On 27 June 2009 His Excellency the President of the Republic of Rwanda who is also the Commander – in –Chief of the Rwanda Defence Forces [RDF] joined the residents of Gahanga Sector in Kicukiro District, Kigali in the monthly community work [Umuganda] where he officially launched the Army Week and commended the RDF for the initiative. The Army week will officially run from 26 June to 18 July 2009.
The idea of the Army Week was conceived by the RDF leadership as a series of practical and high value socio-economic activities that will culminate into the 15th Liberation Day celebrations and run even beyond.
As the President put it when he was setting the tone, “the battle for liberation did not stop at the victory over tyranny and stopping the genocide against the Tutsi”. It is against the same conviction that the RDF came up with the idea of the Army Week.
Like in the past, the RDF will join hands with all Rwandans in various activities aimed at fighting poverty, diseases, ignorance, hunger and lack of shelter for the vulnerable members of the population especially orphans and genocide survivors.
The activities that will be carried out throughout the Week include medical operations in the fields of general and orthopedic surgery, dental and ophthalmology.
Other health activities include HIV – AIDS awareness campaign, blood donation and voluntary testing for HIV/AIDS as well as the donation of mosquito nets to the needy.
Fifteen thousand [15,000] mosquito nets will be donated to the needy in all the thirty districts in Rwanda. A total of 270 general and orthopedic cases; 3000 dental cases; 400 ophthalmology [blind and half blind] cases will be treated during the Army Week.
Blood donation will be carried out in 33 designated centers country wide while voluntary testing for HIV/AIDS will be carried out in 11 districts. In addition, 60 health posts will be constructed country wide.
In the agricultural sector, the RDF is working with members of the general public in the preparation and development of marshlands. About 400 hectares of marshland along Akagera and Akanyaru rivers will be prepared for maize planting during Season C.
Other agricultural programmes that will be carried out during the Week include clearing of poor banana plantations; construction of 10 rearing houses for silkworms in ten different districts as well as carrying out artificial insemination.
The RDF is also taking the lead in infrastructure development. Together with the population they will carry out construction and rehabilitation of roads and bridges as well as putting in place basic infrastructure for one Umudugu in every cell. Similarly, one mudugudu will be built in every Sector.
A number of projects aimed at supporting vulnerable people especially orphans and survivors of genocide will also be undertaken during the Army Week.
Apart from the houses for the vulnerable category, land for orphans and genocide survivors will be identified, surveyed and mapped. The ownership and implementation of “One Dollar Campaign” will also be discussed at the grass root levels during the Army Week.
The concept of Army Week is an initiative of the RDF that is carried out in the interests of all Rwandans. The activities are carried out through appropriate organs because the RDF is by Constitution subordinated to civilian authority.
This is precisely why the Ministry of Local Government [MINALOC] is the lead agency in all the developmental activities. The RDF is also working hand in hand with other stakeholders besides MINALOC and members of the general public.
Indeed the RDF is working closely with the Ministry of Health; Ministry of Agriculture; Ministry of Youth; Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Information, the Office of the Land Registrar, the Ministry of Internal Security as well as one of its agencies, the Rwanda National Police.
In addition, the RDF is working with its long time and enthusiastic partner, UNIFEM. There are other institutions that have shown keen interest in the ongoing activities.
The New Artel, Rwanda Development Board - Rwanda Information Technology Agency [RDB - RITA] and ORINFOR are on the ground and working closely with the RDF and other stakeholders.
The contribution by these institutions has enabled the National Television to provide live broadcasts of some key programmes being undertaken by Rwandans.
The RDF takes this opportunity to thank the members of the general public and all stakeholders for their cooperation in this noble project of building a prosperous Rwanda. Happy Liberation Day.
Major Jill Rutaremara