RDRC appeals for $18m to resettle ex-combatants

• Government and World Bank pledge only $10m The Rwanda Demobilisation and Reintegration Commission (RDRC) yesterday presented the findings on the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to the World Bank (WB) and other donors in a bid to secure $18m for the 3rd phase  project to resettle ex-combatants.
Jean Sayinzonga.
Jean Sayinzonga.

• Government and World Bank pledge only $10m

The Rwanda Demobilisation and Reintegration Commission (RDRC) yesterday presented the findings on the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to the World Bank (WB) and other donors in a bid to secure $18m for the 3rd phase  project to resettle ex-combatants.

Of the required $18m, the World Bank has pledged $8m and the Government of Rwanda will provide $2m while the rest will be raised from other donors.

According to Jean Sayinzoga, the President of the RDRC, the commission was required to present the findings by an expert group which was charged with the task of finding out the impact the activities of the 2nd phase had made on the environment before money for the 3rd phase is disbursed.

Sayinzonga whose commission’s duty is to resettle demobilised or discharged soldiers as well as repatriated combatants into normal civilian life, said that the donors especially the World Bank were interested in knowing the impact the activities of the ex-combatants resettled in the second phase has had on the environment before they could fund the third phase.

The RDRC has already resettled and reintegrated over 60,000 combatants into civilian life since its establishment and is targeting to reintegrate more 9,500 in the third phase that is expected to run from 2009 to 2011.

Presenting their findings before donor representatives and other heads of institutions, Dr. Djibril Doucoure – who led the team that conducted the study –  said that there has been limited impact on the environment originating from the different projects set up by ex-soldiers because their activities, just like any other citizens, are closely monitored by environment protection agencies and local authorities.

Francis Musoni, the RDRC Programme Coordinator said that the second phase was successful, which impressed donors who have agreed to fund the 3rd phase, whose implementation is already in progress.

He said that the funds will help the 9,500 ex-combatants set up income generating activities and also provide shelter for some who cant afford to build houses of their own, especially causalities.

The funds will also provide training and skills to ex-combatants which will help them earn a living while those willing to join schools and institutions for formal education will have their tuition provided.

The money, which is in the form of compensation and retirement benefits, will also be used by the ex-soldiers to start savings cooperatives and businesses especially in the agricultural sector.          

It was also revealed that the commission will conduct follow-ups to ensure that the money given to ex-combatants is used more productively, on top of giving advice on possible areas of investment.

The decision was taken after realising that many ex-soldiers use the money unproductively and end up languishing in poverty for the rest of their lives.

The World Bank was impressed by the Housing Project in Nyarugunga in Kicuciro District which was set up during the second phase, agreeing to fund more similar projects in the 3rd Phase.

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