Youth Spaces

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Team visit to Virunga Valley Academy; photo by Miha Logar

The Gorilla Highlands region — one of stunning beauty and abundance — remains in a shaky security and economic state due to the paradox of personal poverty amidst richness of natural resources, persistent militarisation, mistrust and endemic corruption. Young people of Rwanda, Uganda and DR Congo lack business opportunities and models for effective activism to advance their communities. The right mix of entrepreneurship, conservation, creative activities, sports, practical support, peacebuilding, and movement mobilisation could forge relationships, nourish grassroots solidarity and enhance problem solving.

The future of this region will remain questionable unless people become more confident leaders and advocates in and for their communities. Person-to-person exchange and organising done at scale can make a significant contribution to regional peacebuilding and civic engagement. Given the young average age, we see a chance to envision and co-create home-grown solutions to the various challenges facing the region.

Project Mission Statement

We create physical and virtual spaces in Rwanda, Uganda and DR Congo to connect the youth of these countries and give them practical skills that lead to personal development, civic engagement and regional peacebuilding.

Theory of Change

If we make a conducive and stimulating environment for young people, they will feel more empowered and confident to lead positive changes in their communities. This, coupled with economic development, will boost peace and security in the transboundary region.

Pilot Project Concept

Create a one-year pilot project in Rwanda’s Musanze district offering young people (15-30 years of age) connections, support, solutions to their problems and active exposure to societal issues. It will attract the youth by having an emphasis on entrepreneurship skills and transboundary personal connections but include much more (see Major Elements below). No permanent location is planned during the pilot phase.

The pilot project will mostly target the students of educational institutions around the Karisimbi area of Musanze Town while remaining open to the youth who don’t have access to school.

Major Elements of the Pilot Project

  • partnerships with businesses, organisations and individuals ready to share their space and skills
  • seed funding capital (available to members for conservation/environmental businesses)
  • personal growth sharing meetings and sports gatherings
  • social responsibility program focused on Historically Marginalised People
  • leadership and digital literacy training sessions
  • eco-friendly small business development campaign
  • international friendship camps

Pilot Project Start: January 2023