Creating gainful employment and self-employment through quality Vocational Education and Training (VET), and labour market insertion for young men and women has always been the end goal of PROMOST (Promoting Market Oriented Skills Training and Employment Creation in the Great Lakes Region), a project funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Coo-peration (SDC) and implemented by Swisscontact in Rwanda, Burundi and DR Congo.
The PROMOST project aims at supporting the Government of Rwanda’s efforts to improve access, quality, and relevance of the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) system, through a piloted dual training programme, and the labour market integration of TVET graduates. In addition to technical training, PROMOST supports entrepreneurship, mentoring, and coaching opportunities to the TVET trainees to ensure employment and self-employment after graduation and certification.
Though the TVET graduates are equipped with the right entrepreneurial skills through mentoring and coaching of well-trained Business Development Advisors, the lack of capital to start their own micro-enterprises after graduation and the hardship to accessing bank loans without collateral remains a significant barrier to them. Swisscontact approached different Micro Finances Institutions (MFIs) in the western province of Rwanda, and together with its partners, developed a saving product that reflects the needs of the graduates and can help them start raising their future business capital while in school.
Igiceri Program – igiceri standing for a coin – is a product elaborated by PROMOST and its partnering MFIs to help TVET graduates, and secondary school students open saving accounts where they can deposit at least one coin of 100 RWF on a regular basis. With this programme, the MFIs will be working with the schools that are nearby, to make it easier for the trainees to use their accounts, hence, smoothen their saving operations. To achieve that, the schools and the MFIs established a working system that will facilitate the trainees to save when in schools, without having to move to the MFI, through an elected saving committee made of MFI staff and schools trainers within schools.
The week of 30th January – 3rd February 2023 marked the launch of the Igiceri saving programmein the six Technical Secondary Schools previously built by the project. The programme allows trainees to start raising their working capital, which might come from either their savings or from the MFI loans’ services that will be offered to them right after their graduation and without a collateral. In addition to that, once a trainee reaches 50’000 RWF (CHF 43) of savings, a monthly interest of 0.5% will be added, by the MFIs which will also help boost their savings. To facilitate this initiative, no fees will be charged to this account either for opening it or holding it.
Immediately after the launch of the saving programme, more than 50% of TVET trainees were able to open their saving accounts, and the number keeps increasing remarkably. The trainees were very happy and excited about the programme as they now know for sure their dream of starting micro-enterprises after graduation is attainable.