25 year-old Fidele Gisore has just completed a three month programme volunteering with Challenges Worldwide on the ICS scheme in Kigali, Rwanda.
While on placement, Fidele worked closely with his British counterpart Lawrence to build a business model for a grocery delivery service, Grocewheels. Fresh from university, Fidele said the practical skills he developed while on placement were crucial.
He and Lawrence successfully convinced Grocewheels to present their business case at a social enterprise event in the city, which helped them gain exposure and build confidence.
After his placement, Fidele joined Bright Future Cornerstone, an organisation that offers alternative educational support to volunteers and helps them deliver it to children and young people while developing their leadership, innovation and entrepreneurship skills.
What he liked most about the idea was that it equipped volunteers with skills; supporting them to share that with their communities. It seemed like the perfect way to complete his Action at Home, the final requirement of his ICS placement.
Fidele learnt Scratch; a programming platform that allows you to make stories, games and animations that translate into visuals on screen. He then conducted a workshop at the Remera Catholic School in Kigali. It was also part of a series of events happening all over the continent for Africa Code Week in October 2017.
It was eye-opening, he says, to watch as children start with basic icons before so quickly becoming able to do more. “It makes me so happy to work with young children,” he says “because they will be the future of my country.”
Looking ahead to new opportunities
As result, out of a class of 43 students, 35 of them were able to write code that displayed cartoons on their laptop screen.
“I was happy to see a smile on their faces when they completed their first project in coding. I learnt the importance of social enterprises - that it is making people’s lives better. It inspired me to start one in the future.”
He’s got big plans for his next project.
His initiative, My Green Village Initiative Rwanda, demonstrates to young people the importance of protecting the environment and organises mass tree planting days.
It’s something Fidele has done himself as a teenager while in school, self-organising with his friends and planting trees around the boundary of their school.
When he returned a few years later, the trees had grown and it made him reflect on how powerful a small act had been. “If I could get more people involved then that would make the effect much larger.”
He hopes to continue contributing his skills to social enterprises in the future, “I have to be in charge of my own learning,” he says.
“Sometimes things are difficult,” he says with a laugh “but I will still push myself to do it.”