In Nyarugenge district, in the heart of Rwanda’s capital city, Kigali, where unemployment among youth remains a pressing issue, the establishment of Savings and Internal Lending Communities (SILC), the Association des Jeunes De Saint Charles Lwanga (AJECL) presents a promising avenue for economic empowerment. SILC provide a platform for individuals to pool their resources, save money, access credit, and engage in income-generating activities. By strengthening the entrepreneurial and organizational capacities of 12 SILC communities in Nyarugenge, AJECL fosters a supportive environment for unemployed youth to become economically active and pursue their entrepreneurial dreams.

The Nyarugenge District faces significant unemployment challenges, particularly among its youth population. High unemployment rates not only hinder economic growth but also contribute to social unrest and disillusionment among young people. Recognizing the need for sustainable solutions, efforts to strengthen the entrepreneurial and organizational capacities of SILC communities offer a practical and impactful approach to addressing this issue.

Therefore, since the organisation’s inception in October 2004 by Abbe Theogene Iyaremye and a group of young people of the Nyamirambo parish, AJECL has strived towards sustainable socio-economic empowerment of marginalised communities with a primary focus on the youth.

Strengthening Entrepreneurial Capacities

By strengthening the entrepreneurial and organizational capacities of the 12 SILC communities in Nyarugenge, AJECL in cooperation with the Lemonaid & ChariTea Foundation have generated sustainable pathway for unemployed youth to become economically active and self-reliant.

Many young individuals encounter several obstacles that hinder their ability to access formal loans. These challenges include factors such as the absence of collateral, insufficient knowledge about available credit products, a disparity between supply and demand, high costs of credit applications, geographical distance from banking institutions, high interest rates, inadequate understanding of business plan development, low financial literacy, and limited knowledge in project management. In response to these challenges, this project is providing them with the self-help alternative by creating of Internal Lending communities (SILCs) and other self-help initiatives to organise saving and credit among members.

These efforts will not only generate employment opportunities but also foster a culture of innovation, resilience, and collaboration within the communities. The Lemonid foundation will financially support the project till 2025 hoping that as the entrepreneurial ecosystem flourishes, Nyarugenge District can witness positive social and economic transformations, with youth at the forefront of change.

In conclusion, addressing the unemployment challenge among youth in Nyarugenge District requires a comprehensive approach that combines capacity building, access to resources, and a supportive ecosystem. By investing in the entrepreneurial and organizational capacities of SILC communities, AJECL paves the way for unemployed youth to embark on their entrepreneurial journeys, unlock their potential, and contribute to their own socio-economic growth. With sustained efforts and collaboration, communities are empowered, lives are transformed, and a brighter future for the youth in Nyarugenge is built.