Training Site: Karambi
Sector and District: Muhazi, Rwamagana
Implementing Partner: Frontiers Adventures Great Lakes
Whether it be in his education, his business, or his life, Olivier Sano Iradukunda, 27, builds himself on the ideals of entrepreneurship and planning. As a trainer for Huguka Dukore Akazi Kanoze (HDAK), he hopes to instill these same ideals into the youth he works with.
Before becoming a trainer, Olivier was a student at the University of Rwanda, where he led the entrepreneurship club for two years, participating in business plan writing and idea competitions. By working with entrepreneurship trainers as part of this club, Olivier himself became interested in the field, and became a trainer for the Akazi Kanoze 2 program after graduation.
After AK2 reached completion, Olivier began training HDAK, and realized the profound impact it had on students. “In HDAK, youth get to discover themselves, know their potential, think of the future they want, and plan how to get there.”
Olivier explained how specifically HDAK is able to equip youth with this ability to plan. “After they begin to discover themselves, we take them through business training sessions in Work Ready Now. Then, we conduct Be Your Own Boss training, which is a package that helps them create a business proposal.”
“In HDAK, youth get to discover themselves, know their potential, think of the future they want, and plan how to get there.”
Youth can then participate in technical training, which helps them in finding a job or starting their own businesses. “In whatever they’re doing, the youth learn to think about their situation and innovate. We are challenging them and helping them see their environment as a profit.”
Though HDAK is focused on helping the trainees become innovators and planners, even the trainer has learned some valuable lessons. “HDAK is changing my life, and I’m benefiting from the financial business skills. I’ve started to think about what businesses I can do myself, and how much I can save for the future. ” Currently, Olivier already has a business of subletting houses, but he is considering starting another agricultural business through his savings that will generate a monthly income.
In fact, Olivier has been incorporating his learnings about innovation and planning into the training itself; when there’s a challenge or a redundancy, he looks for unique ways to overcome them. When student attendance is low, Olivier calls them and reaches out to make sure they are okay, and works with other trainers to host inspirational events with speakers to motivate youth about opportunities. When certain modules of training seem confusing, he adapts his methodology for the youth. When youth with smaller academic backgrounds struggle to cope with concepts, Olivier empowers those with more education to help their fellow trainees “gain knowledge and be motivated.”
“HDAK is changing my life, and I’m benefiting from the financial business skills. I’ve started to think about what businesses I can do myself, and how much I can save for the future. ”
Despite all the efforts Olivier makes so that youth can access work readiness and entrepreneurship training, he is aware that they will face significant challenges in engaging in self-employment. “There are challenges for individuals and for groups. Being in a group removes some of the individual challenges of accessing financial support and growing a customer base, but there are still challenges of working together and trusting each other.”
However, empowered with HDAK training, Olivier believes these youth can overcome these obstacles and become successful. “There is much the youth can achieve with goal setting. In the starting, we help them identify and develop their goals. According to these goals, they go through technical training, and can start businesses. After completion, through our SILC (Saving and Internal Lending Community) groups, youth can learn from each other. Overall, HDAK helps these youth develop skills to become business minded and be successful.”
Olivier is optimistic not only for the youth, but for his own future as well. “I’m still designing my hopes for the future. But what is important is not the income you can generate, but how much someone can save and invest; not how much in terms of amount, but according to what each person has. With me, I hope to start my farm in the future, but of course I will continue training because I like it.”
Along with training youth, in his free time, Olivier enjoys riding bicycles and playing volleyball.