A few weeks ago, with the help of UNDP Rwanda, people gathered at the national library for the second Social Good Meetup in Rwanda. The guests, including UN Resident Coordinator Mr. Lamin Momodou Manneh and Minister for Youth and ICT Hon. Jean Philbert Nsengimana, discussed technology, the democratization of information, and the future of Rwanda.
Mr. Lamin Momodou Manneh praised the transformation that technology has brought to Rwandan society. He stated that "in a very short period of time, as you know, the internet has had a tremendous impact on the way we live. It has democratized access to information on a scale never before thought achievable." When such information is made accessible it helps increase rates of innovation and improvements.
Hon. Jean Philbert Nsengimana laid out five areas where Rwandans must shift their perspectives in order to achieve a better future. He explained these five points with an acronym: SPREAD (services, private industry, rural areas, education, and development). Nsengimana stated that, in summary, "it’s a shift from connect to transform." By focusing on transformation, Rwanda could utilize new technology and information and create a better future.
The event also featured several panels. They discussed the effects of marginalized groups like women, the elderly, and rural citizens having a lack of access to technology. The panel sought ways to bridge this gap between information and possible innovators. They put forward several solutions to the information divide: Using accessible language to communicate effectively, programs that donated technology such as laptops to those in need, and using accessible technology like videos to educate those harder to reach.
The Meetup in Rwanda focused on the power of technology to transform the nation for a better future. From educating rural citizens to empowering women, technological connectivity was seen as a key tool to solving the county's problems. Thanks to UNDP and UNDP Rwanda for helping organize the event! Watch a summary video of the Meetup here!