The government is seeking more civil society partnership in delivery of social protection programmes, specifically Girinka and VUP programmes.
This was said on Thursday by Théodore Mutabazi, the head of political parties and civil society department at Rwanda Governance Board (RGB).
During a meeting bringing together officials from Local Administrative Entities Development Agency (LODA), civil society organisations and Local Government in Kigali, Mutabazi said that his institution had six months to concentrate on helping eight districts that continue to lag behind in the Vision 2020 Umurenge (VUP) and Girinka programmes to catch up.
The districts are Nyamasheke, Ngoma, Muhanga, Nyaruguru, Gakenke and Rutsiro, among others.
“Last year, we were given a responsibility to help LODA, RAB and other grassroots organs to speed up this group. We are given six months to concentrate on the eight districts that are still lagging behind in this programme,” he said.
“There has been an issue of lack of proper coordination between grassroots authorities and the civil society but now they are going to sign an amended agreement that will clearly indicate everyone’s role from the time one is chosen as a beneficiary of a cow to making sure that the list is authentic, controlling malpractices that have marred this project,” he said.
Mutabazi also said that RGB will coordinate civil society so that those organisations can work hand in hand with grassroots authorities to get closer to the local population and offer a hand that will see them rise from poverty.
“One of the strategies is to change the people’s mindset. We will be monitoring the civil society to see how they are sensitising locals on the small changes that can transform their lives in a big way,” he said.
The Director for the Social Protection Programme at LODA, Justin Gatsinzi, said that the government is keen on building stronger partnership with the civil society in sensitisation, human rights promotion, proper allocation of resources and capacity building of the local population.
“Everyone’s contribution is vital in the development of the nation. The last survey we conducted in 2014 indicated that people living below the poverty line stood at 16.3 per cent. In 2000/2001, we were at 40 per cent and this indicates that big strides have been made,” he said.
The Country Director of Heifer International, Dr Charles Kayumba, touched on one of the VUP programmes called ‘Inkongoro Y’Umwana”, which seeks to provide free milk to children from impoverished families to promote their health.
Kayumba said that the programme was not working well since the process is too long making the milk getting to the children too late or ending up in wrong hands.
“There was an issue with this programme because of lack of proper mechanisms which cause many children to miss out and the milk to be sold by the ones in charge of distribution. Originally, the trarget was supplying to two million children, today, the milk gets to only eight hundred thousand. I think it would work better if the chain of distribution was shorter,” he said.
According to integrated household living conditions survey, from 2005 to 2014, poverty in Rwanda has reduced by twelve percentage points, from 57 per cent to 39.1 per cent, while extreme poverty has dropped from 36 per cent to 16 per cent. This is mainly attributed to social protection programmes.