In Kigali, Rwanda, jobs are difficult to find and University is expensive. Like many of their peers out of secondary school, Clementine Tuyisenge and Francine Muhimpundu had very little to do but sit at home. That is, until they found the Akazi Kanoze program. Akazi Kanoze: Youth Livelihoods Project, a four year project funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by Education Development Center, provides Rwandan youth with market-relevant life skills, work readiness training, hands-on training opportunities, as well as links into the employment and self-employment job market.
Akazi Kanoze helped Francine and Clementine obtain skills in time management, conflict management, customer service, decision making, problem solving and multitasking. Says Francine, “Before Akazi Kanoze, I was not able to handle many people, but now I am able to handle many customers and responsibilities at the same time”.
With Akazi Kanoze Work Readiness Training and coaching support, both Francine and Clementine were able to find internship placements at Reco-Rwasco Electricity Company. Francine works in the accounting office and hopes to take on more responsibility in the future. Francine believes that this internship has complemented her secondary schooling and added value to her education through hands-on skills in the workplace, and she hopes that it will lead to full-time employment with Reco-Rwasco. Francine also hopes to earn enough to attend University and study management.
Clementine has been doing data entry at her internship but will move into the accounting office after one month. Although it is unpaid and Clementine has to travel a far distance to get to work every day, she views her internship as a valuable opportunity. She comes every day and stays all day. Clementine believes that the experience has given her added value in life and work and like Francine, Clementine would also like to attend University to study management.
Clementine and Francine feel that their lives have changed for the better because of the Akazi Kanoze training they received. Both young women have experienced personal growth while gaining practical skills in the workplace. Although they find it difficult to work in an unpaid internship, they are thankful for the experience, and for the training they obtained from Akazi Kanoze.