The Minister of Youth and ICT and UNDP officially launched the YouthConnekt Hangout on Tuesday 27th, 2014 at Think, a new ICT incubator facility in Kigali of Tigo Rwanda.
YouthConnekt Hangout is a platform that brings together various partners including UNDP, ADMA, Tigo Rwanda, Zilencio Creativo and HeHe Ltd to connect Rwandan youth to resources and opportunities for employment and business development. The idea of YouthConnekt won the first prize in the innovation competition of the Regional Bureau for Africa in December 2013 in Johannesburg.
According to Jean- Philbert Nsengimana, Minister of Youth and ICT, YouthConnekt Hangout is a way of interacting with and listening to youth. He pointed out that every session gives new opportunity to youth as it links people seeking jobs with different entrepreneurs, presents an opportunity to express innovation and new ideas and unlock potential in the area of ICT. “Hangout is like a market of opportunities, as it gathers many bright minds together,” he said.
For Nsengimana, the initiative is part of finding solutions to youth unemployment whereas young Rwandans say there are many obstacles to finding a job. “What you consider as obstacle, hides opportunity,” the Minister remarked, calling youth to challenge themselves by working.
At the official launch of YouthConnekt Hangout, young innovators were awarded through the UNDP/Motorola powered “YouthConnekt Mobile Apps 4 Human Development Challenge,” which encourages youth participation in innovation and apps development and promotes job creation and youth empowerment through mobile technologies. The new website of Youth Connekt was also unveiled.
The four winning ICT projects, selected among 115 applications, shared $25,000.
Robert Niyonagira, representative of the the overall winner Line Apps ltd., was awarded $10,000 for their project Line Money Application, a smart phone app enabling people to easily transfer cash, or selling and buying CashPower (electricity) among other services.
He said that the YouthConnekt Hangout helped him boost the project by buying materials to improve his services.
The program also coincided with the launch of the National Employment Program and the One UN Youth and Women Employment flagship program.
The UN Resident Coordinator, Mr. Lamin M. Manneh urged young people to take initiative, and commended the Rwandan government for its commitment to youth challenges. “Under good leadership, the sky is the limit,” he said.