PhD Pierre Celestin Bimenyimana: Youth engagement in fighting the spread of COVID-19 in Rwanda: what can we learn?

The youth-centered approach is needed to build a positive, meaningful relationship with youth, through respectfully working with and engaging youth in a youth-friendly way (Alicea et al. 2012; Davidson et al. 2010; Lind, 2008; Lynam et al. 2007; Yohalem et al. 2007).

It is in this context that among other home-grown initiatives adopted by the Government of Rwanda, a specific group of youth was engaged to fight COVID-19.  Mr. Pierre Celestin BIMENYIMANA is conducting a study to understand the role of “youth volunteers” in mitigating the spread of COVID-19 pandemic in Rwanda. Thereafter see if some lessons can be drawn from that initiative. Specifically, the present study adopted the social movement and empowerment theories.  

The study will be a multistage exercise which will follow a combination of quantitative and qualitative approaches. The data collection will follow focus group discussions (FGDs) and key informant interviews (KIIs) in qualitative section and questionnaire in quantitative section. The research participants will be youth volunteers in general because they are the ones who have been enforcing interventions put in place to mitigate the pandemic and the local leaders will be interviewed as well KIIs. It will follow Taro Yamane Method in determining the sample size because the population is known. 

The project responds to the objectives of the resilient project in the sense that when youth handles developments challenges, it is for their turn to enjoy the resilient society. The study will contribute to the existing literatures by providing a theoretical framework to understand the contribution of youth during pandemic times.

The journey during this PhD training will be achieved through hard working, reading, learning new experiences through attending seminars, conferences. All these will be accompanied by producing some academic publications under guidance of my respected supervisors.

The challenges anticipated will be overcome through making sure that I have support of my family, my employer and my work makes. I am also praying to maintain a good relationship with my supervisors who are helping a lot. I trust that Allah, the Highest will help me to achieve the milestone.