UNDP program analyst exhibiting our work to minister of Environment, Dr. Vincent Biruta (right) and minister of youth, Ms. Rosemary Mbabazi (left) and the chairperson of Prison Fellowship

Since the end of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Rwanda has played an important role in supporting the Government to achieve its mission of rebuilding a stable, inclusive and economically prosperous country.

On Tuesday, February 12, 2019 UNDP launched a photo exhibition entitled “Empowered Lives” at the University of Rwanda School of Architecture. The exhibition was aimed at celebrating the joint work and achievements of UNDP and its partners in positively impacting the lives of people over the previous five years of its operations in Rwanda.

Member of the diplomatic corps visiting various projects of UNDP at the photo Exhibition

This was UNDP’s very first photo exhibition since it started operating in Rwanda in the 1970s. The exhibition showcased eight projects that were carried out in the previous 5-year programme cycle. One of the projects showcased was the Youth Empowerment Programme, implemented by the Ministry of Youth, and designed to support and encourage Rwandan youth to actively participate in the development of their country. To date, the programme has involved more than 1 million youth in voluntary community service activities, and engaged over 4 million young men and women in positive values and attitudes initiatives. It has also trained hundreds of youth on entrepreneurship and job creation. Commenting on the partnership, the Minister of Youth, Hon. Rosemary Mbabazi, who was at the launch of the event, commended UNDP for the exhibition and its work in the country. “Within the last 5 years we have been working with UNDP, we supported Rwandan youth in various aspects of their development. We have trained youth, provided seed funds to 622 young entrepreneurs, who in turn created 8309 jobs from their businesses,” said Minister Mbabazi in an interview.

The photo exhibition also featured UNDP’s support to civil society organisations, such as Prison Fellowship Rwanda and the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission (NURC), to rebuild social cohesion in Rwanda after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. Projects such as the Green Villages initiative —a programme that relocates citizens from disaster prone areas to areas equipped with sustainable infrastructure—were also included to illustrate UNDP’s efforts to help address environmental conservation and climate change.

At the event, UNDP Resident Representative, Mr. Stephen Rodriques, applauded the partnership between UNDP and the Government of Rwanda to help the country achieve its development goals and the SDGs.

“We have worked with a wide range of partners to achieve all that we have achieved within the past 5 years; and we are proud to have supported the government in driving its development agenda,” said Mr. Rodriques. He thanked UNDP’s partners including the various government institutions, civil society organisations, development agencies and private sector institutions.

Present at the launch were representatives of the government including the Minister of Environment and the Minister of Youth. The event also saw a number of Ambassadors and representatives of the Diplomatic Corps, as well as Private Sector CEOs, members of academia (including the Principal of the College of Science and Technology), leaders of CSOs and the Media. The launch marked the beginning of a month-long exhibition that went from the 12th of February to the 12th of March 2019. The exhibition was open to the public.

On display were 54 photographs that were taken by a talented and passionate photographer, Ms. Alice Kayibanda, who is also the Executive Assistant to the UNDP Resident Representative. As highlighted by the UNDP Resident Representative, “It was great for Alice as a photographer to have this opportunity. It is part of her contribution to UNDP, and it was a great opportunity to have her help us tell our story.” The Resident Representative noted that UNDP’s aim is not only to contribute to the development of the country, but also to empower its own staff, and provide opportunities for them to use their various skills and abilities.

The Photo Exhibition allowed visitors to know UNDP's area of intervention.

Since closing the 2013-2018 country programme cycle, UNDP has embarked on another 5-year journey to reinforce and build on past programmes. In the new cycle, however, special attention will be paid to women and to vulnerable populations such as People with Disabilities as part of the Leave No One Behind agenda. UNDP will continue its support to the country in areas relating to: strengthening democratic governance, enhancing citizen participation and accountability, promoting access to justice, advocating for gender equality in the private sector, empowering youth, supporting the implementation of the SDGs, promoting sustainable environmental management, reducing poverty and inequality, and reducing risks and vulnerability to natural and man-made disasters, among other things.

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