The Irish ambassador designate to Rwanda has reaffirmed his government’s commitment to supporting locally initiated development projects in Rwanda.
Dónal Cronin made the remarks while touring Concern Worldwide’s activities in Huye District on Wednesday.
He noted that the fight against poverty in the country was yielding good results.
“Rwanda has a plan for the future. The local government and communities down to the household level have plans, performance contracts and work toward achieving their targets,” he said.
He said the government of Ireland, through Concern Worldwide, was committed to supporting development initiatives by the people of Rwanda.
“You need local solutions to your problems. We do not come here to tell you what to do. Our aim is to work closely with Rwanda to support and develop its own people,” Cronin said.
Concern Worldwide, an Ireland founded international humanitarian organisation, supplements government’s social affairs programmes.
One of the beneficiaries, Gertrude Mukarwego, 66, a resident of Rusatira Sector, said since 2012, she was getting Rwf12,000 social support per month under the NGO’s livelihood programme which she used to construct a modern house.
“Now I have a roof over my head. I’m no longer worried about rain,” she said.
She also managed to save and invest some money into small income-generating activities.
“I was in the first Ubudehe category and could only get what to eat after working on other people’s farms. I now have my own garden and six goats,” she said.
Another beneficiary, Jean Claude Minani, 24, from Rusatira Sector, said that following the death of his parents seven years ago, he had to fend for his sister, now 17 years old.
Minani said he was forced to drop out of school in S2 to look after his little sister.
“We survived through carrying luggage for people,” he said.
But with 18,000 social support per month, Minani says life has changed for the better.
“I used the money to buy a bicycle taxi and later acquired my own motorcycle on credit. I have also managed to build a house and so far repaid Rwf1.2 million of the Rwf1.8m loan. I am also paying fees for my sister who is doing a tailoring course,” he said, adding that his dream is to own a car.
Odette Kweli, Concern Worldwide Area Coordinator for Southern Province, said a family gets between Rwf7,500 and Rwf21,000 depending on the number of people in a household under the 2012–2016 social protection programme.
She said each family also gets between Rwf65,000 and 75,000 in ‘Nshore Nunguke’ (Investing for profit), after 12 months of the normal support.
Those supported are from the first and second Ubudehe categories and are selected through Community Participatory Appraisal (CPA).
We deploy mentors to help identify profitable projects for beneficiaries based on family’s priority. Each mentor serves 15 households and we follow up to ensure they are undertaken,” Kweli said.
The objective of Concern Worldwide is to contribute toward improved food security and the elimination of malnutrition in rural areas.
It has so far reached over 1.2 million people in Huye, Nyaruguru, Nyamagabe and Gisagara districts with nutrition specific interventions.
Eugene Kayiranga, the Huye District Mayor, said Concern has helped in health promotion, improved welfare through cooperatives, education and poverty reduction in the district.
He appealed to people to maximise the support they get to become self-reliant.