• Awards best performers
GASABO - President Paul Kagame yesterday awarded the best performing Cells and individuals who successfully implemented and achieved Ubudehe goals.
Ubudehe, a form of traditional mutual assistance, operates at the lowest administrative unit, the Cell, and brings together all members of the community to assess their socio-economic conditions, define their priorities and decide on what to do in order to improve their well being.
Speaking at the award-giving ceremony, President Kagame said that Ubudehe is a clear indicator of a responsible and accountable society.
“It is a clear indication of how Rwandan people have managed to solve their own problems by listing their priorities, needs and making decisions by themselves,” Kagame said.
He commended Ubudehe, pointing out that it contributes a lot to other national development programmes like Gacaca (traditional method of restorative justice), Umuganda (Communal work), Imihigo (Performance Contracts) and other national programmes. He added that it was also an effective strategy for poverty reduction.
“Poverty is a mindset and getting out of it is by making just a simple decision. If we continue with this success record, the country will develop quickly,” he noted.
In a related development, Rwanda’s Ubudehe recently scooped a United Nations trophy as the best managed and implemented development programme.
The Public Service Award trophy was yesterday handed over to President Kagame, who in turn hailed the local government for the success that had led to Rwanda being crowned the best performer in public service accountability.
Kagame also criticised reports that there was no accountability in Rwanda, saying that the criticisms are baseless.
“Recently, I was reading a report that put Rwanda among countries with the least accountability and public voice. Now we are here celebrating the accountability award. We have the truth here and it will always show itself,” he said.
Handing over the award to the President, the Minister of Local Government, Protais Musoni, said that Ubudehe received the better management-better public service award in a function that was held in the United States.
The competition drew over 150 countries from all over the world, and Rwanda emerged the best out of the 12 countries which made it to the final.
Minister Musoni said that the judges considered local people’s participation in decision making, transparency and accountability.
“Ubudehe has greatly contributed in improving people’s livelihoods,” Musoni noted.
The Ubudehe programme operates under the Ministry of Local Government (MINALOC) jointly funded by the Rwandan government and the European Union.
The ceremony was also attended by the European Union Head of Delegation in Rwanda, David MacRae. Speaking at the function, he said that the European Union was proud to be associated with the award, and congratulated the Rwandan community for their active participation in poverty reduction.
“The EU has been a strong partner of Ubudehe and I have personally witnessed Ubudehe programme changing people’s lives,” said MacRae.
Stakeholders in the Ubudehe programme include the Common Development Fund (CDF), MINALOC, Action Aid, Belgium, provincial administrators and members of the community.
The UN-sponsored competition is held annually and this was its sixth edition. Countries send in details of their best programmes, together with the performance indicators, and the United Nations selects the winner.