Residents in Bugesera are excited about the recent satellite and television equipment that was given to them by Star Times and thank the Government of Rwanda for the partnership with China.
The residents say they now have access to news and can easily follow development programmes on various channels.
The project that was rolled out in Rwanda June 2018 has helped over 6000 families to access TV and satellite decoders that have crystal clear pictures.
Apart from homes, Star Times installed satellite equipment and projectors in every cell and sector offices that help residents to follow TV programs as they wait for services.
Residents of Nyamata sector in Bugesera who talked to the New Times say that the satellite equipment has helped them get exposed and to be conversant with what is happening in the rest of the world and to change their mind set on many issues concerning health, education, sports, and developmental issues and following government programs.
Munyeragwe Epimaque 56 years of Murama cell in Nyamata sector says that the first time he saw a television was way back after the Genocide yet it is only three years since he acquired one in his home.
“I was given a decoder last year and that brought about a lot of excitement not only here at my home, but also with the neighbors. For many years, we watched TV but because of network problems, the picture quality and stability were very low and it was not as interesting. But today, thanks to Star Times, we watch news which is a very important aspect in our lives because it you lack news, then you are not up dated” he says.
He added that they recently watched the Minister of health Dr. Diane Gashumba explaining about the Ebola epidemic that is killing people in the neighboring country of Congo.
“I love travelling to Congo but now that am aware of what is happening there, I will have to limit unnecessary movement to such places” he added
Tuyishimire Anitha from Nyamata sector “The most important thing that I have learned from TV is about farming using new modern methods. Through TV programs, we have learnt about the diseases that attack matooke and how to protect them. Without TV at home, I wouldn’t have known much about modern farming and another thing is that my kids no longer meander around the village after school”.
Murindahabi Augustin also a resident of Nyamata-Ville “We have access to almost all information about everything modern like modern farming, government programs, health tips like family planning and protection against HIV and Ebola. And another thing I personally enjoy most is watching sports on a clear channel with good pictures” he adds
“Since last year we have access to almost all channels depending on our wishes and the quality of the pictures plus the variety of news and programs is amazing,” says Mulindahabi.
Most interestingly, he said he can now have more time with his children during holidays saying that because of the variety of channels on the television, the children stay at home.
“My children are always at home thanks to the satellite TV channels that are always entertained. At least the chances of them loitering in town and picking up bad habits from peer groups are no longer there,” he said.
Residents have changed mindsets
The local leaders at Bugesera district say that because the local people are watching TV and having access to news around the world, it is changing the mindset.
Through Star Times Company, Bugesera District was given over 200 decoders with antennas, some were given to residents and others were distributed at sector offices and 15 decoders with projectors were given to healthy centers.
Speaking to journalist at Bugesera District headquarters, the Vice Mayor for Economic Development, Angelic Umwali said that ensuring access to satellite television is one of the virtues of access to information, which she said government takes very seriously.
“Today there is a lot of feedback from the residents about the TV penetration programme that was launched last year. Our people today have access to TV and access to information on national and international events and programmes that have educated and informed them hence increasing their awareness and knowledge to improve their welfare”.
She thanked Star Times and the Chinese Government for partnering with government to boost penetrations saying that it is easy now to sensitize the public on issues that they already are aware of.
Mbonyumuvunyi Sixbert, the IT person at Bugesera District
“The residents who were given decoders already had TV sets in their homes. Many of them are community health workers, mediators, sector leaders and traders
The executive secretary of Nyamata sector Mushenyi Innocent “The residents are showing are a lot of change in mindset on many developmental and health issues. I think it is because of the good governance and leadership of our president Paul Kagame and the love he has for local people”
In Rwanda, the target is to have 6,000 individual households in 300 villages in Rwanda connected with satellite television service composed of a satellite dish, a high definition set-top box and accessories while 900 public institutions will be connected through a satellite projector TV system and 32-inch television sets.