By Arpana Pandey and Mari Aasgaard
On Friday 15 March, the One UN Rwanda launched the offline version of the MY World Survey with the aim of reaching 80,000 children from all Districts in Rwanda within a two week period.
The UN joined with Girl Hub Rwanda to distribute and receive the offline surveys that have been translated into Kinyarwanda through Girl Hub’s “Ni Nyampinga Ambassadors.” Ni Nyampinga is a locally produced Rwandan youth brand that aims to enable and inspire adolescent girls to reach their full potential. These Ambassadors representing Rwanda’s 30 Districts will distribute the offline surveys through 200 volunteers across the country. The volunteers work as community health workers and teachers and will reach school children and those children currently out of school.
Thirty-five Ni Nyampinga Ambassadors participated in a one-day workshop at Umubano Hotel in Kigali. At the workshop, the Ambassadors discussed the MDGs, the priorities for the way forward in a post-MDG world, and the role of the survey in ensuring that voices of citizens around the world are incorporated into the new development agenda. Ni Nyampinga Ambassadors actively participated in discussions around the MDGs, especially in the context of Rwanda. In small groups, they examined the progress made in their communities with regards to gender equality, health and education, and they identified areas where more efforts are needed.
When asked to identify one priority for Rwanda and the world to identify, Beatha Kayirangyna, a Ni Nyampinga Ambassador from Nyarugenge District, stressed biodiversity and conservation. Other Ambassadors recognized Rwanda’s current efforts in biodiversity and conservation. They also cautioned that moving forward, the country will need to prepare for the environmental consequences of rapid development.
After two weeks, the completed surveys will be collected and returned to the UNICEF Rwanda Country Office, where 20 girl researchers have volunteered to transcribe the data over a period of one week. The results from the survey will be uploaded online and will feed into the MY World Survey website.
“The UN family is excited to be part of the roll out of the MY World survey in Rwanda. Through a fantastic team effort and infectious commitment on the part of young people themselves, we will hear the voices of over 80,000 Rwandan children and youth. It’s an inspiring initiative” said UNICEF Rwanda Representative, Noala Skinner on behalf of One UN in Rwanda. “Through the survey results, we look forward to hearing how Rwandans envision their future and their priorities, post 2015.”
At the workshop, excitement was generated around the MY World Survey. Rwanda already has a strong culture of engaging its population in its development agenda through participation in existing forums and processes such as Umuganda – a mandatory community service day on the last Saturday of each month. Similarly, through national child forums and the Annual Children’s Summit, children from all administrative sectors of Rwanda express their views about nation building.
When asked about her thoughts on the survey, Aurore Irangeneye, a Ni Nyampinga Ambassador from Karongi District said, “The survey collects different ideas from people and takes the views up to high-level decision makers who can then incorporate these ideas into the global development agenda. Rwanda’s voices will be heard at the global level.”
Beatha Kayirangyna, added, “Through the offline surveys, the voices of vulnerable children, and those without access to Internet, will be heard.”