Canadian Contractor

Robert Koci   

SkillTrain Rwanda: Day 1: Kigali

Canadian Contractor

The week of September 11 to September 15, 2017, publisher Rob Koci is writing a daily blog from Rwanda where he is on a scouting mission to learn how Canadian Contractor readers can help the country improve its trades training.

The brick storage shed being built for St. Joseph Integrated Technical College. The young mason in the foreground is wearing flip flops.

Speaking through a translator to Cassien Gahamanyi, the foreman of the crew building the small brick storage shed behind me.

Our first day began with a meeting with Maria Ramos and Hyacinthe Musaniwabo of the Workforce Development Authority, the government agency charged with developing training for a number of industry sectors including the construction sector, and the leadership of World Vision Rwanda. We wanted to gain a better understanding of the state of trades training today. We dug into the details of programs Rwanda has established to encourage young men and woman to learn building trades. As informative as it was, more interesting was hearing Romos’ personal impression of how well, above all other African countries, Rwanda has succeeded in warding off the three biggest enemies of success in development: corruption, burdensome bureaucracy and crime.

She explained that to establish a small business in Rwanda takes barely a day, real property law is efficient and effective, and crime rates are some of the lowest in Africa. (Comparison: homicide rate in Rwanda was 4.5 per 100,000 in 2016 compared to 35.9 per 100,00 in South Africa for the same year. It ranks 121 on the world homicide-rate list. Canada is 62 and the U.S. is 126)

In the afternoon, I visited my first training centre in the Nyarugenge distict of Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda. The St. Joseph’s Integrated Technical College (JITC) trains over 400 students and employs dozens of trainers. I spent most of my time touring the mason’s training area (pics) and speaking with Cassien Gahamanyiof, mason of 30 years and crew boss of a crew contracted to build a 10′ x 10′ brick building to house the tools and equipment of the trainees. (he is the guy in the blue overalls.)


Quick impressions of the day? First, there is a real need to improve the quality of the materials being used in home construction. Second, though Rwanda has given itself a excellent road map to quality training (more on that later) there is a vast difference between what the curriculum expects and what you see on site.

Tomorrow: ROAD TRIP! We drive 125 km to visit a training centre in Gatsibo




Stories continue below