Cultural Immersion Opportunities

Umuganda – loosely translated to mean a joint community service day, Umuganda is a voluntary gathering held in each community every last Saturday of the month from 8am to 11am. Supervised by the local leader, communities participate in an activity to improve the society they live in and sample activities could include cutting grass, sweeping the streets, clearing drainage systems, repair of public facilities. The activity is selected by community members and is followed by discussion on a choice topic of the month. The activity is symbolic of what happens when Rwandans come together to achieve a common goal. Umuganda has been a useful forum to promote unity and cohesion among Rwandans with different backgrounds. AIMS Rwanda promotes giving back to the community and this would be an ideal entry point for AIMS Scholars to not just learn more about the Rwandan culture but to also give back to the communities they live in.

Umushikirano – is a national dialogue that brings together Rwandans and friends of Rwanda in a forum where all participants engage local leaders in open dialogue concerning development, progress and challenges experienced in the day to day management of the country. Umushikirano is a three day event held annually. Umushikirano would be an exciting conversation for AIMS Students to participate in as youth have been pivotal in getting their voices heard among this group of policy, decision and process leaders. The contribution of AIMS Scholars as very talented, independent thinkers cannot be overstated as this is one way Rwandan leaders make sure their actions are guided by needs expressed by Rwandans.

The Genocide Memorial calendar – The Genocide Memorial Centre in Kigali provides a detailed historical background of Rwanda on the genocides and has been set up in a way to allow remembrance and promote learning to avoid a repeat of history. The Centre has a calendar of different activities that gives an opportunity to visitors to interact with people that experienced the history firsthand and are now agents of change promoting unity and reconciliation. Activities include home visits, school outreach programs, youth engagement in activities such as debates, teacher trainings working closely with the Rwanda Peace Education Program run by Aegis Trust. Even with major strides in socio-economic and ICT development, the human component remains Rwanda’s greatest resource. Understanding the importance of unity and celebrating diversity will lead to a sustainable promotion of STEM in Rwanda – essential for AIMS scholars.

AIMS Rwanda on Flickr

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