Rwandans need to have credible knowledge of the East African Community integration process and play an active role in all integration activities if they are to make the process a success.
Speaking during a four-day workshop organised by the Rwanda Civil Society Platform in Musanze District, officials said there is still a lot to be desired in the public’s perception of the functioning of the bloc.
The workshop is part of a countrywide campaign to bring local leaders, especially in the countryside, on board of the integration process.
The training, organised by the EAC Civil Society Organisation Forum (Rwanda Chapter), in conjunction with the Ministry of East African Community Affairs, is targeting executive secretaries of all sectors, and representatives for the youth, women and people with disabilities.
Thaddee Karekezi, the executive secretary of Rwanda Civil Society Platform, said the training would make citizens aware of what EAC is and the role they can play to benefit from it.
Two-year awareness drive
He said the programme to train more people is ongoing and it will last two years, long enough to reach every Rwandan.
“The rationale of the training is to help all Rwandans understand EAC context and get involved in its integration process, what is clear is that not many have knowledge about it, we want them to know that EAC is people-centred and market-driven community,” said Karekezi.
“Businesspeople and the community in general should have a say in issues affecting the region. They should also understand that the community was established in their interest,” he added.
The training mainly covers the Customs Union and Common Market protocols, as well as the envisaged monetary union and political federation.
“This training is significant, I realised there were very many things about the integration process I did not know which means there are more people out there who are ignorant and I will do my best to spread the word,” said Olive Josiane Muhimpundu, a youth representative in Musanze district.
Similar trainings have been provided to local leaders and representatives in the districts of Rubavu, Rusizi, Rulindo, Burera, Gasabo and Nyamasheke.