Members of diplomatic missions working in Rwanda will today join residents in Southern Province’s Kamonyi District in community work to plant agro-forestry trees.
The community work, locally known as Umuganda, is held in communities across the country every last Saturday of the month.
The diplomats’ participation in community work activities in Kamonyi today were organised by the diplomatic corps in partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
Kamonyi District Mayor Alice Kayitesi told The New Times that the diplomats will join Umuganda in Kamonyi District’s Kigembe cell in a village called Buhoro of Gacurabwenge sector.
The mayor said that 4000 tree seedlings will be planted on farm terraces at 10 hectares of crop fields in the area with the aim of fighting both erosion and malnutrition.
“We are very happy for this because they will support us and it’s an occasion for them to know more about our district and they will leave a positive message for our residents,” Kayitesi said.
She explained that about 80 diplomats and staff from the Rwandan foreign ministry are expected to take part in the activity where hundreds of residents will also be joining in.
Russia’s Ambassador to Rwanda, Karen Chalyan, said that he will join the communal activity because it holds great benefits for Rwandans starting with the fact that it brings them together.
“I am very happy to do that. We used to have the same thing in my country and I grew up doing this and it was always a great thing because it brings people together,” he said in an interview.
He encouraged the Rwandan foreign ministry to always involve diplomats in Umuganda activities because they benefit citizens.
“I think it’s a wonderful tradition because it brings people together,” he said.
The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs in charge of East African Community, Olivier Nduhungirehe, told The New Times that it was the diplomats’ initiative to conduct Umuganda and that the ministry welcomed the idea given its potential to transfer Rwanda’s home-grown solutions to other countries.
“We think that it’s a good opportunity for the diplomatic community to work together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs but also citizens of Rwanda in Umuganda,” he said.
He added: “It’s really an important opportunity to exchange our home-grown solutions and in a few years to come Umuganda will be conducted in as many countries.”
Diplomatic missions in Rwanda normally join Umuganda activities.