The Third Africa Sanitation and Hygiene conference (AfricaSan 3), concluded in Kigali, this week, with calls to mobilize of all the available resources to meet Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by the 2015 deadline.
Addressing the delegates, President Paul Kagame, stated that Africa does not necessarily need donor support to meet the hygiene-related targets, explaining that the primary responsibility to address the challenges the continent face rests with the African people.
The observation cannot be more relevant considering that Africa has, over the years, received trillions of dollars in donor funding, yet there’s little on the ground to show for it. The recent experience in a number of developing countries, Rwanda inclusive, shows that where there is adequate political will and a sense of ownership among the people, development has been faster and far-reaching.
In Rwanda, for instance, the ordinary people have played a critical role in ensuring the prevailing cleanliness and orderliness in public places, and evidence based facts show that the trend is getting entrenched in individual homes.
It is also through community work that classrooms were constructed in record time, for the Nine-Year Basic Education programme, without having to rely on foreign aid.
Such voluntary initiatives were also instrumental in the anti-Nyakatsi drive, which saw Rwandan families move into descent housing.
The people are playing a central role in efforts to attain of the MDGs, as they have done with many other projects that have improved their welfare, however, this has been possible as a result of the existing political will and exemplary leadership.