The Government is promoting an ambitious plan to set aside settlement sites in different parts of the country and invest in building ‘model villages’ therein as part of efforts to modernise rural settlements.
Each of the 30 districts in the country is expected to identity and set aside at least one planned settlement site where the government can construct homes for indigent people living in high-risk zones, as well as accommodate other well-off citizens who wish to build their own homes and live alongside indigent compatriots.
These ‘model villages’ are designed to be fully connected to essential infrastructure like roads, water, electricity, schools, health posts, and local markets
These dreams cannot be overestimated and Rwandans cannot be proud and thankful enough to a servant government that puts the interest of its people at the apex of service delivery.
But all is not that glossy.
The old adage that it is better to teach a man to fish than to give them fish should and must come in to complement the model villages. Humans, by nature, are inclined to sit on their laurels if they know that there is a boon that might come their way.
Whereas a model village would be a blessing to indigent citizens, giving them resources and investing other deliberate efforts to see the citizens shake off the yoke of indigence would be as worthwhile.
The Government has been magnanimous in its efforts to support and uplift the vulnerable population through projects such as VUP Umurenge, Girinka, and others. Model villages will further raise the performance score of the government.
But officials behind the project need to device campaigns targeting other indigents with the aim of instilling in them the virtue of never giving up, never slacking and not putting all their eggs in the government’s basket.There should never be room for incidents at the grassroots where citizens sit back and say, “the Government will provide.”
The Government’s providence should be backed by socio-economic enlightenment at the grassroots.