Rwanda is a country on the move. In recent years, the country has developed remarkably and had one of the highest GDP growth rates in Africa. According to the World Bank, between 2001 and 2015, Rwanda recorded an average GDP growth rate of 8 %. Drawing upon its ambitious development plans such as the “Rwanda Vision 2020” and “Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy II (2013-2018)”, Rwanda aimed to transform itself into a middle-income country and transition from agrarian economy to an information-rich, knowledge-based one by 2020.
In February 2015, the country adopted its “National Culture Heritage Policy”. Strategic Objective 4 of this Policy aims to “Operationalize the existing or develop new legal instruments and facilitate full exploitation of the economic potential in the creative arts”. In line with this policy, Rwanda has already undertaken cultural mapping, and it has finalized a “Five-year Strategic Plan for the development of Creative Industries 2017-2020”. Furthermore, Rwanda has submitted its first quadrennial periodic report through a participatory process involving civil society.
This project aimed at further building capacities of cultural and creative industry (CCI) actors to strengthen the creative industry as a strategic growth sector contributing to economic growth, job creation, revenue generation, and improving conditions of life. Starting from identifying capacity gaps of stakeholders, it has provided specialized training to stakeholders and made an effort to raise the awareness of the general public about the contribution of CCI to sustainable development. The project has built on ongoing UNESCO activities on culture and communication in Rwanda, which have revealed capacity-building as the utmost priorities of concerned stakeholders.
The aim of this project was to contribute to the development of cultural industries in Rwanda, through identifying capacity gaps and developing and implementing capacity-building programmes for artists, cultural professionals and representatives of concerned government ministries/public institutions in Rwanda.
A comprehensive mapping of Rwanda’s creative industries was prepared, identifying opportunities and challenges for the sector in Rwanda, and revealing a strong need for capacity building. The resulting activities led to the training of 100 creative professionals from across Rwanda, who gained practical management skills, contributing to the professionalization of the CCI sector in Rwanda.
The project was also instrumental in raising awareness of the 2005 Convention on the Protection and the Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions and of CCI for sustainable development in Rwanda through the translation of key texts into Kinyarwandan.
A mapping of Rwanda's growing CCI was created informed by surveys targeting cultural entrepreneurs, policymakers, and artists. The resulting mapping is based on more than 1,750 responses that reveal strengths, challenges, and major capacity gaps in the CCI.
Three main capacity gap areas were identified: General lack of professional skills (artistic, technical, practical, and job skills); Arts management skills, including copyright/intellectual property rights; Adaptation of education skills to the market demands. Based on the analysis of the findings and recommendations from ISHYO Arts Centre, the national implementing partner, the project National Steering Committee decided that the training should seek to address the identified challenges and focus on: The weakest point of the value chain; production and that the main CCI areas to prioritize were Performing Arts (music, theatre/dance), Film and Visual Arts. Furthermore, Creative Entrepreneurship was retained to develop a spirit for business and to enhance market knowledge among industry professionals.
To build local capacity and ensure the sustainability of the project, the co-facilitation approach guided the identification of local, regional, and international training institutions and trainers. It was also emphasized that where the facilitator was a foreigner, the co-facilitator was expected to be local for the purpose of, on the one hand to provide insights into the local context and realities, and on the other, as a way of ensuring capacity transfer for sustainability.
From May to September 2019, ISHYO Arts Center, the national implementing partner, conducted a series of workshops to address the needs identified during the survey and ensuing mapping.
A "training of trainers" series provided professionals in performing arts, film production, visual arts and creative entrepreneurship with practical tools and knowledge to lead the professionalisation of their respective fields. In the spirit of regional and global cooperation upheld by the KFIT project, the sessions were conducted by experts from Senegal, France, Uganda, South Africa, and Kenya. The training programmes focused on budgeting, funding, contracts, and marketing strategy, reflecting the practical and urgent needs on the ground. At the end of the two-year project, around 100 creative professionals from across Rwanda gained practical management skills.
To enable further dissemination of the 2005 Convention text in the region and to raise awareness of the CCI for sustainable development, the Passport of the 2005 Convention was translated into Kinyarwandan and uploaded on the website of UNESCO National Commission in Rwanda. A video clip about the UNESCO 2005 Convention in Kinyarwanda was also made and shared through various media platforms.