To asses the impact of this initiative The New Times undertook a survey within Northern Province residents of Gicumbi District.Ambrose Gahene writes that the programme has greatly emancipated local residents of this district from poverty.
The survey which was carried out at Kageyo, Kaniga and Byumba Sectors of Gicumbi District revealed that ‘Ubudehe’ plays a major role in bringing together communities at village and cell level.
The villagers have been able to assess their socio-economic conditions and have managed to identify priority areas that need assistance.
“There are ‘Ubudehe’ associations in each of the 630 villages of the entire Gicumbi District, comprising of planning and financial control committees”, said Gicumbi District ‘Ubudehe’ coordinator Tharcisse Nzayiramya. In this, residents are empowered to outline and hence define the actual needs assessments as it affects their daily lives.
Commenting on ‘Ubudehe’ program, Gicumbi District vice Mayor for economic Affairs Ildephonse Butera said residents at every village contribute a minimum of Rwf 100 to boost what the Government provides.
This is banked at the village’s ‘Ubudehe’ account in the local banks on a weekly basis for the purposes of undertaking the planned activities.
“The money contributed by village residents is in addition to government’s ‘Ubudehe’ fund, which is given out to Cells countrywide in phases.
The first phase is earmarked for agricultural or livestock farming to guarantee food security among residents, while the second and third phase is specifically for supporting income generating activities to eradicate poverty and uplift residents’ economic welfare”, said Butera.
He further said that some residents at village and cell level use the ‘Ubudehe’ fund to purchase improved livestock varieties from Rwanda Animal Resource Development Authority (RARDA), which are cross bred with indigenous ones to increase meat and milk production.
Members of Gicumbi District Private Sector Federation (PSF) are also active participants of this local programme. “They are partners in ‘Ubudehe’ support program”, added Vice Mayor Butera.
At Muhondo, Gihembe and Horezo Cells of Kageyo Sector, residents participated in the clearing of plots and constructing houses for the needy people.
“It is part of ‘Ubudehe’ initiative enshrined in the Rwandan culture, where residents put together their energies to construct houses for the needy in society”, said Kageyo Sector executive Secretary Pierre Damien Sharangabo.
He further said that local leaders at Cell level the previous week raised Rwf 360,000 for the purchase of various inputs and assets which were donated to the needy people of Kabuga and Nyamiyaga Cells. “Beneficiary residents to ‘Ubudehe’ program are expected to donate what they have accumulated to their next door poor neighbors.
In this way there is growth, circulation and by extension reciprocation of capital at the local levels which acts as a booster to kick out poverty”, added Sharangabo.
Residents of Kaniga Sector who are now accumulating wealth from scratch hailed ‘Ubudehe’ program for enabling them to buy health insurance coverage and pay school fees for their children.
Sebastian Rucamumpaka of Mulindi Cell in Kaniga Sector says he earns a minimum of Rwf 20,000 every week from his new found occupation.
The Gicumbi District ‘Ubudehe’ coordinator Tharcisse Nzayiramya said ‘Ubudehe’ started off in Gicumbi District officially in 2004 as first phase, with 9 cells selected in the former Byumba and Kisaro Districts as pilot cells. Residents of the 9 cells were provided with livestock to eradicate poverty.
In 2006 second phase, between 100-140 cows were purchased for Bwisige, Kaniga, Nyamiyaga and Rukomo Sectors in the present Gicumbi District.
Also high yield selected seeds for Irish potatoes were brought in within Miyove, Nyankenke and Rwamiko Sectors. By 2007/08 more livestock was purchased.
In addition, provision of clean water and use of basic mechanized inputs for production as well as inculcating the use of local banking services was prioritized.
Mayor Bonane Nyangezi atributes poverty eradication in the District to ‘Ubudehe’ program. “‘Ubudehe’ is the only way to eradicate poverty and steer economic development”, said Nyangezi.
A report from Minaloc which The New Times has seen indicates that assistance to ‘Ubudehe’ program in the Gichumbi district was valued at Rwf 311,500,000.The report says that in 2006 over 445 Cells were the beneficiaries of the ‘Ubudehe’ funds meaning that an equivalent of Rwf 700,000 was spent on beneficiaries in the targeted cells .
Consequently residents of Nyiragasuruba village of Nyamabuye Cell in Byumba Sector scooped the 9th position countrywide and the 1st position at District level, for the proper use of government’s ‘Ubudehe’ funds.
The village was awarded Rwf 1.8 million by common Development Fund (CDF), a development organ based in the Ministry of Local government.