Written by CorpsAfrica/Rwanda Volunteer Mr. Steven Nshizirungu
The six weeks of training I’ve undergone have been an eye-opening journey, immersing me in principles of community development that resonate deeply with the core values of Asset Based Community Development and Human-Centered Design. These lessons have fueled my excitement and curiosity as I look forward to my upcoming year of volunteerism service at CorpsAfrica.
First and foremost, I discovered the Asset Business Community Development (ABCD) and Human Centered Design (HCD) approaches as the key to community development.
Asset Business Community Development, the cornerstone of our training, has instilled in me the belief that true development begins by placing community members at the forefront. By harnessing their available resources and fostering a spirit of self-contribution, we empower communities to take control of their destinies. This philosophy of self-reliance is a beacon guiding my path as I prepare to serve.
Human-Centered Design: A Framework for Change
The principles of Human-Centered Design have further enriched my understanding of community development. This approach, centered on people, accentuates the importance of inclusive decision-making. Communities must assess their own needs, determine what matters most to them, explore available avenues for action, and collectively identify key strategies for progress. This holistic approach to problem-solving underscores the significance of community voices in shaping their futures.
A Transformative Three-Day Community Visit
My three-day community integration practice in Kabunigu village, Gako cell, Rusiga sector, Rulindo district, was nothing short of transformative. Each day offered a unique and enriching experience that reaffirmed the power of community engagement. On the first day, the warmth of my host family’s welcome and the shared delicious local drinks set the tone for unity and happiness. Together, we prepared a traditional meal of cassava and beans, fostering a profound sense of connection and collaboration. The second day was dedicated to meaningful discussions about self-reliance and livelihood improvement. We confronted real challenges, like my host mother’s daughter’s school dropout, and through our conversation, we ignited a flame of hope for her future through education and fortunately, she promised to get back to school in September. On the third day, I aimed to leave an enduring impact by constructing a local plate rack for my host family. The joy on my host mother’s face was immeasurable, exemplifying the profound connections I had forged during my visit. This experience underlined the transformational potential of small acts of kindness.
Inspirational Conversation with CorpsAfrica team
Interactions with CorpsAfrica staff, both virtually and in person, unveiled the organization’s inspiring journey. Learning about its humble beginnings with a minimal budget and only five Volunteers in Morocco, and witnessing how CorpsAfrica now illuminates the lives of millions of vulnerable Africans, left me deeply inspired and my assignment to contribute to its mission towards community development.
A Promising Journey Ahead
As I prepare to serve in Rutonde village, Bijyojyo cell, Ndaro sector in Ngororero district; my satisfaction with the training materials is unwavering. I am eager to meet community members, collaborate with them, and contribute to their development in various domains. My excitement knows no bounds, and I am fueled by the potential for positive change.
Yet, my curiosity about the upcoming year remains insatiable. I am eager to see how the principles of Asset-Based Community-Development, Human-Centered Design, and the transformative experiences of my community visit will shape my service. This journey promises to be one of growth, learning, and collective efforts to build a better future for Rutonde village. As I step into this next chapter, I am filled with hope, purpose, and a deep commitment to community-driven development.