On March 29th, 2018, the Marriott Hotel offered for its second time a study tour to the USAID Twiyubake program. 15 youth beneficiaries who completed their TVET training and internship in hotel management in Kayonza and Kigali attended the two-hour study tour to help them become familiar with 5 star hotel settings, increase their understanding of hotel operations and be better prepared for future job placements.

Pascal, 25 years, recently completed his internship at the Bellevedere Hotel which gave him insights of general hotel management. In the kitchen, he prepared different dishes especially pastries which drew his main attention in the field of culinary art. The study tour came at the right time as he is currently applying for jobs. It is an opportunity to see the operations of a 5 star hotel and to be exposed to its features. The group members who finished their studies at the Kaant TVET School in Kigali are considering to put themselves together once they have a small capital and start an income generating activity in the field of pastries because the ingredients are cheap and people buy them.

Alexandre Mugabo, Training Officer, started the study tour in front of a drawing of the founder of the Marriott hotel to explain how the hotel started as a family business in gastronomy in 1927 and slowly expanded its business to open 30 years later the first Marriott hotel.

Today the Marriott hotel is a multinational hospitality company operating in 127 countries with more than 6300 hotel and 30 different brands. The hotel puts people first.

The group toured the presidential suite, where the King of Morocco was accommodated during his official visit to Rwanda, the executive suite and junior suite. “Marriott hotel Kigali is an inventive class prioritizing technologies. This is why you see flat-screen TVs everywhere as well as the highest technology features in all the rooms”, explained Solomon K, Concierge.

Alexandre continued to tour the group through the restaurant, the pool space, the garden, terraces, conference room and Spa therapy and fitness center. At the end of the tour, he explained how lucky they are to have completed their studies in a profession which is most in demand. He reminded to not neglect the teachings from the TVET school and informed that in case they would like to apply at the Marriott to remember that attitude counts more than their degree.

In June 2016, USAID Twiyubake through Francois-Xavier Bagnoud Rwanda (FXB) established the Duterimbere youth saving group located in Kanyabaranzi village, Nyagahinga cell, Cyanika sector, Burera district. The program trained the youth saving group, composed of 29 members, on financial education and work readiness.

After one year of saving, the members managed to share out Rwf 2 020 619 Rwf and received a match of 1 147 500 Rwf from the program on their savings. The saving group members invested in individual income generating activities ranging from small animal husbandry, investments in transport, small business enterprises and education.

Pierre, the president of the youth saving group, is satisfied with the group and his own achievements. The youth saving group allowed him to become a university student in law. When he entered into the saving group, he used to sell potatoes at the local market. With the loans he borrowed from the saving group, he invested in a small livestock business und continued with his potato trade. “Although I really love business, I also enrolled into law at university. I also volunteered to be a USAID Twiyubake community based volunteer for Early Childhood Development. In this role, I mobilized parents to bring their children to the program’s ECD centers and supervise 2 ECDs. It is an additional experience which increases my networks and knowledge”, he explained. Josiane is Pierre’s sister and member of the saving group. She was able to take tailoring lessons for three months for which she paid 30, 000 Rwf. After the share out in the saving group, she bought a sewing machine for 80,000 Rwf and started working in a tailoring shop together with two other members of the saving group. The shop is led by an experienced women who mentor them in their daily work. Now, Marceline is earning 50,000 Rwf a month.

Bosco used to carry merchandises at the market. After one year, he bought a bicycle on which he transports his own merchandises which he sold at the market. He is now saving for a motorbike. Paul was an owner of a bicycle and purchased a motorbike for 400 000 Rwf. His next target is to save for a car and driving license.

Three saving group members started a fruitful business. Gloriose, a young mother, who used to cultivate on two small fields harvested recently 500 tons of potato. Thanks to the saving group, she started renting a two hectare land plot, the yield from the potatoes allowed her to buy four shares each week. She then took another loan of 200,000 Rwf and borrowed four hectares land. Her target is to increase her yield to 100 tons of potatoes per season.

Patrick and his wife are both members of the youth saving group. “Before I used to sell potato seeds of a value of 300 000 Rwf at the market at Nyagahinga. In the youth saving group, I took a loan of 200 000 Rwf, and added 500 000 Rwf, which I got from my potato seed business. I left the table at the market and opened a shop. Throughout the year we took small loans to diversify our business. At the share out, we received a total of 245 000 Rwf. Now, we run a potato business of a value of 800 000 Rwf, a shop of a value of 400 000 Rwf and sell mobile money of a value of 500 000 Rwf. We both provide 5 shares each week and our target is to increase our capital to 2 million for the store, 1 million for the shop and 1 million for the mobile money”, concluded Patrick.

“Before I came to the club, I was not obeying my parents, I was difficult. I used to spend my money on drinks. I felt that I could not sit with a girl and talk to her.

Then the community based volunteers (CBV) who is our neighbor invited me to join a youth club. This day, when I joined the club, they had a lesson about drugs. After the session, I went home and felt that it did not touch me. I thought that these people may be crazy. But as the time passed, I attended, I started to like it.

I progressively changed. After receiving good lessons, I felt satisfied, I changed, I started to learn the lessons, and learned to work, socializing, with others, and liking others. I approached my former friends and taught them lessons, three attended the club. I became the president of the youth club.

The best teaching are how to avoid drugs, HIV prevention and STIs, unwanted pregnancies, and love in general, but on top of all, I learned the importance of working and to improve my life economically.

My message to the youth is that we are still at the beginning, we should work together, work with commitment which will lead us to achievements and improve our life.

I thank everybody who had the idea to start the USAID Twiyubake youth club, the one who taught us, the person who made me change and the group members, we are holding together to get where we are."

Emile M. 21 years, President of the Twiyubake youth club in Huye district, Huye sector.

Africa Improved Foods (AIF) Rwanda Limited donated one ton of Nootri Toto and Nootri Mama Porridge flour to the USAID Twiyubake program. The products packed in 50 kg bags were distributed to 20 ECD centers in 12 districts of program implementation at the start of the new school year in January 2018. The 20 ECD centers were selected according to children in most need of nutrition support.

In collaboration with local authorities, USAID Twiyubake established ECD centers in the 12 districts of program implementation. The program selected and trained facilitators and caregivers living in the community who run those centers together with the children’s parents. In addition, it equipped the center with basic materials and encourages parents to make children’s toys from locally available materials.

Early childhood development builds on education, child growth, nutrition and hygiene. The centers which are community owned, operate from Monday to Friday from 8:00 to 11:00 am and prepare children aged 3-5 years for formal schooling. In the parenting group, parents acquire positive parenting skills and organize themselves to take turns in caring for the children.

The ECD Kavumu in Ruhango sector, Rutsiro district, was grateful for the donation “We are so grateful for the donation of Nootri Toto porridge flour. Please convey our gratitude to AIF. The donation is a motivation for us to start providing feeding to children attending the center, “explained Habitegeko Francois, president of the ECD Kavumu.

“As we do not cultivate sorghum in Rutsiro, the only porridge flour we could offer our children is maize flour. We will start collecting and stocking maize cobs from our fields here at the ECD center. We will grind them to make flour, “explained Francois.

“Starting an ECD center is not easy. Before we were trained under USAID Twiyubake Program implemented by Caritas Rwanda in Rutsiro, we faced several challenges. At the beginning, we had not a room and met outside next to the primary school. Eventually, the Catholic Church offered the chapel to host the children, but there was no sanitation facility nearby”, explained the president.

The parents committee is keen on hygiene. After the break, children rowed up in front of the tippy tap to wash their hands. Then they entered the chapel to have the porridge.

“These are our children. They had not a chance to attend early childhood education before Twiyubake. We have been trained to care for them and now have the knowledge to organize ourselves to run an ECD center. Although we are not all motivated the same way, we realized that when few begin to be convinced, other community members will support you. Today we bring our children to the ECD center which was not imaginable one year ago”, explained care giver Florence N.

The ECD is hosting 45 children of which 14 are program beneficiaries. 31 children are living in the community and joined as a result of a strong mobilization on the importance of early childhood development. The children are coming from six neighboring villages which are Kayeve, Muzeyi, Muhingo, Marabuye, Murambe and have to walk up to 4 km to join the center. Caregivers who come from one of the villages bring the children with them when volunteering at the center.

The program is currently establishing home-based ECD sites and playgroups for children to release children from the long distances to walk to reach ECD centers.

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