Over 55,000 students gain entrepreneurial skills through ‘Wavumbuzi Challenge’

By ESther Muhozi
On 13 May 2024 at 10:16

Over 55,000 high school students throughout Rwanda have engaged in a program initiated in 2020 to boost their entrepreneurial abilities across different fields. This initiative, known as the ‘Wavumbuzi Entrepreneurship Challenge,’ enrolls students from grades one through six in secondary school and is now celebrating its fourth year anniversary.

The competition aims to nurture the entrepreneurial and innovative skills of students starting from a young age. It lasts for six weeks, during which students face a variety of challenges in which they participate online using computers or smartphones. These tasks help them enhance their understanding of societal and global challenges, prompting them to think of inventive solutions.

Initiated in South Africa in 2019 by the Allan and Gill Gray Philanthropy, the program has been a significant influence in Rwanda’s educational landscape.

At the awards ceremony on Wednesday, May 8, 2024, for the competition’s fourth iteration, Sherry Uwase, the Marketing and Communications Director at Allan & Gill Gray Philanthropies Rwanda (AGGPR), emphasized the significant effects the initiative has had on the educational sector in Rwanda over the past years.

"The primary benefit of these competitions is that they align with modern entrepreneurial education and future educational plans that focus on quality," said Uwase.

"Our goal is for more schools to participate in these competitions, helping us reach our objective of equipping all students with entrepreneurial skills early in their lives and preparing them for the job market."

This year’s competition, held from January 22 to March 6, 2024, presented challenges in fields such as construction, finance, tourism, commerce in Africa, mechatronics, and artificial intelligence (AI).

The competition attracted thousands of students from 900 schools across all districts of the country, with 2,200 teachers aiding and mentoring the participants.

Olive Uwiduhaye, a student at G.S Kareba, won the grand prize, which included a trip to Akagera National Park and training in entrepreneurship.

"I am excited about the training I will receive, as there is much I expect to learn from it. The challenge related to artificial intelligence particularly inspired me to dream of becoming a significant female figure in this region, especially in Rwanda, with diverse knowledge. I also want to advance modern agriculture in my hometown of Nyabihu," said Uwiduhaye.

Parfait Busabizwa, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Youth and Culture, noted the value of such programs for the youth, as they instill a culture of entrepreneurship and nurture future entrepreneurs.

"Teaching them while they are still in school helps them discover their potential and create innovative job opportunities for themselves and their peers early on, fostering a love for it and fine-tuning their projects," stated Busabizwa.

The Rwandan government, along with its partners and various organizations, continuously strives for the advancement of the country’s youth, launching numerous programs aimed at their development.

An example is the competitions organized by the Ministry of Youth and Culture since 2013, which have engaged over 2,000 young entrepreneurs, leading to the creation of 36,000 job opportunities for other youth.

As the fourth edition of the ’Wavumbuzi Entrepreneurship Challenge’ concluded, students, teachers, and educational institutions received various awards, including cash and technological equipment such as computers.

The winners of the awards were very excited.
Over 55,000 students have already participated in these competitions.
Teachers who supported the students were also given awards.
Schools that performed well received appreciation.
Norman Mugisha, the founder of Afri-Farmers Market, gave a talk about his journey while he was still in school.
Winners were recognized for outstanding performances.