The Government of Rwanda has, over the years, come up with various homegrown initiatives designed to help address challenges facing the people and the country at large, some peculiar to Rwanda.
One of them is Umugoroba w’Ababyeyi or the parents’ forum, which was officially launched in March 2013, as a platform that brings together residents from the same neighbourhood to discuss and try to find solutions to pertinent issues affecting the community or some of its members.
These issues range from domestic violence, child abuse and gender based violence to promotion of a savings culture, healthy feeding, family planning, and cooperatives.
Four years down the road, testimonies are abound of how the initiative has since helped mend family relationships, promote behavioral change and enhanced quality of life.
Just last week, a couple in Rubavu District testified of how Umugoroba w’Ababyeyi had helped rekindle their relationship and saved their family from total collapse after the husband heed counsel from the forum peers to return to his family having previously walked out on them.
Today, the formerly estranged couple are now rebuilding themselves and happily forging a bright future for their children.
Stories like that of Jonas Sinzabashobora and his wife Consolate Nyirahabimana, the residents of Kabarora Cell in Rugerero Sector, Rubavu District, are commonplace in areas that have embraced the essence of Umugoroba w’Ababyeyi across the country.
The most important aspect of this programme is that it is the residents themselves that devise a solution to the challenge at hand. As a result, this has fostered harmony among previously quarrelsome families and communities – thereby minimising risk of violence.
While the initiative is believed to be more effective in rural settings, it’s important that even urban dwellers embrace it as they face the same – if not more – challenges that the initiative has helped address in the countryside.
Mostly, local leaders and officials in charge of family promotion should play an active role in ensuring that the initiative remains relevant and serves its intended purpose.