Meet the 8 – year old future crime investigator

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By Daniel Sabiiti

Mumararungu believes it’s easy to find solutions around technology.

Berami Mumararungu, 8, gets Rwf100 as pocket money thrice a week from his mother -for the last six months this young man invests the money into gathering knowledge that he believes will help him realize his to become Rwanda’s next generation of crime investigators.

At SAY Cyber café located in Kajyagari zone, near Inyange diary store, just five minutes below the Kigali International airport in Kanombe, the Primary Two pupil- Berami is seated in his dirty clothes and like any other client, busy reading news and doing his homework.

While other children get money from parents to buy candies, toys and cookies, Berami uses his money to spend 15 minutes thrice a week at a cyber café in search for more knowledge on the internet.

With no background of internet, access to a computer not at school or at home, the teenager is determined to change his life by the age of 20, using the internet and computer skills at an early age.

“I get money, Rwf100, from my mum at least thrice a week. She gives it to me to buy cookies; but I don’t and she doesn’t know about. I spend the money at a cyber café” Berami says.

On his search engine, you can see internet pages like KigaliToday.com, and Google search engine where he inserts subjects about mathematics, English to enrich his and information about Rwanda especially news on President Kagame.

Berami says that he is lucky to be going to school and his dream is to become a police crime investigator with education as key to changing the life of his family welfare.

“I like to know what is happening in the country and my best website is Kigali Today because it covers the whole country. With this knowledge I think I want to become a cybercrime investigator, using the internet to the effect” Berami says.

Berami is just one of Rwanda’s next-generation of Rwanda’s internet kids. At the age of eight (8), he is able to sit alone at a cyber café to read local news, search on Google for local and global stars and read ahead of the school time table.

One may think that he is a kid from a rich family attending a modern primary school in Kigali to afford all this luxury, but not even close.

Learning from the best

On face value, one will look at Berami at a cyber café as a “street kid” in the wrong place. One wonders where he gets the computer skills to afford to get value for his Rwf100 – which equivalent to 15 minutes of internet time in Kigali city.

For him it all starts with interest in something and to learn by seeing and practicing and for the last six months he has managed to get the skills that a normal adult in Kigali city would not necessarily have even when they are exposed to computers.

“I used to come here to watch what others were doing. I got help from the café staff but with time I am comfortable on the computer alone” he says.

Watch for child abuse

As access to computers and internet continues to increase, it poses more danger for unguided children with full access to internet in Rwanda today.

Statistics indicate that 14 per cent of the African children own mobile phones while a bigger percentage use their parents’ devices with only 60 per cent of the parents controlling their children’s use of phones.

The Minister for Youth and ICT, Jean Philbert Nsengimana says that from under five to 17, children access internet mostly via their parents’ devices. “This means that most children are there online and we cannot deny them access but we want to protect them as we nurture them.” Nsengimana said last year.

Rwanda has set controls on how much children consume and protection from cyber-attacks as part of efforts to protect children as the country races into rapid socio-economic transformation, through the Child Online Protection (COP) programme.

Pascal Sibomana, a Cyber café operator where Berami frequents, is very keen on monitoring what the youngster is doing and the content he is searching through.

“I help to access information which I redeem suitable for a child. I keep a close eye on any dirty content that he and other children may tap into by accident; but for adults I block the malicious sites from the main server”.

After propelling the One Laptop per Child Programmme (OLPC) close to a decade now- with over 269,116 laptops distributed in 933 schools with process on-going, Rwanda is now planing on an ambitious agenda of phasing out use of notebooks in primary schools by 2019.

By 2019, the use of laptops will be compulsory on the list of basic school materials in all Rwandan primary schools and about 60, 000 locally made laptops are expected to be distributed by end of January 2017.

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