Sandrine Mukezinka and Ariane Kangabo are young Rwandan innovators and entrepreneurs. When they ate peanut butter for the first time at their high school, they asked the school’s headmaster: “How could we make this? We want to produce this in larger quantities, and sell it!”
The school connected them with a mentor, who helps young innovators realize their dreams. She links the students with opportunities and networks. The mentor also coaches the youth, and facilitates the projects.
For their first try-out, the girls started with coffee blend and 1 kg of groundnuts. It took them just a few minutes minutes to make peanut butter. Since then, they improved their produce and increased their production.
Today, they both flank H.E. Tony Roberto Nsanganira, Rwanda’s Minister of State in charge of Agriculture, on their booth at the 7th Africa Agriculture Science Week, explaining their project.
Ariane said: “The challenges youth face today is to change their mindset. We want to help youth to think out of the box, and involve them in using the opportunities we have, here in Rwanda, or even in Africa”.
Sandrine and Ariane’s story shows African youth have a lot of talent. Their example shows us how youth are capable to innovate and invest in agriculture, but they often lack the possibility to link their talents with opportunities, knowledge, technologies or markets. Their story also shows the role model of schools, how schools can be critical in enabling youth, motivating them, and providing mentorship and guidance.