Editorial: Documenting the success story of home-grown solutions is invaluable contribution

A group of 23 experts from different training backgrounds have authored a book, titled, ‘Home Grown solutions. A legacy to Generations in Africa,’ which documents Rwanda’s experience with borrowing from traditional practices to address contemporary challenges it faced in the aftermath of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

According to the new book, launched on Friday, the home-grown solutions led to socioeconomic programmes that today serve as the backbone of the country’s transformation.

The authors trace the decision to reintroduce some of the age-old traditions to the 1998-1999 national consultations at the Village Urugwiro, attended by leaders at different levels and from different segments of society.

The experts, under the coordination of Prof. Tharcisse Gatwa, a journalist and theologian, and Prof. Deogratias Sebahire Mbonyinkebe, an anthropologist, analyse the impact of Umuganda, Imihigo, Ubudehe, Gacaca, Abunzi, Girinka, and Agakiriro initiatives on the country’s recovery and socioeconomic development, noting that their success has validated the school of thought that Africa is best served by finding solutions to its challenges from within.

The book says that the effectiveness of Rwanda’s approach to tackling post-Genocide challenges is a vindication of pan-Africans such as the late Joseph Ki-Zerbo, one of the most distinguished African scholars and historian, who challenged the view of imposing, or copy/pasting western development models and values to address local challenges.

Yet, the book calls for sustained innovation and creativity to adapt traditional concepts to current realities.

The success of Rwanda’s home-grown solutions represents a triumph of enduring belief in African heritage over cynicism that always greets this attitude of self-reliance and independence.

Therefore, it is quite refreshing that Rwandan scholars are venturing into this sphere of nation-building by tracing and documenting the country’s audacious choice to look within for mechanisms and inspiration to take on some of the most challenging problems ever faced by any country in recorded history.

Documenting our history is indeed not only in the best interest of the current and immediate next generations but for distant posterity as well.