Youth and Leadership: A day with Sandrine Nikuze
We sat down for a conversation with Sandrine Nikuze, the Deputy Chief Commissioner of Rwanda Scouts association. At the 22 years, she is possibly the youngest holder of that position in Africa. Here is her story!
Sandrine Nikuze describes herself as a change maker, a young leader, handcraft maker, sports, fun and a healthcare manager. She spends her time trying to work with and for young people, and improve the lives of vulnerable women in Rwanda.
Sandrine became a Scout at the age of 11 years. From that time, she committed herself to make the world a better place than she found it starting with her community. She became a Troop Leader while in secondary school, demonstrating her leadership skills. She started a Scout unit while at Kepler University, in Kigali.
Her Scout Troop and district won many trophies at different National Camps, and she was among the group members who represented Rwanda at the East African Zonal Scout Competitions. “I have gained different skills which are very helpful to me such intercultural skills, team work and Scouting skills from this journey”, she affirms.
The desire to give back to the organization and the community, which really helped her to grow and become who she is today, pushed her to contest for election for the position of Deputy Chief Commissioner at Rwanda Scout Association during the 2018 Annual General Meeting, which she won. At the 22 years, she is possibly the youngest holder of that position in Africa!
“Sometimes, it takes years to recognize a passion, but I found out that am passionate about leadership from a young age in primary school. The talent grew up as I was also growing. I became one of the school committee members, unit leader, cohort representative and Vice-President of the Student Government Association at university level”, she recalls with clarity.
Currently Sandrine is also a Country director and legal representative of SafeMotos Institute, an NGO which aims to economically empower low-income Rwandan women by training them to become moto taxi drivers. She studied Healthcare Management, and she also plans to continue her studies to strengthen her knowledge and skills.
She reckons that young leaders sometimes face different challenges, but to her, challenges are great opportunities to learn and keep progressing. Failing is not an easy thing, but it is one of the hardest doors a leader has to open so that she or he can become a stronger and more impactful leader. She observes that some of the common barriers young leaders encounter are criticism and doubt in their capacity to take decisions. However, personal trust, hardwork and always learning can help someone overcome any challenge. She advises all young people, and especially ladies, to stand up, work hard, and join hands together to make an impact.
“The number of youth is highly increasing, and in the coming years the world will be led by the youth. In addition, leadership is something that has to be developed. Self-confidence is a key to become a good leader”, she concludes.
Sandrine is also planning not to stop at the national level, she expects to keep growing. “Why not on the African or World level,” she poses. Sandrine believes in the power of youth and that together we can make an impact and create the African and the world we want.