The revised Ubudehe categorisation, national strategy for sustainable graduation, and revised Vision Umurenge Programme (VUP), are meant to achieve self-reliance among Rwandan households through lifting people out of poverty, said the Minister of State in charge of Social Affairs at the Ministry of Local Government. Assumpta Ingabire made the observation on Saturday, November 12, during a post cabinet press briefing at Rwanda Television as she shed light on these programmes and strategies approved by the Cabinet meeting held on Friday, November 11. “In the new Ubudehe categories, VUP, and the new strategy for lifting people out of poverty, the major aspect in these is to change people’s mindset, so that they understand that they also have a role to play, that they have to develop, and that they have to achieve self-reliance,” she said. Factors for Ubudehe revision Talking about why the Ubudehe categorisation was revised, Ingabire said that regular reviews for Ubudehe categories are necessary because they are based on the living conditions of the citizens, and help know the changes in life of households in a given category over a considered period. Ubudehe is a social stratification programme depending on income among households. It was reformed in a new grading system that was announced in June this year. This saw the four Ubudehe categories that were represented by numbers from 1 to 4, replaced by the current five categories, represented by letters A, B, C, D, and E – with A consisting of households with the highest income, while E is a ‘special’ category consisting of those who are the most vulnerable in the society. This special category comprises people out of the labour force as a result of age (they are at least 65 years old), major disabilities or incurable diseases, yet they do not own other assets or sources of livelihoods. During the implementation of the Ubudehe categories that are being replaced, Ingabire said, it was observed that there were some weaknesses where a person who was in the Ubudehe category 1 (that of the most vulnerable) “felt satisfied because they would get all [their needs catered for] by the Government, a Government partner, and Government sponsor,” yet, the person in question did not contribute to their getting rid of poverty. “What the new categories are coming to help is that being in a given category does not mean you are going to be supported forever... There is a factor that I also have a role to play in self-reliance, and put to good use what I have been given by the Government or other partners, but grow and help others (in need),” she said. Some changes in revised Vision Umurenge Programme (VUP) VUP is an integrated local development programme to accelerate poverty eradication, rural growth, and social protection in Rwanda. Ingabire said that changes made to this programme include raising the wage given to the beneficiariesfor improved living conditions. Under one of this programme components, she said, vulnerable people are employed in the public works – such as anti-erosion measures, and road construction – from which they get wages to support their livelihoods. “What changed is that we increased the number of days [a beneficiary is allocated] – we want that they increase from 72 (previous) to 100 – and the pay they were getting, from the previous Rwf1000 to Rwf1,500 a day,” she said. VUP has also a financial service component, which consists of providing cheap and micro loans to the poor so that they run small income-generating businesses and get money to improve their living conditions. The interest rate on this pro-poor financing is 2 per cent, which is too low compared to the 16 per cent average lending rate among the country’s financial institutions, according to data from the National Bank of Rwanda. “These are already existing components, but we want to strengthen further so that the yield that the citizens will get from them will enable them to develop, get rid of poverty,” she said, indicating that it is connected to the new strategy for lifting people from poverty – dubbed the National Strategy for sustainable graduation. Integrated strategy to move out poverty Under the National Strategy for sustainable graduation, Ingabire said that the Government will provide an integrated support to the vulnerable people within two years, which they should effectively utilise, citing accommodation, livestock, fertiliser and seeds (if they own farmland), and vocational skills for the children of the beneficiary household, who are able to acquire them. She said that the Government will make an assessment after two years to see the impact brought about by the interventions. Talking about this strategy, she said that there are interventions offered under VUP, and others provided under other entities like Girinka – one cow per poor family programme, and fertiliser and seed support to the needy. “All those are intended to help lift people out of poverty, which we believe, as we provide them, the residents will also cooperate with us to understand that as the Government supports them with the [public] work, [and] livestock, they also have to move out of poverty after the two years we set,” she said.