Upcountry Insight: RDRC restores hope for ex-combatants

EASTERN PROVINCE NGOMA — Rwanda Demobilization and Reintegration commission has been steadfast in providing an economic lifeline for ex-combatants countrywide.

NGOMA — Rwanda Demobilization and Reintegration commission has been steadfast in providing an economic lifeline for ex-combatants countrywide.

8years down the line ever since it was launched ,many vulnerable Rwandan people who for a long time had lost hope can now afford a smile.

This is due to the fact that many people who were jobless and vulnerable secured jobs and other forms of sustaining their  livelihoods which have since helped them to earn and save after starting small income generating activities.

Many of them were employed in the construction of roads in the eight districts where the commission operates. They earn Rwf.1,000 daily whereby Rwf.700 is given to them as cash while Rwf.300 is deposited on each one’s bank account.

The RDRC was set up to among other things ensure that all the demobilised soldiers in the country and ex-combatants are economically and socially reintegrated into their communities in the interest of unity and reconciliation. 

The ex-combatants receive other forms of appropriate assistance from the RDRC and choose their community of settlement before embarking on a concerted path to economic reintegration.

In order to encourage community participation in development projects, 50 percent of the people who were employed in the road works are local residents including ex-combatants both men and women.

As the commission winds up its activities in the area, it has developed mechanisms to sustain poverty eradication programmes among demobilised soldiers- under a project dubbed Community Based Reintegration (CBR). 

The Commission has now trained them in different vocational skills.After the training, the beneficiaries who share similar skills are expected to form cooperative societies with an intent of  starting small income generating activities.

At least 360 people formerly employed in the construction of roads were trained in weaving baskets commonly known as Agaseke, 305 of them are women eight of whom are ex-combatants.

135 of those trained hail from the Western Province, 60 from the Southern while 165 are from the Eastern province.

On Wednesday, the commission gave out materials to facilitate weavers who were trained in Ngoma and Kirehe districts. Similar materials were earlier handed over to other groups in Rwamagana and Kayonza districts.

Close to Rwf.17.16m was used for the training countrywide.  The materials that include format baskets, colours, weaving needles and razor blades were handed over by Aimable Rwigamba, of RDRC who is in-charge of the CBR project.

‘This is the time for you to prove your potentials  because we have done our part as you requested’, Rwigamba, said while handing over support in the form of the materials to the beneficiaries in Kiyanzi, Nyamugari Sector in Kirehe district.

‘It will be quite absurd if you misuse such chances which seems to be coming your way and at the end you find yourself like those who never got such a chance. Work hand-in-hand with other team members, open your minds and sky will be the limit’, he counselled.

In a separate interview with The New Times, Rwigamba challenged the district authorities  to always monitor the cooperative societies which have been formed out of such initiatives with a n intent of offering them the necessary support that may be need.

‘We have done our part and it’s high time the district plays its part too’, he stressed.

Salome Nyiratunga, a mother of four who is the president of Kiyanzi Agaseke Group in Kirehe district, said they have so far trained a total of 30 people with the assistance from the CBR project.

“We will use the opportunity brought out by CBR to bring change within our families’, she said, calling on concerned authorities to help them secure better market prospects for their products’. 

Francois Mudaheranwa, another beneficiary said: ‘Since I started working with RDRC, there has been a positive change in my life’, adding that he has managed to build his own house.

He appealed for more support in form of sensitisation and training so that they can produce better quality products in order to compete favourably with their competitors.  

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