•Promises to showcase country’s success story
The visiting US advocacy group - ONE Campaign – has commended the government on its leadership, saying the country is a success story to be emulated by others in the region.
These remarks were made by the delegation’s heads, former Senate Majority Leaders - Tom Daschle, Bill Frist – and Cindy McCain (wife of US Republican presidential candidate, Sen. John McCain) after a tour of Masaka Health Centre Monday morning.
“There has been a dramatic change in circumstances in a very short period of time giving people hope and a real chance of a better future,” said Tom Daschle, adding that it is “strong leadership in the country that allows people on every level to rise to the expectations and challenges in a very powerful way.”
Frist said the purpose of their visit was ‘to listen very carefully’ to the people of Rwanda. He stressed that the country was a ‘tremendous success story’ referring to its significant reduction in child and maternal deaths among other things.
“Why has it worked so well here?” he pondered, “and what can we do to continue?”
“We are going to share with people back in the US who have supported most of these programs,” he said while emphasizing the importance of ensuring that Rwanda continues on its path.
“We will showcase this success story so that we can energize the American people – people in higher levels of government to understand this is an important investment,” Frist pledged.
Cindy McCain, while reminding reporters that she had been to Rwanda during the 1994 mayhem, underscored that she has experience in ‘organizations like these’.
“This country is truly on its way to becoming a very successful country in the region,” she said adding that what was important to the world is peace and security.
“So far this country will be an inspiration to others,” Mrs. MCain observed.
McCain pointed out that much work has been realized by the previous US administration but said more needed to be done.
“Obviously more needs to be done,” she urged and noted that “what we see here is obviously amazing - a tremendous movement in Rwanda.”
Frist underlined that some of their future projects would include ‘systems development’. He pointed out capacity building as important.
“A need to expand,” he said,“ A need to get smarter,” He pointed out, adding that this was compounded by a Rwandan approach championed by good governance and not a western approach.
Daschle also emphasized the significance of building business opportunities and economic infrastructure. They put emphasis on transport and tourism sectors among other things.
Shortly after talking to reporters, the team’s fleet headed for Rwinkwavu in its ongoing tour of the various US funded projects in the Northern and Eastern Provinces.
One Campaign is part of ONE Vote ’08, an unprecedented US non-partisan project to make global health and extreme poverty foreign policy priorities in this year’s presidential election.
On Saturday, they visited Kigali Genocide Memorial site in Gisozi and paid respect to the victims of the 1994 genocide of Tutsis, and also visited a coffee project in Nyandungu, Kicukiro Sector.