In operation since 2009, the Akazi Kanoze Youth Livelihoods Project officially ends in September. But the effort has been so successful that it has inspired the creation of Akazi Kanoze Access, a brand new organization that will continue the mission of providing workforce skills training to youth.
Eighteen thousand young people have participated in Akazi Kanoze, which is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development. One of them is Fabien Murezeki, a successful grocery store owner. Murezeki also manages commercial property and is now saving money to get what he really wants—a university degree.
Only a few years ago, Murezeki was making a modest living as a farmer. He credits his participation in Akazi Kanoze for giving him the skills he needed to pursue his dreams.
“All I wanted was customer care skills, but I received a far more interesting package [of skills],” he says. “Success is a result of commitment and hard work.”
Akazi Kanoze Access will collaborate with workforce training providers, including technical and vocational schools, to make sure their programs are preparing young people with the skills needed for work. It will also help these programs place young talent with private-sector employers.
“Employers in Rwanda have told us that Akazi Kanoze is exactly what they need and want,” says Tim Haskell, EDC’s technical director for Akazi Kanoze.
Haskell believes Akazi Kanoze Access can become the hub of all workforce development activities in Rwanda.
“Akazi Kanoze established a legacy of graduating people who are qualified and ready to work,” he says. “We are confident that Akazi Kanoze Access will both continue and enhance this brand.”