribusiness training facilities. They include ten (10) competence-based training curriculums developed and validated for the selected ten (10) short courses, upgrade of facilities and availing tools and consumables in training facilities of partnering centers of technical training, including: Two (2) workshops at IPRC Musanze (Milk and Meat processing workshops); Two (2) facilities at IPRC Gishari (Irrigation and Poultry farming facilities); Four (4) workshops at IPRC Kigali (Refrigeration, Machine tools, Electrical, and Automobile workshops); One (1) workshop at Kabutare TVET School (Fodder Production Equipment); and One (1) workshop at Kavumu TVET School (tractor hire services).
During the period to October, 356 youth completed their 3 to 4 months of technical training through R-YES. A total of 141 youths were employed upon completion of the training (including 25 with disabilities). They include 85 youth that were retained as employees (wage) and 55 youth that started 34 own agribusiness enterprises (single-owned and join-ventures). The numbers are expected to increase when the youth get certificates.
Studies were conducted at the start-up phase to guide establishment of the hub and recommend appropriate employment creation approaches to adopt. Conducted studies include: (1) Value Chain Scoping Study which helped to identify and select 7 agricultural value chains with potential to attract and provide decent employment to youth, (2) Labour Market Assessment which helped to map existing labour demands and select youth employment opportunities across different nodes of selected 7 value chains, (3) Profitability and Gross-Margin Analysis to select most suitable and feasible agribusiness opportunities for youth, and (4) Institutional Capacity Assessment which informed the selection institutions based on their capacity and readiness to participate in R-YES implementation, among other studies.
As of October 2022, four (4) IFAD monitoring and supervision missions were held to monitor progress and support implementation of R-YES project: The first (1st) Supervision Mission by IFAD was held physically and virtually from 20th to 23rd September 2021 to assess progress of the implementation of annual work plan and budget agreed at the launch of R-YES in July 2020, as well as ensuring that the project has completed all or most of the preparatory activities and ready to begin the implementation of activities at hub nurturing phase. This resulted in revised targeting strategy and R-YES work plan and budget; the second (2nd) Supervision and Implementation Support Mission of IFAD was held physically from 14th to 17th November 2021 mainly to R-YES implementing partners and agribusiness industries. This mission commended the level of private and public sector engagement. The mission recommended more partnerships with the private sector to create more employment opportunities for youth; the third (3rd) was the Visit by IFAD Vice President, MR. Dominik Ziller to R-YES on 10th May 2022. He applauded the innovative approach of R-YES project to onboard youth and create employment opportunities in agribusiness. The VP tasked the implementation team to ensure sustainability of the model; the fourth (4th) Supervision and Implementation Support Mission of IFAD to R-YES was held physically from 15th to 21st May 2022 mainly to youth (beneficiaries), centers of technical training, and agribusiness industries. During this visit, the mission team commended the approach used and tasked the team to ensure documentation of the hub establishment process and case studies on youth employment in agribusiness for learning, scale-up, and replication by IFAD and other stakeholder.
R-YES implementation remains on-track despite the impact of COVID-19 and inflationary pressures caused by the war in Ukraine.