Ruhango is one of the eight districts that make up Southern Province with the population of approximately 330,090 with 52.3% of them being women while 47.6 % are men.
Ruhango district is enhancing development by ensuring that citizens are extricated from the pangs of poverty and divisiveness through good governance.
With efficient government programs, lives have been improved in different parts of the country. Ruhango district was not left behind and many were pulled out of poverty.
Francois Xavier Mbabazi, the mayor of Ruhango district says that the district has done a lot in transforming lives of the citizens and that this would not be possible without the good counsel of his excellence the president Paul Kagame.
“It is under his guidance that we manage to achieve so much economically and because of the security that the country enjoys, we are sure to achieve a lot when it comes to developing our country” says Mbabazi.
The mayor says that the district’s budget has been growing every year for the last seven years between 500 million in 2010 to one billion in 2017. This, he says, has helped the district to address many economic and social issues.
A lot has been achieved in the last seven years. In 2010, there was not a single processing plant in the district but today, Ruhango boasts of four processing plants that are adding value to local produce.
This is a result of different programs that have been initiated and implemented by the government but have, too, been supported and embraced by Rwandans.
He therefore urges Rwandans and Ruhango residents in particular, to never take that for granted, work hard and together for prosperity. “We now have all that is needed as tools for development and with the assistance of the central government, we shall be able to sustainably develop our country” says Mayor Mbabazi.
“Am proud to say that in all sectors; health, education, infrastructure and agriculture, there are tangible results and I thank the central government that has always supported us in achieving these goals” the mayor told The New Times
According to Twigirimana Epimaque Vice mayor in charge of economic development in Ruhango district, 80% of its residents practice agriculture, growing cassava, rice, maize, sorghum, soya and beans.
In line with that, 12% of Ruhango residents practice hillside irrigation during dry seasons. The program helps people to continue their activities even during agriculture-unfriendly periods. The district targets to increase irrigation to 50% to increase production.
The district has purchased 2 tractors that cultivate 600 hectares per season. Tractors are cost-effective given that the price for cultivation of a hectare is Rwf 60,000 while manual cultivation costs Rwf 100,000 per hectare. The initiative is expected to improve professional agriculture in the district.
There are various plants and factories in Ruhango district that did not exist before 2010, making it one of the most developed districts in production and processing.
Kinazi Cassava Plant is based in Ruhango district, established in 2012 and exports cassava flour to neighboring countries, USA and Europe.
Maize is the food crop that was selected to be grown on a large scale in Ruhango. The district today has 8000 hectares of maize, giving an output of 25 tons in a year.
Rice is grown at an area of 1400 hectares located in well organized marshlands. Gafunzo Rice Mill produces 4500 tons of processed rice every year.
There is also another plant in Kabagari that processes pineapple and produces confectioneries. Another factory produces Tofu from soya beans in Ruhango town.
There are 4 milk collection centers in the sectors of Bweramana, Kinazi, Ruhango and Byimana that collect 1200 liters per day from nearly 68,000 cows and supply to Nyanza dairy.
Mayaga coffee grown in the district is among the best coffees in Rwanda. With the government subsidies, farmers are encouraged to grow more coffee in the district. BRD is also financing farmers and today, over six coffee washing stations have been constructed, helping farmers to produce between 200 to 300 tons of washed coffee in a year.
Ruhango District has over 68000 heads of cattle among which 8000 were given to residents through the Girinka program initiated by President Paul Kagame.
Every year, more than 2000 cows of good breeds for meat and milk production are given to poor families to help emancipate them from poverty.
The district today has four milk collection centers and since their installation, the price of milk increased from Rwf150 to Rwf220 per liter.
Before 2010, only four sectors of the district, Kabagari, Ruhango, Bimana and Kinazi had access to electricity. Today, electricity access in the district has considerably increased from 10% to the current 24%. In other words, all the 9 sectors have access to electricity while only 4 sectors had electricity in 2010.
The district today has 40 km of street lights in all the 4 commercial centers; Bimana, Buhanda, Gitwe and Kinazi.
The rollout is extending to all small centers. So far Ntenyo has already been lit with street lights and Karambi, Kizibera and Munyunzwe are to follow suit.
Access to clean water
It is estimated that only 2% of Ruhango residents had access to clean water in 1994. The trend improved to 52% in 2012 and 84% today. Various water supply pipelines were installed to supply water to households, commercial units and social services institutions—schools and hospitals. The AIDER water supply that used to serve Mayaga region was renovated and now supplies water in the sector of Mbuye and other parts of the district as well as Kamonyi and Nyanza districts.
The district has boreholes and piped water lines. A new pipeline of 20km from Ruhango to Nyarurama has been constructed in Mayaga sector and another of 18km from Gahama to Gitwe hospital in Kabagare area.
The government has invested Rwf2.5 billion in the construction of 36 km of national standard roads and though work is still ongoing, 90% of the construction has been done. The road network will help connect farmers from Mayaga region to access market for their produce and also to access health facilities.
The district also has over 200 km of roads that have been rehabilitated under the VUP program. Every year, over 30,000 local residents get jobs from the rehabilitation works.
According to Kambayire Innociata, district social affairs vice mayor, Ruhango population has improved the living standards as various health facilities were established.
From 2010 to 2017, 13 health centers were built or renovated in partnership with family Health International (FHI).
Later on, two health centers were built; Mwendo in 2011 and Munanira in 2013 both of which are up and running. To date, the district boasts of 15 healthy centers.
Ruhango Hospital started to operate in 2012 while renovation of Gitwe Hospital is underway.
Ruhango residents were urged to subscribe to Mutuelle de Santé, a medical insurance facility, whose subscription today stands at 72%.
Since 2010, various centers for HIV/AIDS prevention and counseling were established. All 15 health centers in Ruhango provide HIV/AIDS test and counseling and Anti-retroviral drugs.
Infant mortality in Ruhango district was also reduced due to the program dubbed “integrated community program to fight against infant diseases”. The program was introduced in 2009 and is implemented by paramedics locally known as “Abajyanama b’ubuzima”.
“DOTS communautaire”, a program for the fight against Tuberculosis is working in all health centers and has contributed to the reduction of TB.
In partnership with the Ministry of health, mosquito nets were distributed in 2015 and every bed has a mosquito net. The voluntary HIV/AIDS test has increased from 9% to 45%.
Family planning has also increased from 54.8% last year to 67.8% and the percentage of pregnant women delivering at healthy centers has increased from 90% in 2015 to 97% in 2017
In Ruhango district, the number of primary students has increased from 73,705 to 83,015 and in secondary, the number also increased from 13,212 in 2015 to 21,761 in 2017.
The district has also built 415 new class rooms in the last fiscal year and two new Vocational training centers in Ntungwe and Vunga sectors.
Reducing child and maternal mortality
The rate of mothers who deliver at hospital has increased from 45% to 97%. This has contributed to the reduction of child and maternal mortality. The vaccination for newborns, from birth to 11 months has increased from 75% to 97%.
Family planning has increased from 18% to 75%. Malnutrition among the infants has also notably been curbed. Only 198 are left among 1818 children who had malnutrition.
Children were given milk and healthy diet. Cows were given to the families which stimulated milk production and staved off food and nutritional insecurity. They were also taught to prepare healthy diets and plant vegetables in their backyard or the kitchen garden locally known as Akarima k’igikoni.
Community health workers or “Abajyanama b’ubuzima” were trained on following up children’s growth at the village level.
Performance-based financing through which bonuses are given to medics and community health workers has improved service delivery among health workers.
Community health workers were also put together in cooperatives to enhance their services. There are currently 15 cooperatives that are equivalent to the 15 health centers in the district.
Each cooperative is given a bonus according to how they performed. They were also given mobile phones to ease communication.
In the aftermath of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi, most infrastructures were destroyed and many people were left unsheltered. The government has done a lot to mend the damages. In view of that, Ruhango district built houses for 3,417 vulnerable genocide survivors and provided direct support, a program for needy people, to 7,819 more. This helped genocide survivors, most of whom had lost hope, to recover and regain dignity; 4135 genocide survivors were also educated. The district also constructed houses for 40 historically marginalized people.
The Vision Umurenge Program (VUP) is an integrated local development program to accelerate poverty eradication, rural growth and social protection. Through this program, 5,588 vulnerable people in Ruhango were supported.
The “bye bye Nyakatsi”, a campaign to eradicate thatched houses or Nyakatsi is one of the community development and social welfare programs. In Ruhango 699 people who lived in such houses were relocated and given decent dwelling units.
The elderly people are also helped to improve their livelihoods or even extend their lifespan. In that regard, two groups of the elderly people in Ruhango were supported.
The district also helped 374 vulnerable families get houses, financed 612 students from those families who could not afford education and 12 youth from the historically marginalized families were educated in the vocational training programs.
Through the “Hanga Umurimo”, an initiative that incubates entrepreneurial skills among young people and help them access finance, 180 youth were educated and 125 young people were trained in the “Kora wigire” national employment program.
Ruhango district also looks to developing religious-based tourism through the Kanyarira Mountain, a place considered “a holy mountain” that attracts many people for prayers. The district plans to build more accommodation for the pilgrims.
The district also plans to adopt the Macadamia, geranium among other projects.
Although a lot were achieved in Ruhango, there are more to do for a better tomorrow of its citizens.
Mayor Mbabazi considers unity among people as central to all ambitions and calls upon Ruhango residents to embrace unity among them. He also urges them to accustom themselves to the culture of saving as well as mind-set change towards self-reliance.
According to Uwimana Fortunee the Executive secretary of Ruhango district, the first ladies’ push for the Early Childhood Development (ECD) Policy, under the coordination of the Ministry of Gender and Family promotion (MIGEPROF), is envisioned to ensure improved quality and equal access to ECD services by all infants in Rwanda.
“We thank every one who has worked towards the development of our country but special thanks go to the president of the republic of Rwanda Paul Kagame and the first lady Jeanette Kagame who have shown love for their citizens,” he appreciates.
In doing so, the policy will promote and ensure a conducive environment for the holistic development of children in Rwanda.
In Rwanda, 52 percent of the population is under 18 years, according to the national census, 2012. The number of infants from birth until the age of six represents 24 percent of the population. Investing in the improvement of the lives of this group will ensure their future prosperity, and subsequently, that of the nation.