Peace Dialogues

Peace Dialogues

Butare, RwandaKigali, Rwanda
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
$100,000 - $250,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Never Again Rwanda promotes critical thinking for youth through Public Speaking, a fun method built on the success of our engagement with debate competitions.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Rwanda’s recent history has been characterized by ethnic tensions, mistrust, and violence. Post-colonial leaders preached sectarianism and extreme hatred, which culminated in the 1994 genocide. Youth were often under-educated or not educated at all, furthermore being denied a public voice and thus easy prey for misuse. They were involved in carrying out atrocities during the 1994 genocide since they were not able to critically reflect on the propaganda of the government. Thus, Never Again Rwanda helps youth to build their critical thinking and presentation capacity, soft skills not taught in Rwandan schools to prevent such an event to happen again.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Rwandan students are being taught different subjects in today’s schools: Math, Computers, English or Biology. However, soft skills like critical thinking, presenting on topics, teambuilding or voicing your own opinion are not included. Never Again Rwanda wants to fill this gap by providing secondary school students the opportunity to learn and practice these skills outside the classroom and then bring them back to school with them. This will be done with the method of public speaking. It provides them with the opportunity to learn such necessary life skills, voice their opinion and the chance to be active citizens (agents of change) in today’s Rwanda.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

There are three major steps to make this project successful: A first step is to train students and their teachers over a four-day training in Critical Thinking skills (knowledge on systemic thinking, conflict resolution, looking at discriminatory attitudes and practices), non-violent communication skills (including active listening and giving constructive feedback), research and presentation skills to prepare them for the competition. Teachers are explicitly included to enable them to support their students and allow for a transfer of these skills into the school. Secondly a public speaking competition is being held where students can practice their newly gained talents in a fun and open way. This gives them a platform to express their opinion being heard by invited guests, such as school principals, district officials, students, local politicians and members of other NGO’s. It also encourages them to continue. Topics of these competitions are for example: “Standing up against mobbing in schools”, “Bridging the divide between poor and rich” or “Identity in Rwanda – Who is/can be Rwandan?”. Thirdly, students and schools are supported while incorporating trainings and competitions into their school’s life. During this process, students evaluate their own learning curve to enable and encourage them to improve even further.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

There are different organizations instilling critical thinking skills in schools. However, Never Again Rwanda is the only organization that brings training together with practice and support for incorporating it into school life. We started with debate competitions in 2006, being encouraged by the Ministry of Education to continue and asked by other NGO’s to train them in our approach. Now we move to public speaking, being the first organization using this method. One partner organization in both endeavours – debate and public speaking – is Vision Jeunesse Nouvelle, working in the West, while Never Again Rwanda covers the South, East and Kigali.
About You
Never Again Rwanda
About You
First Name


Last Name

Ryarasa Nkurunziza, Dr.

About Your Organization
Organization Name

Never Again Rwanda

Organization Country

, KV, Kigali

Country where this project is creating social impact

, BU, Butare

Your role in Education

After-School Provider.

The type of school(s) your solution is affiliated with

Public (tuition-free)

How long has your organization been operating?

More than 5 years

The information you provide here will be used to fill in any parts of your profile that have been left blank, such as interests, organization information, and website. No contact information will be made public. Please uncheck here if you do not want this to happen..

How long has your solution been in operation?

Operating for less than a year

Now that you have thought out your entry, help us pitch it.
Define your company, program, service, or product in 1-2 short sentences [136 characters]

Never Again Rwanda promotes critical thinking through Public Speaking, a fun method built on our success with debate competitions.

Identify what is innovative about your solution in 1-2 short sentences [136 characters]

We are the first to bring Public Speaking to a country with rich oral traditions to a youth eager to voice their opinion.

Social Impact
What has been the impact of your solution to date?

Never Again Rwanda has experience with debate trainings and competitions and supported schools institutionalize it since 2006. In 2011 alone we trained 149 students & teachers from, hosted three debate competitions, each attended by over 300 listeners. We are now building experience with public speaking and expect similar outcomes with schools adopting public speaking into their curriculum because students want to continue practicing this fun method. Both debate and public speaking build on Rwanda's cultural value of rich oral traditions. Thus, this format fits wonderfully into the Rwandan culture. Furthermore, public speaking is not resource intensive for schools to adopt. Therefore, it is the ideal format for Rwandan schools to implement and easily adopt to create empathy and critical thinking skills in Rwandan schools.

What is your projected impact over the next 1-3 years?

Our project will give youth a voice to reflect on pertinent issues in Rwandan society. Through training and providing a platform they can begin being active citizens. We are showing students and teachers the value of public speaking and we will support them in installing this fun method in their own schools as was experienced with the method of debate.

What barriers might hinder the success of your project? How do you plan to overcome them?

A good collaboration with school administration as well as district officials is vital since they must acknowledge the importance of public speaking for schools first. A second challenge is language with French and English strongholds in different regions. To ensure that everybody can express themselves, both languages are encouraged during trainings and competitions. Another barrier might be teachers wanting per diem during trainings, which contradicts our philosophy. To overcome this, the importance of their engagement and what this opportunity hold for their career need to be demonstrated and their engagement during the process be appreciated.

Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and track growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact

8 secondary schools in Huye District have successfully participated in a training and public speaking competition.

Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your six-month milestone
Task 1

The first draft of the handbook for the training is finalized.

Task 2

A training for students and their teachers gives them the necessary knowledge to compete in an organized competition.

Task 3

A public speaking competition is organized for students and teachers to let them experience the fun of such an event.

Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone

At least two schools in the Southern Province have successfully held public speaking competitions on their own.

Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your 12-month milestone
Task 1

A training of trainers provides the necessary human resources to allow trainings in more schools.

Task 2

Trainings are brought to two new districts in the Southern Province including 32 secondary schools.

Task 3

Two schools are provided with our support to launch their own public speaking competitions.

Founding Story: We want to hear about your "Aha!" moment. Share the story of where and when the founder(s) saw this solution's potential to change the world [125 words]

During the 2011 commemoration debate, organized by Never Again Rwanda, it became clear that debate as a method to tackle commemoration is not suitable (since Rwandan commemoration cannot be divided into for and against). Wanting to expand on issues of commemoration and peace building, the method of public speaking was introduced. To allow for a maximum impact it was decided to come up with an extended training including topics such as systemic thinking, conflict resolution or active listening. To round it up it was agreed that support for schools who want to incorporate it into their school life will be given since the triage – training – competition – support – has already proven effective with the method of debate.

Tell us about your partnerships

NAR partnerships range from local NGO’s, government institutions and the private sector. More specifically Never Again Rwanda are or were engaged in partnerships with the following organizations: USAID, UNDEF, AKIBA UHAKI FOUNDATION, UN HABITAT, Global funds for Children, National Endowment for Democracy, GIZ, Rwanda Governance Advisory council and many other local Associations.

What type of team (staff, volunteers, etc.) will ensure that you achieve the growth milestones identified in the Social Impact section? [75 words]

The Peace Building Program Coordinator will take a lead. He is supported by an international peace advisor from GIZ, who is building his and the organization's capacity. The financial and logistic department will support them as well as all other staff members during competitions, where many hands are needed. Furthermore an intern will help with different organizational matters to make this project a success.

Please elaborate on any needs or offers you have mentioned above and/or suggest categories of support that aren't specified within the list

Never Again Rwanda is ready to share experience made with public speaking and debate. With 5 years of experience in Rwanda using debate as an implementation method, lessons learnt, models and practices are ready to be shared with others. Furthermore, collaboration with such projects is always anticipated by us.