Yesterday Monday, October 6, was World Habitat Day, and for Rwanda it was special because Kigali City received an award, the Habitat Scroll of Honour.
Kigali is the first city in Africa to receive the prestigious Habitat award since the United Nations Human Settlements programme launched it in 1989.
To be sure, there are other cities that were also honoured: the Chinese cities of Shaoxing and Zhangjiagang, the Russian city of Bugulma, and Juarez, a Mexican city.
It is with such cities that Rwanda, and Kigali specifically, shared the honours. And to say that this is mind boggling would be an understatement. Kigali is a city that started resurrecting just the other day!
Contrary to popular belief, Kigali did not win the award primarily because of its cleanliness, though of course it can win this without a hassle if there was one.
The Habitat Scroll of Honour is awarded to cities that make huge strides in addressing the shelter challenges, especially for the homeless; and generally improving the housing situation so as to have better quality of life for the urban population.
The Batsinda housing project must have impressed, as the city council tries to provide decent houses to low income earners who were previously residing in lower Kiyovu slums.
Kigali City Council’s partnership with other stakeholders like the National Social Security Fund of Rwanda (CSR) and others to provide adequate housing to people has not only changed Kigali’s look and social life, but it has also been noticed internationally and approved, as in the case of this award.
All this is only possible through a determined, selfless and focused leadership, a leadership that acts, to all intents and purposes, for the betterment of its citizenry.
It is such qualities that are standing Rwanda in good stead, to win positive recognition in many areas, as it strives not only to rebuild, but also build a just, industrious and healthy society.