Ex-combatants should be major catalysts in problem solving in their respective in line with the country’s Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS).
The call was made Wednesday by Fred Nyamurangwa, Chairman of Rwanda Demobilisation and Reintegration Commission (RDRC) during the official launch of the National Conference on Participation of ex-Combatants in EDPRS Programmes in Kigali.
“The ex-combatants are shifting from armed struggle to life struggle. They are supposed to fight poverty. Their contribution is therefore highly needed in the country’s rebuilding process,” he said.
Nyamurangwa called on the ex-combatants to work toward their families’ socio-economic welfare.
During the conference held under the theme; ‘Enhancing participation of Ex-Combatants in Social and Economic Development’, ex-combatants were asked to take advantage of the various opportunities at their disposal to improve socio-economic welfare.
Faustin Kunde Gashugi, an ex-combatant who parted ways with FDLR, said his efforts in agriculture and business has made a huge impact.
“I had to start a new life just banking on hope since. I am happy that my neighbours have learned from my various business activities formerly deemed impossible. I feel like I cannot lose the battle against poverty since I was able to survive war,” he noted.
Gashugi says he owns agricultural and livestock businesses valued at Rwf 65 million.
So far, over 70,000 ex-combatants have been demobilised rejoining the community to start a new life. They formed cooperatives where they share ideas on doing different businesses.
Felix Mutangana, the Director of Human Resources at Private Sector Federation, said veterans’ contribution was still needed in various aspects of development.
“Ex-combatants have done and are doing a remarkable job at the moment in contributing to the development of the country. However, the country still has a long journey ahead,” he said.
He urged their cooperatives to join professional associations for more advocacy, capacity building, and networking.
Participants recommended to empower ex-combatants with professional and technical skills, basic training in crop and livestock production and multiplication as well as ensuring affordable health and education is provided ex-combatants’ children.