Partner of the Rwanda Archive and Library Services Authority, Aegis Trust, has trained a team of young volunteers in indexing to help preserve and make accessible RALSA’s digitised archive of historical documents. The indexing process encompasses classifying, describing and ascribing a date to the digitised content.
The training brought together 36 volunteers who were selected from genocide survivor organisations and who have graduated from high school or university. The volunteers are passionate about their work and said they are looking forward to starting to index the files once they complete the training.
“It is very interesting because I’m learning to index different kinds of documents. It is helping me to stay active and broaden my skills while I’m waiting to attend university. To begin, we have been assigned to index old documents from Rwandan embassies. This work is helping me to discover the systems of previous governments,” Zita Bahire, a FAWE Girls School graduate said.
Another volunteer, Gilbert, who has an IT studies degree, said the training is helping him increase his skills in his field of study.
“This training will improve my IT skills. I thank Aegis Trust for organising such a productive activity and for allowing us to be part of it. I look forward to gaining a lot from it,” he said.
After establishing the Genocide Archive of Rwanda, Aegis Trust has been sharing its experience to help develop the archives sector in Rwanda. Members of the Genocide Archive team are now trainers and are working with the Rwanda Archive and Library Services Authority to conduct the indexing training.
Clement Muhire, the IT Specialist at Aegis Trust, led the training programme.
“We started this training with 18 members, but we have gained 18 members along the way. We’re happy that we gathered young people from all corners to preserve our country’s history,” Clement said.
Another trainer from Aegis Trust, Aline Umugwaneza, emphasised the importance of preserving the archives through digitisation and indexing to make them accessible.
“This helps the information to be widely accessible and visitors can identify what they are looking for through the website in a easy way,” Aline said.
The process of indexing the digitised archives is expected to last six months. The team has finished indexing 200,000 pages out of 1,800,000 with the hope to complete all pages by June. This comes after the scanning phase, which was carried out over the last few years. The indexing will be done at the Kigali Genocide Memorial and the Aegis Trust offices.
The Rwanda Archive and Library Services Authority, which manages the national archives, is facilitating the training programme by giving volunteers and trainers access to the tools and archives they need.