What is Umuganda in Rwanda? Umuganda translates as “getting together with similar goal to attain an objective.” In Rwanda, people of the community would customarily turn to their family, friends, and neighbors for assistance in completing a tough work.
Umuganda nowadays may be regarded as community service. Every month on the last Saturday, communities gather together to conduct a range of public works projects, which frequently include activities that support infrastructure development and environmental conservation. Rwandans aged 18 to 65 are required to participate, while non-Rwandans residing in Rwanda are urged to do so.
According to the Ministry of Local Government, about 90% of Rwandans now participate in monthly community service. Umuganda projects may involve the construction of schools, medical centres, and hydropower plants, as well as the rehabilitation of wetlands and the creation of extremely productive agricultural plots. Between 2014 and 2019, the average yearly worth of Umuganda to the country’s development was predicted to be about 21 million USD.
While the primary goal of Umuganda is to perform community service, once that labour is over, community members gather to discuss relevant issues. This gathering provides a forum for officials at all levels of government, from village to national, to notify residents about significant news and announcements. It also acts as a place for community members to debate and provide solutions to any difficulties they or the community are experiencing. This period is used to assess what the community has accomplished and to plan activities for the next Umuganda, which takes place a month later.
The Umuganda program in Rwanda has contributed towards roughly 62% of the total cost of classrooms built throughout the Nine and Twelve Years Basic Education (9 & 12 YBE) program’s implementation.
History of Umuganda in Rwanda.
Rwandans were expected to labour for their community leader twice a week in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, whereas Belgians advocated “Umuganda” as a way of life. Hutu elites utilized weekly Umuganda gatherings to mobilize Hutu citizens for genocide in the run-up to the Rwandan genocide. As part of Rwanda’s post-genocide reconstruction efforts, President Paul Kagame mandated that every last Saturday of the month be known as “umunsi w’umuganda,” or “community contribution,” during which all traffic would be stopped for three hours in the morning to allow Rwandans to clean up the war-torn capital.
Umuganda, as it is now known, was established in 2009. In August 2017, Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba launched A Re Sebetseng, a volunteer clean-up initiative inspired by the success of Umuganda in Rwanda. In June 2019, the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) launched a similar initiative in South Sudan.
Is Umuganda in Rwanda Compulsory for everyone?
All Rwandans aged 18 to 65, with the exception of those who are physically unable of participating, are constitutionally obligated to engage in the Umuganda civil conscription program; failure to do so may result in a fine of 5,000 francs ($6). Umuganda has resulted in a significant increase in Rwanda’s cleanliness.
The Thousand Hills Country Rwanda is East Africa’s smallest country and Africa’s second smallest. Rwanda has a diverse range of natural, cultural, historical, and man-made attractions. It is renowned as the cleanest country in East Africa, with clean roads, no plastic bottles and bags, and no rubbish or litter, all of which are prevalent in underdeveloped countries! When compared to other east African countries, Rwanda’s cleanliness is unparalleled. This has been accomplished as a result of “Umuganda“!
Finally, Umuganda was implemented nationally in 2007 and has done a great job of promoting development and harmony in Rwanda by involving various stakeholders such as the Umuganda supervising committee for planning, organizing, and overseeing the activity, local leaders for promoting participation, and the community to take ownership of the project.