Editorial: Social protection tools are not infallible, they need constant monitoring

Ubudehe is one of the home-grown solutions that have been applied to Rwanda’s developmental journey.

It is a social protection tool where the population is put in different categories depending on their financial status. The lowest categories, One and Two, receive support from the state that includes free health insurance coverage and livestock.

Ubudehe has made a great impact on the socio-economic transformation of the population, and like most free advantages, the categorization exercise has been prone to abuse with people jockeying to be placed in categories that give advantages.

Sometimes the abuse was also the work of local leaders, who, in a bid to show that their administrative area was doing well, were prone to place people in higher categories so as to get high marks during the performance contracts Mayors sign every year with the President of the republic.

So when Transparency International Rwanda carries out a survey that shows that a sizeable portion is in the wrong category, the government should be worried instead of going on the defensive that the outcome of the survey was exaggerated.

The results of the survey are very interesting; 38.5 per cent complain that they missed out on the benefits because they were placed in the wrong category and therefore seek redress. On the other hand, 23.6 per cent say they are getting services that they are not supposed to get.

Definitely, Ubudehe still has teething problems that will have to be dealt with. If more than a third of the population claim that they are being left out, it should be enough to arouse the government’s curiosity and send teams on the ground,

For a government official to simply dismiss the survey results terming them “exaggerations” without double-checking, that is starting on the wrong footing.

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