Aim high, think big: A new breath for Musanze youth centre

young girl sitting in front of a wooden statue

In Rwanda, Musanze youth are bubbling with enthusiasm. After one year of construction and renovation, the district’s youth centre is preparing to open its doors again.


A vital hub for young people

Located in the heart of Musanze in northern Rwanda, the centre was renovated in partnership with Musanze district. Its campus-like design, built with local materials, includes training halls, a Fablab*, a Knowledge lab, a library, artist workshops, IT services, as well as sports facilities for basketball, volleyball, and handball afficionados.

Empowering the region’s youth and supporting them in finding their own path is at the very heart of the project. That’s why the centre was designed as a hub for entrepreneurial and skills exploration, where young people can explore various sports and arts, but also exploit their skills creatively.

More than a buzzword, digitalisation is also a cornerstone of the project: the centre provides IT equipment and training to empower individuals with the necessary tools to navigate the digital age and foster job opportunities.

the youth centre from the outside

“It will be a beacon of hope and a sanctuary for a young generation to aim higher, to think big and act,” said Rwanda Minister of Youth Dr. Abdallah Utumatwishima.

But it wasn’t just the renovated centre that attracted all the focus. At the inauguration, eyes were also drawn to a 4-metre-high wooden statue standing in the middle of the courtyard: a Cosmogolem. Built by local artists and based on an original idea by Belgian artist Koen Vanmechelen, the statue is a symbol of hope and belief in the future, of diversity and evolution which empowers young generations by helping them find their own voice.

As part of the inauguration activities, teens and children from the community were invited to make the Cosmogolem their own by writing down stories, poetry, wishes or drawings, and place them in the heart of the giant.

The project at a glance


  • Rwanda’s urban population is expected to increase from 18.5% in 2015 to 41,2% in 2050. This rapid urbanisation is a challenge which, if well managed, can offer opportunities for job creation and economic development.
  • Renovating Musanze youth centre is part of Enabel’s wider UrbanDev project: it aims to support inclusive and sustainable urban development in Rubavu, Musanze and Rwamagana.
  • Rubavu, Musanze and Rwamagana are emerging cities with a high economic potential due to tourism assets, fertile land and proximity to bigger cities like Kigali and Goma (DRC). We support these three cities to develop their local economy and advise local authorities on urban planning for economic development.
  • Enabel has so far supported eight youth centres and renovated and equipped seven of these (one in Gakenke, one in Gisagara, one in Karongi, one in Nyamasheke, two in Nyarugenge – Kimisagara and Nyamirambo, one in Rulindo and one in Rusizi) on top of the newly inaugurated one in Musanze.


*Fab Lab stands for Fabrication Laboratory: it consists of a workshop where people can use computer-assisted object-making tools.

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