On 31 January, a culture-focused “Heritage Hub” was officially launched to make cultural heritage a source of sustainable economic and social benefit for Rwanda’s youth. 

RHH Photo: Rwanda Heritage Hub

On 31 January 2023, the new Rwanda Heritage Hub was officially launched in the Kandt House Museum, Kigali. ICCROM Heritage Hubs are knowledge-based innovation centres that cultivate youth engagement, entrepreneurship and business development skills through creativity, digital technologies and partnership with Africa's heritage protection and promotion community. 

The Rwanda Heritage Hub is a joint initiative of Rome-based ICCROM (International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property) and the Government of Rwanda through the Inteko y'Umuco–Rwanda Cultural Heritage Academy (RCHA).  

RHH Photo: Rwanda Heritage Hub

The Hub kicked off its activities with the launch of the “Incubation Laboratory” in November 2022. The Incubation Laboratory is a long-term project to support forty Rwandan youth’s ventures into digital entrepreneurship based on promoting cultural heritage and developing innovative products. 

The official launch was attended by Dr Webber Ndoro, Director-General of ICCROM, Amb. Robert Masozera, Director-General of Rwanda Cultural Heritage Academy (RCHA) and honourable guests. The attendees visited the Heritage Hub and engaged with the young Rwandans benefiting from training on emerging digital technologies, successful business practices, the basics of Rwandan cultural heritage and cultural heritage management.  

On behalf of the Honourable Rosemary Mbabazi, Minister of Youth and Culture, Amb. Robert Masozera expressed that, “Rwanda is very grateful to ICCROM for having trusted our country as one of the African countries to pilot the African Heritage Hubs.” He expressed that Heritage Hubs are “real, practical, educational spaces capable of involving people, especially young people, in heritage conservation and management, which make them as complementary spaces to museums, cultural institutions, educational institutions – as they are also real education tools.” 

Ndoro Photo: Rwanda Heritage Hub

Dr Ndoro recalled that the Heritage Hub initiative and its implementing programme, Youth.Heritage.Africa, was born from the belief that heritage is a source of social and economic opportunity for African youth.

“We have to engage our youth in something useful. Heritage itself is important especially to us as Africans, and this is why we started the hubs as an innovative way of generating income and getting hands-on experience.”

– Dr Webber Ndoro, Director-General, ICCROM

Rwanda Heritage Hub trainees, teachers and instructors shared their experiences with the hub, expressing their gratitude for being part of this new and promising initiative, as well their wish for the hub’s successful future.  

The Rwanda Heritage Hub is one of several ICCROM Heritage Hubs established in four African countries – Kenya, Rwanda, Senegal and South Africa – with more on the way.

The goal is to create economic value, invest in social and human capital, and foster innovation and creativity within the heritage sector in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals and aspirations of the African Union’s Agenda 2063. These hubs are imaginative, interactive spaces intended to connect the younger generation and youth organizations with strategies and initiatives to make Africa’s heritage an effective source of economic and social opportunity for their benefit.