As part of their two week activities in Rwanda, members of the UK Conservatives Party, under the Umubano project, Saturday took part in community work (Umuganda) in Gikondo sector Kicukiro district.
The delegation took part in digging a drainage ditch to streamline the area’s water channels which had ruptured and in turn destroyed the road.
Andrew Mitchell, the leader of the Conservatives delegation described their community work experience as a resourceful encounter with the local community.
“It provides us a good example to engage in community work alongside the local community. We don’t have this at home so we find it a really exciting and a constructive model which we can emulate,” Mitchell said.
He commended this approach to community welfare, adding that it is an important tool of empowering people to participate in their development.
“We find Umuganda inspiring especially in the way it brings people together for a constructive purpose.”
The 105 member delegation includes doctors, legal professionals, teachers and private sector experts. In its two week visit it will undertake activities involved in their Umubano establishment in which they partner with various government sectors in capacity building.
James Musoni, the Minister of Finance acknowledged the delegation’s contribution to the various sectors of the country.
“They are doing a great job here. Apart from today’s activity, they are partnering in building capacity in various sectors such as health, education, justice and the private sector, all geared at improving our capacity.”
Rwanda’s Ambassador to the UK, Claver Gatete, said that this is part of the Conservative Party’s effort to try out a new International Development concept where donor nations try to understand the dynamics and challenges in the countries they partner with.
“It’s the reason why the Project Umubano was established, to promote a people to people cooperation for a long lasting, fruitful and real partnership,” Amb. Gatete said.
The ambassador added that it’s not only Conservative Party Members of Parliament that are here but ordinary UK people in various disciplines.
“They were so impressed with Umuganda and they said they might try to push for the same back home.”
Anthony Frieze, a member of the delegation who is partnering in the private sector, commended the strides Rwanda has taken in realizing development. On this note, he gave credit to the forward looking leadership in steering this progress.
“Rwanda is a very ambitious country, enthusiastic in achieving its positive goals. Their development is very infectious.”
He added that the delegation will be ambassadors of Rwanda when they go back.
Constructing the drainage system and the water channels is estimated to have cost about Rwf 14 million.
The team led by Mitchell had paid a courtesy call to President Kagame on Friday where they discussed a number of issues of interests to both sides.