Itorero to be decentralised to village level

The national civic education training programme, Itorero, will be restructured and implemented at the village level and will see people trained according to their age group (Ingamba y’Intore).

Officials said the new programme will not only include lessons on values and patriotism, but also self-reliance meant to accelerate poverty reduction, economic development, as well as the achievement of the seven-year national programme 2017-2024.

“In the Itorero, there will be training starting with Ibirezi group (the youngest group), to make them understand that poverty is not pride, to grow up understanding that they have to lift themselves out of poverty,” said Laetitia Nkunda, head of the Local Administrative Entities Development Agency (LODA).

For Ingamba, the trainees will be encouraged to strive for self-reliance, she explained. “To understand that they should use well the support they get from the Government or other partners to overcome poverty,” she added.

Itorero was abolished during the colonial era before the Government revived it in November 2007 to promote Rwandan values, patriotism among citizens, among others.

It has been mostly active with secondary school graduates, students at universities, teachers, and leaders, among other groups.

The Itorero at village level will now be commanded by the cell leader as “Umutwe” (or “head” of Itorero).

Umutwe (Cell) consists of Itorero (villages), Itorero consists of Isibo y’Intore (15-20 households), while Isibo consists of Ingamba y’Intore (the six age groups).

Rwanda is made of 2,148 cells and 14,837 villages.

With every age group at the village having their focus and proper training, here is how the six groups are organised and named:

Children younger than 5 years of age are “Ibirezi”, those aged between 6 and 12 years “Imbuto”, while “Indirira” are those between 13 to 18years.

The most active age group is from 19 to 35 years old named “Indahangarwa” (literary Invincible).

People aged between 36 and 55 will be called “Ingobokarugamba”, or reserve force, and finally, those older than 56 are “Inararibonye” (literary “experienced”), considered as advisors to younger generations.

Edouard Bamporiki, Chairperson of National Itorero Commission, said; “It was known that for Rwandans to have the same thinking, to fight the same war, to fight the enemy in the same manner, it required an academy, ‘irerero’, where they could all meet,” he said.

He said it is not easy to train and convey messages to people of different generations, and it is healthier for the community to talk about certain issues within their age groups.

The official also declared that Itorero will help all citizens understand better the concept of patriotism, then understand that, “the country they are building is theirs,” and what they do today will not only remain as heritage for their children, but also for their country too.

“To have a wealthy and safe country that has peace and sustainable development requires every Rwandan’s contribution,” he stated.

Ildephonse Kamanzi, 40, a father of three and resident of Gashenyi Cell, Rukomo Sector, said that the new Itorero is bringing back the spirit of helping each other as Rwandans, and teaching people from young age about entrepreneurship and patriotism.