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Youth urged to pay attention to what they feed their minds

While addressing the first cohort of Young Impact Associates (YIA) graduates, Dr. Jean Paul(JP) Nzabonimpa: the Head of the Regional Evaluation Unit, World Food Program (WFP), South Africa urged the graduates to pay attention to what they feed their minds with in order to be successful.

The Young Impact Associate (YIA) training program is a program of Vanguard Economics work as an Impact Partner Organization (IPO) for The Mastercard Foundation in Rwanda. The program aims to empower young Africans with the skills necessary for a successful career in the field of Monitoring, Evaluation & Learning (MEL).

Dr. Nzabonimpa made the remarks on 29th, September, 2023 during the YIA inaugural graduation held at Marriott Hotel in Kigali. “The biggest obstacle of young people is themselves.

Dr. Nzabonimpa urges the youth to pay attention to what they feed their minds

Our minds can either elevate us or pull us down. Pay attention to what you feed your mind with; what you read, what you eat, what you drink, and the company you keep, because it is either going to make you or break you”, he stressed.

Adding that “challenges are fertile ground for innovation and growth”, the teacher, mentor, trainer, researcher, and evaluator told the graduates that; “you are unique, an offspring of a new outlook and pillars of a new dawn for evaluation and evidence sector, provided you do not get destructed on this journey you have embarked on”.

Dr. Nzabonimpa further acknowledged Rwanda’s success in empowering youth and women and called up other nations and leaders to listen to the youths as they have got aspirations, and dreams that are different from theirs.

“If we want to help young people, let’s listen to them; they have got aspirations, they have got dreams, which are different from ours. Young people are knowledge keepers more than the protagonists around them”, he remarked.

“As MasterCard, we like to involve young people. This initiative is a special program which is designed to engage and inspire a new dynamic generation of young women and men to contribute to knowledge in improving African monitoring, evaluation, and learning practice”, David Rurangirwa the Acting Country Director of the Mastercard Foundation in Rwanda.

David Rurangirwa, Acting Country Director at the Mastercard Foundation says young people have to be empowered in order to succeed

According to Antonio Capillo, Director of Innovation and Impact Labs Mastercard Foundation, the YIA journey started as a vision of the late Dr. Sulley Gariba with an intent to elevate the transformative part of young people.

Speaking to the graduates, Antonio urged the ‘associates’ to make an impact not only in Rwanda but on a global level. “This graduation is not an endpoint, but rather the beginning of the leadership journey; you’re embarking on a lifelong mission to drive the transformation of the impact practice and the development sector scale in Rwanda, in Africa, and on a global scale”, he said.
On the other hand, Madds Knudsen: the co-founder and Director, of Vanguard Economics shared two success facts with the graduates.

He encouraged them to understand where they were going, and what they were doing.
“To shape your own destiny, you need to also be able to understand the path you’re walking, you need to understand where you’re going, where to get the results you want to achieve”, he explained.

The one-year study program is aimed at training Young Impact Associates “that will shape the MEL debate and promote a practice that places the communities it intends to serve at the center through its work and in alignment with the foundation’s goal to enhance access to dignified and fulfilling work for 30million young women and men in Africa and 300,000 in Rwanda by 2030.

With presence in Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, and Rwanda, the program is built on five core values which include; Constant learning, Everybody is a leader, Humans first, Integrity, and Excellence

So far, 57 young men and women have completed the YIA program, with 11 of them from Rwanda among which 6 are fully employed by Vanguard Economics. According to Rurangirwa, these graduates have acquired skills such as leadership, development, and on-the-job experience, in addition to Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning (MEL) practice.

The Young Impact Associate (YIA) aims to empower young Africans with the skills necessary for a successful career in the field of Monitoring, Evaluation & Learning (MEL)

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