EDITORIAL: Ubudehe: Be open and honest during data collection

A fresh Ubudehe social stratification exercise was launched nationwide yesterday as government moves to update the economic status of individual households to facilitate planning and public service delivery.

A fresh Ubudehe social stratification exercise was launched nationwide yesterday as government moves to update the economic status of individual households to facilitate planning and public service delivery.

Ubudehe has become an important tool for central and local governments as far as planning and service delivery are concerned with data collected in the previous exercise having guided various policy interventions.

From determining households that need specific support under social protection programmes to health care and education services, the social stratification mechanism has enabled government and development partners to extend the much needed support to the most vulnerable and disadvantaged members of society and reduce the gap between rich and poor.

It is programmes such as Ubudehe that helped as many as one million Rwandans to move above the poverty line between 2008 and 2012, significantly contributing toward the achievement of the national development agenda, specifically under the first Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRSI) framework.

The new Ubudehe data collection exercise could not have come at a better time, coming about two years after the launch of EDPRSII, an ambitious economic blueprint that seeks to accelerate the country’s pace of progress toward a middle income economy. Launching the exercise yesterday, Local Government and Social Affairs minister Francis Kaboneka said the data to be collected over the next 100 days will be used to draw up the 2015-16 Budget, which highlights the urgency and critical importance of the exercise.

It is important to note that, while the previous Ubudehe data was instrumental in helping guide delivery of public services, there were cases of alleged miscategorisation that often had negative implications on the households and regions concerned.

As such, those involved in the new exercise, notably the ordinary folk and local leaders, need to draw lessons from the past experiences and give and record data that truly reflects the situation on the ground.

This is not an exercise to ascertain which district has lagged behind in terms of quality of life or which one is doing better, rather it’s designed to help guide planning and future interventions, and should therefore be taken seriously.

There are going to be ramifications when a household that qualifies to be in the first category is instead recorded in the second category, or vice-versa.

Those giving data should be open and honest with those recording it to avoid any possible consequences of documenting misleading information.

Equally important, households should create time for this exercise to avoid unnecessary delays that could affect data collection, consolidation and analysis, which may, in turn, affect the overall timeline.

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