Religious leaders have a major role to play in guiding community through social issues and advance national development goals, the Governor of the Eastern Province, Odette Uwamariya, said.
She made the remarks shortly after a workshop that brought together religious and provincial leaders in the province, in Rwamagana, yesterday.
The governor said the province seeks to engage religious leaders in economic development since they are key partners.
“We have agreed on a number of issues…we shall work closely with them on development. They have enough land, particularly the Catholic Church. We can facilitate them to develop it for the good of our people. Our close partnership will benefit communities,” she said.
Uwamariya emphasised that religious and community leaders have a deep understanding of the needs of the local communities which places them in a unique position.
“We share the same vision and the objective as religious leaders, which is to help this country achieve development. Religions and their leaders have been playing a vital role in national development. Many schools and hospitals were built by religious organisations. Religious leaders are also actively involved in promoting social justice, democracy and people’s welfare. We are happy to have agreed to work closely with them,” the governor added.
Bishop Constantine Gasore, of Restoration Church, said religion had a far reaching role in social and economic transformation of society.
“Economic activities are often driven by people who for the most part are influenced by religious beliefs and behaviours. We have, therefore, made committments to work with local leaders to develop communities,” he said.
Meanwhile, residents said the partnership was long overdue.
“Religious leaders command positions of respect in society. If they get involved it would help in poverty reduction, women’s empowerment, and other development initiatives to be met at the local level. So the partnership will work,” said Aloys Kanamugire, a Christian.