Category Archives: Rwanda Youth

Butaro Cancer Centre opens new wing

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Health Minister Agnes Binagwaho is joined by Dr Paul Farmer, one of the founding directors of Partners in Health (2R) and Bill and Joyce Cummings (Friends of Rwanda), as well as Burera Mayor Samuel Sembagare (L) to commission the Butaro Ambulatory Cancer Centre on Tuesday. The New Times/Irene Nayebare

Butaro Cancer Centre has opened a new wing to address the increasing demand for medical services at the facility.

The new facility, a brainchild of joint efforts between government and Partners in Health, among other stakeholders, has been named the Butaro Ambulatory Cancer Centre (BACC).

BACC has been constructed to supplement the centre that has taken on more than 1,000 new patients on its oncology programme during its one-year existence.

Addressing officials who graced the opening of the centre, Dr Paul Farmer, a co-founder of Partners in Health, said the only way to reduce cancer deaths is to integrate prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

The Butaro District-based centre is the first to be established in a rural area across East Africa, and according to officials, some of the patients who have been treated there are from other EAC countries.

“Eighty-four per cent of cancer falls more heavily on the poor, especially in low and middle income countries,” Dr Farmer said, defending the decision to set up the facility upcountry.

The Minister for Health, Dr Agnes Binagwaho, said Rwanda has a plan of having a medical campus at Butaro.

“We avail services to our people and that’s what we are supposed to do but the people also have a task: to use the services given to them; for cancer screening, it’s free of charge,” Dr Binagwaho said.

Saved by cancer centre

Delphine Musabeyezu, a 39-year-old cancer survivor from Rusizi District, said she is grateful to be alive and for having completed her chemotherapy treatment.

“I am grateful to have received my treatment at Butaro Cancer Centre. I encourage other women to opt for early detection as it is the best way treatment can have desired outcome,” Musabeyezu said.

The new centre will have outpatient clinic for oncology consultations for new and existing patients, modern chemotherapy mixing facility for both inpatient oncology unit and outpatient, patient support groups and outpatient IV chemotherapy, among other services.

The cancer ward, a 24-bed facility, regularly has more than 100 per cent bed occupancy.

Observers say the establishment of BACC comes in handy to help ease pressure on the facility.

BACC will decongest the cancer ward and restrict hospitalisation to those patients who require complex or more than one day IV chemotherapy infusions or those who are severely ill.

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Rwanda to benefit with a state of the art sports Academy

StarAfrica

Copyright : StarAfrica

 

A Turkish construction firm-Babil Group of Companies, is set to start a football academy in Rwanda.

The Academy is meant to  help nurture a generation of talented players. According to Mustafa Cem, who is  the company’s head of international development, he wants to  nurture a young and exciting generation of football stars, who have the right exposure to the soccer world . “Because of my love and passion for the game,he added, I have decided to set up an academy because I don’t want  to see the  youth being idle. By setting such an Academy, would make a huge impact as far as development of Rwandan football is concerned.”

He said his main desire  is  to see Rwandan players among top cream on the African continent adding that he believes Rwanda is capable of producing top-level footballers.

He added that their target is to play a part in the development of Rwandan football and sports in general.

Recently, Babil Group of Companies and Rwanda Football Federation reached an agreement to sponsor the inaugural Super Cup.

The inaugural Super Cup match will pit Primus league champions Rayon Sports and Peace Cup winners AS Kigali on September 1 at Amahoro national stadium in Kigali.

Meet the Faces Behind Rwanda’s Flourishing Women Cricket

IT started like any other day. Maina woke up and headed to class. The then senior four student concluded the day with a jog at the school’s play ground. As she went through the drills, she was summoned by the school cricket coach to join the rest of the team. Efforts to explain her self that she had never held a bat or played cricket fell on deaf ears.

“I was exercising in the school field; the girl’s cricket team coach mistook me for a cricket player. He called me to join the team, when I tried to explain to him that I was not a player he insisted and that is how I became a cricketer,” Mary Maina narrates.

This is how one of Rwanda’s best female cricketers ended up building a passionate bond with the game of cricket. Mary Maina represents the cream of female cricketers who hold the future of women cricket in Rwanda.

With the upcoming ‘UAE Exchange Money Express’ Women Cricket Tournament, it will be yet another opportunity for the female cricketers to showcase talent. Women Today’s Doreen Umutesi talked to Maina, who plays for the ‘White Clouds Cricket Club’ and Cathia Uwamahoro, a member of Charity Club, to talk about the sport, how it has gained popularity in Rwanda, their inspirations and the challenges they have faced.

Mary Maina:

Born on September 17, 1992 in Kenya, Maina started playing cricket in 2010 while at APRED Ndera Secondary School.

She says she has strong love for the sport. “I treasure this game and always reflect on the circumstances under which I joined the sport. I actually trained for three days with the school team and was instantly picked to be the captain of the team during the inter-schools competition. I encountered several challenges because I started playing the sport without knowing all the rules of the game. In other words, I learnt most of the rules of the game in the field during the inter-schools tournament.”

She says that at first she was also scared of the cricket ball given the fact that it’s very hard.

“I didn’t even know the history of the game as the captain of the team but it’s the cricket ball that always freaked me out. I always thought that if it hit me, it would cause great injury and it’s funny because in a few moments it hit me but I got minor injuries and that didn’t make me quit the sport,” Maina reveals.

She adds that being part of the U19 National Team that represented the country in Tanzania in 2011 inspired her into embracing the sport even more.

“I was happy about the trip and the game and I got to learn a lot from the 2011 tournament. But I am grateful to the local companies that have empowered us and introduced local tournaments for the women cricketers. This has greatly improved our skills in the sport,” Maina acknowledges.

Besides the inter-schools competitions that are held annually, the first female tournament was held in February 2013 under the name VR Naidu because it was sponsored by an Indian family known as Naidu. The White Clouds Club are the defending champions.

In September 2013, Maina is enrolling at the National University of Rwanda to pursue a Bachelor’s course in Pharmacy.

“As a child I always wanted to be a doctor to closely work with people and impact on their lives. Although I’m not going to offer medicine, I will ably serve people as a pharmacist. I will also continue playing cricket at university. I would also wish to encourage more girls to join cricket. It’s a gentle game and it’s the only game in sports where your opponent is your friend, even though you’re competing. Respect is encouraged all the time,” Maina reveals.

She continues, “The girls should not be scared of the bat because it is made of hard wood or that the ball is hard too. Cricket is very exciting.”

Currently there are about ten schools in Rwanda that have fully established the female cricket teams and six of these schools are based in Kigali.

Cathia Uwamahoro:

Uwamahoro was also introduced to the sport in 2008 at the age of fifteen.

“I used to watch cricket on television and I didn’t understand what it was but one day I got to see people training at our school in Gikondo and I sat down and watched. I did this often and one day the coach asked me if I wanted to join and I accepted although I was a basketball player at the time,” Uwamahoro narrates.

She adds that she quit basketball to play cricket.

“Because of the love I gradually attained for cricket, I learnt the rules of the game pretty fast and I was able to play for the U19 National Team in Kenya in 2008. I was also able to play in 2010 and 2011 in Tanzania and I learnt a lot and gained more skills in all these region tournaments,” Uwamahoro explains.

She adds, “At first I didn’t like fielding because I was afraid of the ball hitting me but with time, I over came my fears and I can now field, bat and ball because it’s required as a team player.”

She reveals that her favourite local player is Andre Kayitera and internationally, she is inspired by the cricket legend Brian Lala.

Charles Haba, the President of the Rwanda Cricket Association, says that in Rwanda, cricket was first embraced in December 1999.

“We aggressively embarked on training female cricket players in 2006 and several women development programmes in the sport were embraced. We have taken on these programmes mainly through schools but also additionally we have started a women’s league. There are not many countries that have a structured women’s league,” Haba reveals.

Rwanda Cricket Association, the official cricket governing body in Rwanda, is a representative at the International Cricket Council and is an affiliate member. It attained its membership in 2003.

“Something else that is a bit unique is that every tournament that we have held, we have played a double-header for the girls. Basically what it means is that parallel to the boys competition, we have the women’s tournament and that applies even when we are going to seek sponsorship or during corporate events. This has had a positive impact on the women cricket teams.”

He adds that before, girls would go for the regional cricket women competitions and play well but as a result of lack of exposure, lose to different teams.

“Our biggest challenge is the lack of facilities because we have one main ground therefore we have to use it for both the women and men’s tournaments. The other challenges are not really big and we are happy that the girls love cricket,” Haba discloses.

He continues, “There is need to encourage women and girls to embrace cricket. Something I have learnt in cricket is that girls are not as demanding as the boys, yet the levels of output and levels of success come out quicker than the boys. I will give you practical examples of the fantastic experiences we have encountered with the girls. The boys tend to ask for so much because they are so hungry for overnight success and want to be professionals in the shortest time but the girls will just want to pick up the bat and the ball to go and play. They are always happy to wait for their opportunity to play, without letting the little challenges affect them.”

There are currently four established women cricket teams/clubs in Rwanda; Queens of Victory, Kigali Angels, Charity and White Clouds.

Eric Hirwa, the Cricket Female National Team coach, says that in the earlier days, the girls’ main challenge was their parents granting them permission to play cricket. But that is gradually changing.

“With the development of the sport and the popularity it has gained, we now encounter a few situations or no situations at all where a parent has refused a player to come for training. When the girls master the game, after a few months they make it a point to come for regular training. However transport from their home to the training grounds is the main challenge they currently face,” Hirwa explains.

He encourages parents to let their girls come for training since it helps them improve their skills.

“We currently have about 30-60 girls that can actually attend regional competitions. They are about 15-20 years old and most of them are students. It’s also amazing how the girls learn the game so fast and become very passionate about it. It’s always important for someone to first love the game to actually perfect their skills in the sport,” Hirwa reveals.

According to Hirwa, female cricket teams train every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at 3pm in Kicukiro.

US HAILS RWANDA FOR DOUBLE LIFE EXPECTANCY, LOW MATERNAL MORTALITY

The United States has praised the government of Rwanda for its tremendous strides in improving the lives of Rwandans by increasing the rate of life expectancy for its citizens and reducing the maternal mortality.

William J. Burns,

Speaking at the Africa Health Forum in Washington DC on Friday, the US Deputy Secretary of State William J. Burns said that the country is on track to meet many of the Millenium Development goals despite challenges the country faced after the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi.

In his key note address, the Deputy Secretary of state said that: “Rwanda, a country devastated by genocide less than two decades ago, is today on track to meet many of the Millennium Development Goals – life expectancy has doubled, maternal mortality and annual child deaths more than halved, and deaths from HIV, TB, and malaria have dropped by 80percent.”

The US diplomat went on to thank the current African leadership for the dramatic transformation of the continent.

“We gather here today amidst a dramatic transformation of the African continent from a region once defined largely by its problems, to a region defined increasingly by its possibilities… from a region afflicted by conflict, crisis, and impoverishment to a region known more and more for its economic growth, expanding democratic governance, and enhanced health and human development,” said William J. Burns.

He emphasized that as the continent evolves, and as governments take on greater leadership and responsibility for their own future, the nature of assistance and cooperation from the international community should evolve as well – from a donor-recipient relationship to more of a partnership.

“This partnership – based on principles of country ownership, shared responsibility, and mutual respect – allows donors and partner countries to better meet the needs of the country’s population. Where transparency, good governance, and accountability are enshrined in law and in practice – our joint investments will yield more effective, more efficient, and ultimately more sustainable outcomes.

This is why sustainability and shared responsibility are two foundational principles of President Obama’s Policy Directive on Global Development and our global health diplomacy strategy.”

The US Deputy secretary of State told delegates that United States commitment to global health is strong, citing President Obama’s budget request for a $1.65 billion contribution to the Global Fund in fiscal year 2014 as US’s historically high level of support.

The Forum was attended by Ministers and representatives of Ministries of Finance and Health over two dozen African countries.

Rwanda is globally hailed for presenting a unique case in development and in the progress towards attaining the MDGs.

 

Microsoft 4afrika Initiative Launches Its Activities in Rwanda

Kigali — Today, Microsoft launched its 4Afrika initiative in Rwanda. The continental initiative was set up by Microsoft to actively engage in Africa’s economic development to improve its global competitiveness.

According to Microsoft, the goal of the 4Afrika initiative in Rwanda is to disseminate affordable smart devices built specifically for Africa which will encourage application development by Africans for Africans.

The initiative will also run an education platform aimed to develop technical and entrepreneurship skills as a means to improve employability especially for young people.

According to Patrick Nyirishema, Head of ICT Department in Rwanda Development Board, the Government of Rwanda has identified two lead programs for possible collaboration with Microsoft within the 4Afrika initiative.

There is Viziyo program which is designed to increase citizen-access to smart phones and the Smart Village program built on the concept of replicating digitised model villages across the nation as a means to achieve Rwanda’s goal to become an ICT driven economy.

Speaking at the launch of this initiative, the Minister of Youth and ICT, Jean Philbert Nsengimana indicated that tremendous opportunities abound in Rwanda’s ICT industry.

“Technology is now becoming a driving force behind numerous aspects of national development and we cannot afford to be left behind. I believe a lot can be achieved through collaboration, consultation, and smart private-public partnership.

We welcome Microsoft’s 4Afrika initiative and we know that they are committed to developing innovative ways using the power of technology to help transform social and economic progress in Rwanda,” he concluded.

Rwanda: Awareness Campaign Lowers New HIV Infections

Several HIV/AIDS awareness campaigns by the government and other stakeholders have recorded significant improvement in the reduction of new HIV infections in the country.

Dr Sabin Nsanzimana, the Coordinator of HIV and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) Care and Treatment Department at Rwanda Biomedical Centre, who disclosed this at a meeting in Kigali on Wednesday, said the campaigns have been effective that the rate of new infections has gone down compared to the previous years meaning that more Rwandans are aware of the dangers of HIV/Aids.

“The rate of new infections was at 25,000 people every year in Rwanda five years ago, but now it has gone down. We have laid a number of strategies to increase awareness and other protective measures against new HIV infections so we are positive that this rate will go down further,” Dr Nsanzimana said. Every hour, two people get infected with HIV in Rwanda, according to Dr Nsanzimana. This is equivalent to 15,000 new HIV Infections every year, according to the doctor, who called upon those already infected to adhere to the instructions of their anti-retroviral treatment.

Functional HIV cure:

An infant was reportedly cured of HIV as announced recently at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Atlanta, while French researchers published in the journal PLOS Pathogens that they had been studying 14 people that have been “functionally cured” of HIV.

But Professor Andrew Zolopa, from Stanford University School of Medicine, said those people who got cured had started on their ARVs at least a month after infection and so they started treatment early enough.

Places to Visit in Kigali City

How well do you know your capital city? Even some of you who were born here have not discovered many of Kigali’s jewels. The Society Magazine team has done the hard work for you and it presents to you the best places to visit Kigali.

Home of art: Ishyo Art Centre and Goethe Institut, Kacyiru:

This is a platform for all artists, arts lovers, culture professionals, activists, critics, entrepreneurs and everyone else who is passionate or just curious about traditional and/or contemporary modes of artistic expression.

Ishyo also hosts different events related to fashion, plays, music and different other aspects of culture. It usually hosts experts from different countries to train and work with Rwanda artists, encouraging cultural diversity and improving skills. It is also home to the Goethe Institut – well known for its movie night every Tuesday evening. You will find a lot more than movies as it also organises brainstorm debates every last Thursday of the month.

Kigali’s skyscraper: Kigali City Tower:

Kigali City Tower is located in the city centre. This blue, curvy building with a protruding stick like part of it at the top can’t be missed as it is our only real sky scraper. It is the tallest building in the country with 18 storeys of well designed architect and beauty.

From the outer look it may not look that big but when you enter, it might take you all day just to see everything in it, ranging from supermarkets, offices, restaurants, boutiques, gadget shops, radio stations and do you know what else? Rwanda’s new 5D cinema is also there.

Mamba Club, Rwanda’s only bowling alley:

There is no way you can classify Kigali City treasures and not mention Mamba Club. It’s located in Kimihurura in front of Top Security headquarters. It is a bar and restaurant and even has several health fitness facilities ranging from a swimming pool, a hot yoga facility and it is Rwanda’s only bowling alley.

Besides the bowling alley and comfortable lounge, there is an area with sand to play beach volleyball. In other words you don’t need to go to Gisenyi to enjoy beach volleyball. Bowling is an American game that is enjoyed by both children and adults. It’s relaxing and fun especially if there are two teams competing.

It is a wonderful place for people of all age groups. For example during birthday parties for children, bouncing castles are set up for the children to have fun.

Kigali Public Library:

Like a diamond that has many facets, Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda has many faces. For those who prefer the literary one, I am sure you cannot leave without visiting the Kigali Public Library.

Located in Kacyiru opposite the American Embassy, the standard fare from everywhere is 200 Rwandan Francs, except of course for those who live in Kacyiru. The building stands proud and majestic facing the sun and proving the UNICEF report that almost seventy five percent of Rwandans are literate.

The library has several sections including children and teenagers and adult sections which all have several collections and reading areas.

The building also has an African section that includes history and literature, an internet café which enables the readers to have access to the Library and a reference section.

Genocide Memorial Gisozi : We Remember:

Most people around the world know our small country as the home of one of the most atrocious massacres that have ever been carried out between brother tribes. The 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi left over a million dead and many others wounded. With this background, one cannot expect to come to Kigali and leave without visiting the Kigali Genocide Memorial.

Located on one of Kigali’s hills, the memorial tells the story of what happened in very few words but many pictures and videos Beautifully decorated, the centre stands on the site of 250,000 mass graves. The centre is a must visit if one is to learn the root of Rwandan persistence and optimism.

The oldest buliding: Kandt House:

The museum is dedicated to Dr. Richard Kandt, a German doctor and explorer who embarked on the exploration of Rwanda in 1897, searching for the source of the Nile River.

The Nature History Museum aims at examining the richness of Rwandan nature. This museum showcases many specimen and replicas of natural wonders of the country.

As the only national museum in Kigali, do not dare attempt to leave Kigali without visiting it at least once.

kLab: Where ICT came to life:

For a country that is striking a fine balance between technology, business, innovation and preparing the next generation of IT leaders in Africa is what kLab does. kLab, a community of technology wizards and entrepreneurs is one of the spaces that play an important role in growing and supporting the Rwandan ICT entrepreneurs community. By transiting at kLab, techpreneurs are coming up with viable ICT solutions, being able to sell them and earn a living out of it.

But this space isn’t only for experts, it also has different programs of mentorship, capacity building, networking events and inspirational talks. So let your inner nerd come out!

“Rwanda, our beautiful and dear country / Adorned of hills, lakes and volcanoes / Motherland, would be always filled of happiness…”

Rwanda; The Search for Local Tourists

Despite being an ideal tourist destination, many Rwandans have continued to ignore the beauty of their country while foreigners remain the best story tellers of the country’s beauty and wonders.

When Joe McDonald and Mary Ann, an American couple landed in Rwanda in 2003 for the first time, their main destination was the home to the rare mountain gorillas, the Volcanoes National Park.

On January 5, they celebrated their 75th visit to the gorillas.

“We decided to come very often and our 75th visit is not the last. We will keep coming until we reach hundred times and more,” Mary Ann disclosed adding that every year they make up to three visits to the country and five rounds in the park.

The couple has spent around US$ 1m in the visits with the friends they brought on board.

“There is no other place in the world where you can be so close to large wild animals and be safe,” McDonald told The New Times shortly after completing their record breaking visit on January 5.

Officials in the tourism department in the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) say they have never registered such a record from any Rwandan. Not even for ‘smaller’ wonderful packages such as the canopy walk in Nyungwe and the game safari in Akagera that are sold by various tour operators.

But although the number of tourists in general increased from 18,865 in 2009 to 27,000 tourists in 2011, according to statistics from RDB, Rwandans always lag behind their foreign counterparts in visiting parks, except in the Akagera National Park where about 10,362 Rwandans were registered to have visited the park, compared to 8,649 foreign tourists, in 2011.

There are also fewer Rwandans visiting the six museums and 80 historical sites in the country.

Statistics from the Institute of National Museums of Rwanda (IMNR) indicate that by June 2012, of the 151,000 visitors to the six museums, 100,666 were Rwandans, an insignificant number considering their target is 600,000 local and foreign visitors.

Despite a steady increase in the number of park activities bought by Rwandans – 10,263 and 13,172 in 2010 and 2011- RDB believes they are still very few.

The explanations offered by Rwandans for not visiting the various tourist sites are diverse, including the most common one that prices are very high.

Most people The New Times talked to said they visit some of these sites only when the companies or institutions they work for plan to visit the parks, usually once a year. Otherwise, a family can barely plan a visit to a tourist site.

According to Innocent Bahati, a civil society activist, many costs involved such as transport, entry fees, picnic and sometimes accommodation make visiting tourist sites expensive.

“I feel that Rwandans, like most Africans, would rather visit places outside their own country,” observed Darla Rudakubana who visited Rubavu Beach once, adding that she has only started thinking of Rwanda as a tourist attraction recently.

To visit a park, a Rwandan resident pays about Rwf 5,000 and Rwf 30,000 against US$ 60 and US$750 for foreigners in Nyungwe National Park and Volcano National Park respectively.

In museums, the entry fee for locals is Rwf 1,000 against Rwf 6,000 for foreigners. Unfortunately, there is no fee set for the historical sites, regrets Alphonse B. Umulisa, the Director General of IMNR in charge of cultural tourism. And yet, most Rwandans don’t visit these either.

But Rica Rwigamba, the Director General of tourism and conservation at RDB, says the issue of price is an excuse because someone can spend much more on a night out with friends and family.

“We are conscious to make it accessible for Rwandans when it comes to price so I don’t think it is the impediment. More awareness, education and change of culture that tourism is for foreigners is what is needed. That’s our priority and we trust it will improve further and bring more local tourists.”

Working with schools for study trips and marketing destinations are some of measures that Rwigamba thinks will increase the number of local tourists.

Her views were echoed by Paulline Uwera who works with a telecom company in Kigali.

“The only problem we are facing here is the mindset. People think tourism belongs to the wealthy that have time to waste and money to spend,” she says. This should be the case. Rwandans need to be proud of Rwanda. And what better way than to know the country’s most beautiful and historical sites.

SOME OF RWANDA’S ATTRACTIONS

Lakes/beach

*Lake Kivu

*Lake Muhazi

Parks

*Volcano

*Akagera

*Nyungwe

Memorial sites

*Gisozi Genocide Memorial site

*Murambi Genocide Memorial site

Museums

*Rukari Kings Palace

*Huye Ethnographic Museum

*Presidential Palace

*Natural History Museum

*Art Museum

Team Rwanda Starts Preps for Amiss Bongo Tour

Team Rwanda has started preparations ahead of the 2013 La Tropicale Amissa Bongo international cycling tour scheduled for January 14-20 in Gabon.

According to the national cycling federation Permanent Secretary, Emmanuel Murenzi the six-man team entered residential camp in Musanze last week.

The team includes; Nathan Byukusenge, 33, Hassan Rukundo, 23, Bonaventure Uwizeyimana, 20, Jean Bosco Nsengiyumva, 20, Valens Ndayisenga, 19, and Jérémie Karegeya, 20.

“We have changed strategy and decided to give the young riders a chance to compete in big competitions. I believe the team will be competitive in the tournament.

It’s a very tough competition as it attracts the best riders on the continent and beyond but we hope our team will do better this time round,” said Murenzi.

Team captain Byukusenge is the most senior rider on the team.

This year’s La Tropicale Amissa Bongo competition will bring together 15 teams, including nine African countries; Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Kenya, Morocco and Rwanda.

Professional teams Europcar (France), Cofidis (France), Lampre-Merida (Italy), Lotto-Belisol (Belgium), Groupement Sportif Oil (Algeria) and Adrien Niyonshuti’s MTN-Qhubeka (South Africa) will take part.

Last year, Team Rwanda finished on 7th position out of 15 teams and secured 3rd position in Africa countries behind Eritrea and Morocco.