This is one of 38 winning blogs in the 2021 Blog4Dev competition, the World Bank of Africa’s annual writing contest, which invites young people to delve into a topic critical to their country’s economic development. Blog4Dev winners answered the question: How can young people work with their governments and civil society organizations to respond to the impact of COVID-19 and build a stronger post-pandemic economic and social system?
While Rwanda could have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, both economically and socially, it is essential to note that the country had a solid basis for managing the crisis. A solid foundation ranging from good leadership to a clear vision, from a focus on innovation to well-functioning institutions, and from the right social protection mechanisms to a reliable data system needed for analysis. of data. Taking advantage of these opportunities and other available resources, such as the technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Rwandan youth can work together with their government and civil society organizations to enable the country to leapfrog the challenges posed by COVID-19.
It provided the impacts of COVID-19 unemployment on young Rwandans, especially those working in labor-intensive sectors outside of agriculture, forestry and fishing,. Through orthodox challenges, young Rwandans can develop an innovative and enterprising mindset to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the pandemic and come together in cooperatives to create new legal sources of income. By putting laid-off workers and micro-entrepreneurs at the center, the Rwandan government can support these young people by providing grants and bonuses to bank credit and other youth initiatives, to start their business careers. In the tourism sector, for example, young Rwandans could implement digital tools such as virtual reality, augmented reality and artificial intelligence to recover foreign gains lost during the pandemic.
In addition, due to the closure of schools in Rwanda to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of teenage pregnancies has increased significantly. Through emotional intelligence, young boys and girls can help solve this problem. With a substantial level of self-knowledge, they will avoid engaging in sexual activities at a young age that do not fit their life plans. Fortunately, with Rwanda’s national reproductive health policy prioritizing adolescent reproductive health, these young girls and boys have a solid foundation for understanding the importance of sexual reproductive health and seek help when needed.
In addition, through volunteering and active participation in campaigns to promote and raise awareness against gender-based violence, for example, young Rwandans can help the vulnerable, such as women, the elderly, the poor and people with disabilities, particularly those affected by COVID. interruptions. Volunteering will ensure continued care for the elderly and people with disabilities while minimizing government spending on paid caregivers.
In addition, through digital innovation, young Rwandans can help SMEs break out of the poverty imposed by the pandemic. For example, they could provide financial services to the informal sector, as the pandemic has forced many SMEs to work under the informal sector, while others are on the verge of losing their jobs, so they have been forced to abandon their systems. of formal insurance. The Rwandan government can assist in policy reforms that support increased efficiency, affordability and expansion of the Internet.
Olexa Heshima is the 2021 winner of Blog4Dev in Rwanda. See the full list of Blog4Dev 2021 winners here, and read their blog posts.