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Stakeholders gather to learn lessons on youth employment: IFAD Agri-Hub in Rwanda.

Kilimo Trust Rwanda held a learning and reflection event with over 50 partners and various stakeholders who included representatives from both the public and private sectors as well as the youths. This was held at Lemigo Hotel Kigali from April 26 to 28, 2023.


The Learning and Reflection event aimed at sharing lessons learned about youth employment approaches that have been used under the IFAD Agri-hub in Rwanda through the Rural Youth Employment Support (R-YES) Project. The event also included reflecting on both successes and challenges as well as discussing meaningful measures on how to pivot the successes of the R-YES Project to scale out and have a big impact in Rwanda and beyond. 

Kilimo Trust CEO giving opening remarks

The Learning and Reflection event kicked off on April 26, 2023, with Kilimo Trust Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dr. Birungi Korutaro giving a Keynote address to all the participants of the 3-day event and thanked them for honoring Kilimo Trust’s invitation to the event and noted that there will be a lot to learn about the progress and setbacks in the implementation of the R-YES program.

‘’After carrying out extensive research and studies, it was noted that agribusiness was not an attractive career choice to the youths in Rwanda as they preferred white-collar jobs. There was also a huge mismatch between the required skill set required by the employers and the skills that the Rwandan youths have, and we figured out it would be a good way to partner with IFAD to make agribusiness a more attractive career choice to the Rwandan youths,’’ Dr Korutaro said.

She noted how the pilot project of R-YES kicked off in July 2020 in the middle of the Covid pandemic and as a lead implementer, Kilimo Trust is in close collaboration with different TVETs, IPRCs and various agribusiness industries as centers for training and employment.  

Andrew Gashayija, Team Leader for Kilimo Trust Rwanda re-echoed Dr. Birungi’s remarks and said that the major goal of the R-YES project was to create a total of 3,000 jobs for rural youths (50% being female).

‘’The overall goal of the R-YES project which is funded by IFAD, BMZ and VISA Foundation is to create 3,000 jobs for rural youths with 50% being female, 1,800 being indirect beneficiaries and the project contributing to the remaining number of jobs which is 1,200,’’ he chipped in.  

In order to provide technical skills through experiential learning, Kilimo Trust has been able to partner with technical colleges and R-YES project is currently supporting over 800 youths from 16 out of 30 districts in Rwanda. Two cohorts have been able to receive training through the project so far,’’ he concluded.

So far, the R-YES Project has registered several achievements including having 66 public and private sector partners all linked to R-YES through signed agreements, the creation of an online digital platform to help link job seekers to potential employers most specifically youths that have gone through the program with suitable employment opportunities, having 13 curriculums and 83 modules developed among others.

Mr. Andrew Gashayija giving IFAD Agri-hub overview.
Mr. Aimable Ntukanyagwe of IFAD Rwanda

Aimable Ntukanyagwe, IFAD Rwanda Country Programmer Officer noted the cardinal role Kilimo Trust is doing in helping mold Rwandan youths for the job market in agribusiness.

‘’We are proud of the work that Kilimo Trust is doing. This project was started right in the middle of the pandemic and there were some challenges faced, but Kilimo Trust was still able to start the project which has already proven to be a success even though there are a few minor challenges that can be addressed in the remaining period of the project implementation,’’ he noted.

During a panel discussion on challenges the Rwandan youths are facing in agribusiness and what could be done, the importance of certification was highlighted.

‘’We had an issue of having potential employees that lacked paperwork and this was solved the moment we started hiring youths that had received training in collaboration with Kilimo Trust. This is because we trusted the training they had received as the education institutions are respected issuers of these certificates,’’ said Esther Muthee, Operations Manager at Masaka Creamery Limited highlighted during the panel discussion.



Visits to different stakeholders such as the training center, agri-business industries and youths that are beneficiaries of the R-YES project also gave participants a clear picture of how the IFAD Agri-hub in Rwanda is progressing, what challenges they are facing and what needs to be done to help them achieve their goals in agribusiness.

Progress-wise, it was observed that the youths in all educational facilities partnering with Kilimo Trust are enthusiastic and skilled in the fields they majored in and have shown tremendous progress because they are already producing products that are ready to go to the market.

Skills learnt by youths that went through training are also being implemented by various youths to support their families and themselves.


However, a few challenges were also noticed such as limited time for training, limited access to finances for them to start or implement their projects, lack of interactions with successful entrepreneurs in the field who can act as role models and there is also lack of transport to markets for the youths that are already producing agriculture produce such as carrots and green paper. 

Morgan Singda, Project Coordinator of Jobs Open for the Youth (JOY) Project in Kenya which is a replica of what Kilimo Trust is doing with the R-YES project in Rwanda expressed how he had learned a lot from the Learning and Reflection event.

‘’The JOY program is a replica of what Kilimo Trust is doing here in Rwanda with the R-YES Project, but I am more impressed by how there is gender balance in the short courses that beneficiaries are undertaking. I visited IPRC Musanze and College Fondation Sina Gerard and I was impressed by the number of girls that were undertaking the short courses.” he said. 

He went on to say how he noticed that youth with hearing impairment that have been identified by Kilimo Trust and partners and being trained in milk handling and processing are now getting absorbed into different industries and getting recruited just like any other employees. Among other lessons learnt from Rwanda, these are some he can’t wait to incorporate into the JOY project in Kenya.

While speaking at the closing of the 3-day learning event, BDF CEO, Vincent Munyeshyaka assured Kilimo Trust and its partners how they made the right choice of supporting youth in acquiring technical skills and addressing issues of financial management because the youth need to learn such skills to run a business. 

On the major issue raised by the youths in most educational institutions, he said that BDF has a target to come up with a plan where in 5 years they plan to have at least 52,000 MSMEs ready to access money and start-up businesses through various programs such as one that was in place called EDPRS in partnership with the government which facilitated 1,000,000 jobs by the end of the 5 years.

‘’We understand how serious the issue of lack of access to finance is and BDF Rwanda has a 5-year plan where we shall have money for at least 52,000 MSMEs ready to access money and start-up businesses through different plans,’’ he said. 


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