The success of strong liberal democracies and the economic powerhouses of the world is a coupling of state-sponsored formal education and family planning and child raising. While the true ingredient of freedom is the freedom for a mother to raise her own child, there is the unspoken understanding that on matters of necessity and survival, government and parent will work together.
On Monday Prime Minister Bernard Makuza rightly connected the relationship between household wealth and child health, saying that the two go hand-in-hand. But in reality the correlation goes much further.
The comments made by Makuza echo the concern The New Times has over the disruption and schism between nationally-established goals and the state of child raising in Rwanda today.
In Rwanda, the role of the parent has missed its potential greatly. The economic reasons are sound; many families are focused primarily on feeding their children on a daily basis. Parenting often takes the form of keeping a child healthy and fed. There is not much economic or practical flexibility in truly engendering children into the society their parents wish for them to live. Rarely could it be argued that the majority of families in Rwanda spend sufficient time in truly moulding and raising a child, turning them from blank minds into unique curious souls that are the future of the country.
Currently, one of Rwanda’s most pressing issues, the prevalence, spread and surrounding culture of HIV/Aids is one the government simply cannot fight alone. Short of making testing obligatory, a potential legal and constitutional liability, the future of Rwanda depends heavily on the leadership of parents across the country.
At the state level, testing is voluntary, but to each individual, it should be an obligation. There is not much more the administration can do than sensitise parents to sensitise children. There is simply no other way to reach everyone.
While HIV/Aids continues to be a minor problem relative to the pandemics that have sent other nations into cardiac arrest, its continued suppression is vital to any success Rwanda garners. Billions of dollars, euros and pounds are pumped into the country yearly just to fight the scourge. Not one cent will make a difference if parents don’t first. Ends