Study commissioned to establish level of delinquency in Rwanda

Parents celebrate with their children after a past graduation ceremony at Iwawa Rehabilitation and Vocational Skills Development Centre in Rutsiro District. File.

The National Rehabilitation Service (NRS) has launched a nationwide survey that seeks to determine the magnitude of delinquency in Rwanda, its root causes as well as possible solutions.

Participants at the launch contended that the study should come up with new and helpful findings that will show the real problem and the impact it causes to the community.

“Drug abuse as a factor to delinquency should be given more attention because it is a serious challenge as it results in young people being too weak to contribute to their country’s development,” said Shakila Bishumba, Youth Risk Behaviour Prevention Specialist at the Ministry of Youth.

The research, whose results are expected early next year, will target categories of delinquents such as vagrants, street children, drug users/addicts, sex workers, beggars and informal street vendors.

Subjects targeted in the research include delinquents, local leaders, people working in transit centres and rehabilitation centres, as well as security officials.

“Currently, when we consider almost 19,000 people who have been rehabilitated from Iwawa, almost 40 per cent are from the Southern Province. At Gikondo Transit Centre, the Southern Province dominates. But, do such reported figures fully reflect the reality?” Aime Bosenibamwe wondered.

Located in an island off Rutsiro District, Rehabilitation and Vocational Skills Development Centre was set up to principally rehabilitate delinquents, equip them with skills before being reintegrated into society.

“The research will assess the impact of rehabilitation services being offered. What causes recidivism and how this can be dealt with. We will need to hear the delinquents’ perspective,” said Prof. Eugene Ndabaga, team leader for consultants who will conduct the research.

He observed that there are people who have returned twice or thrice to Iwawa for rehabilitation indicating that recidivism is a major concern.

Rationale of the study

Some delinquency figures are old. For instance, a 2012 study estimated that female sex workers in the country were between 25,000 and 45,000.

Since 2011, Iwawa Rehabilitation and Vocational Skills Development Centre located at Iwawa Island in Western Province, has handled 18,564 delinquents including drug addicts while Gitagata Rehabilitation Centre, a child facility in Bugesera District has received 1,204 children, according to NSR.

The transit centres, too, continue to receive cases of delinquency and today there are about 4,500 cases of delinquents in the transit centres, while one still sees street children, prostitutes, beggars and alcoholics in different parts of the country, states the rationale of the study.

The researchers said they believe that a better understanding of the magnitude and causes of different forms of delinquency will allow effective planning and the efficiency of the interventions.

Moreover, they argued accurate data will direct the government’s strategies for the coordination of interventions towards identified needs for the delinquents.

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