EDITORIAL: Others should emulate RDF’s Army Week concept

Many Rwandan institutions have their own unique ways of approaching things. They usually defy norms and cut their own track in the developmental jungle. One such is the Rwanda Defence Forces (RDF) that is ever present, not just to ensure our security, but in day-day nation building. One feature that has been constant over the past few years has been the so-called Army Week, where in the past the armed forces set aside a week to perform community service.

Many Rwandan institutions have their own unique ways of approaching things. They usually defy norms and cut their own track in the developmental jungle.

One such is the Rwanda Defence Forces (RDF) that is ever present, not just to ensure our security, but in day-day nation building.

 

One feature that has been constant over the past few years has been the so-called Army Week, where in the past the armed forces set aside a week to perform community service.

 

They include free medical care, constructing residential houses, schools and health centres, repairing or building roads and bridges.

 

The action has been so successful that now even the police have started their own Police Week.

Appellations could be misleading; the Army Week does no longer last just seven days, this year’s episode will last two months and halfway through their programme, they are making a significant difference.

Keeping young men and women busy, especially those who have time to kill in the absence of fighting wars, not only hones their alertness but it also keeps them out of mischief.

The RDF and police have no time to kill, they are always kept on their toes, but in the service of communities. In a country that barely two decades ago, armed forces conjured images of fear and dread, today’s version is different.

They are busy saving, protecting and helping bring about change; ask that to the people in Darfur, Haiti or the Central African Republic where the RDF is a pillar of stability and a beacon of hope.

This is the kind of spirit that should be exhibited by other professions as well. Social responsibilities should not end at the doorsteps of big corporate organisations and state institutions, it should be everyone’s responsibility.

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