The Africa Philanthropy Forum has just ended in Kigali and it brought together important personalities from around the world. Surprisingly, it failed to resonate among many yet, being held here, was a testament to the charitable culture in Rwandan society.
Philanthropy is usually associated with the rich giving to the poor. The United States leads in this field with over $ 350 billion donated to charity in the last year.
Many philanthropists do so out of a sense of gratitude to society or contributing to the welfare of others. In the most advanced economies, the donations to charitable works are tax deductable and therefore induce philanthropists to willingly open their purses.
Rwandans have their own form of philanthropy that would be difficult to translate into monetary terms. Many of Rwanda’s policies are hinged on philanthropic values but are hardly monetized except in some few cases of the monthly community work (Umuganda) where the value of work done is costed.
The government should come with ways to calculate the value of some of the home grown solutions that have been key in improving the welfare of its people. When it was announced last year that over a million people had been uplifted from poverty, it should have been given a price tag to give a clear picture of what it meant economically and reflected in the country’s fiscal history.
The same goes to national interventions such as Girinka, (an agricultural programme designed to distribute free livestock to the less privileged to increase their income through dairy farming), orUbudehe, aimed at uplifting the most vulnerable as well as the value of universal education.
All the above mentioned and others are part an inherent Rwanda culture that seeks to lend a helping hand to the next person. They should be monetized to give the true value of the work done as they positively impact on a country’s economic health.