In Rwanda, as in many other African countries, many workers developed their current competencies through traditional apprenticeships or on-the-job-trainings. Hence, many do not have any formal qualification and certification which has resulted in low contractual levels of craftsmen at the market level. Very few are chosen and many as a last resort.

Through an innovative Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) scheme, holders of informally acquired skills can now be recognized. In this regard, Swisscontact through its PROMOST project (fully-funded by the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation) worked in collaboration with the Government of Rwanda, here represented by Rwanda Polytechnics (RP) and the private sector represented by Rwanda Garages Association (RGA) to pilot the scheme. Together, they assessed 239 auto-mechanics over a five-week period to ascertain their skills and those who passed the test were certified.  

The auto-mechanics were issued with their certificates during a graduation ceremony that was held on 23rd January 2019. The leader of the Rwanda Garages Association applauded the initiative and commended the graduates for receiving the certification which he termed as their key to a brighter future. He acknowledged that they would be recognized at the country level and would become very competitive in the sector. He also urged the government and its partners to consider implementing a similar initiative to accommodate other artisans who may long for the certification but may not yet have it.

‘’I am happy to have received a certificate from the Government that will enable me to compete at a higher level. For a long time, it has been a challenge to work in this sector as it has been male-dominated.  People have now started changing their mentality and the issuance of this certificate is proof that women too have the capacity and ability to meet the demands of this job. I can stand tall and proudly say I am an auto-mechanic,’’ says Rosine Mutatsineza, the only lady graduate.