Four Crucial Programs on Poverty Eradication in Rwanda
Rwanda has one of the fastest developing economies in Africa. This economic development depends greatly on poverty eradication in all parts of the country. Over the past 20 years, the Rwandan government has partnered with a number of organizations to start initiatives geared towards poverty eradication in Rwanda. These programs would help the poor by reaching the needs of local communities. Here are four initiatives meant to help end poverty in Rwanda.

Four Programs That Will Solve Poverty Eradication in Rwanda

  1. Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategies (EDPRS): From 2008 to 2018, the government of Rwanda began Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategies one and two. These five-year campaigns focused on growing the country’s GDP, reducing the country’s poverty rates and reducing the income inequality between households. These campaigns followed the closing of the first Poverty Reduction Strategy which focused on emergency recovery from the effects of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. Moreover, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) reports that during the first five years of EDPRS I, GDP grew at an annual average rate of 8%. In addition, poverty in Rwanda dropped from 57% in 2006 to 45% in 2011. During strategy two of EDPRS, the government reinforced the district-based performance contract for better implementation and evaluation of the set poverty-reduction goals.
  2. One-Cow-Per-Family (Girinka Program): The Girinka Program was started in 2006 by the president of Rwanda, Paul Kagame. This program started after the realization that there were high numbers of malnourished children in poor families. The goal of the program is to tackle malnutrition in rural areas of Rwanda by giving one cow to each family. The benefits of the initiative would expand as cows reproduced calves and these calves were given to other families in need. The cows produced milk and the excess was sold to local dairy facilities. This helps the families greatly as they gain income from the cows while also being able to feed themselves.
  3. Umuganda: Umuganda means community work. It is common knowledge in Rwanda that on the last Saturday of the month, people will gather in their local communities to do community work. This work involves building houses for the homeless, cutting weeds in the neighborhood, helping in the construction of roads, bridges, schools, hospitals and other necessary buildings in the local community. Additionally, Umuganda involves cleaning up the streets in urban areas. This extra activity helps to prevent pollution-related disease transmissions while discouraging littering. These community works are the norm in the country. In addition, every adult in a healthy condition is expected to show up at these events. Umuganda has been a channel for helping the poor in local communities. This activity encourages support and gives back to the community. After Umuganda, local leaders hold a community gathering. At the gathering, there are discussions of problems in the community and solutions reached accordingly.
  4. Savings and Credits Cooperatives (SACCOs): SACCOs are widely known as Umurenge SACCOs. The government of Rwanda started this initiative in 2008. The initiative aims to encourage financial inclusion. Umurenge SACCOs became more popular in rural areas where big commercial banks are often inaccessible. The Rwandan Cooperative Agency reports that these SACCOs focus on boosting rural savings and providing Rwandans with loans to help enhance their livelihoods in the long term. By 2012, SACCOs doubled the number of Rwandans who used a formal financial institution for banking and significantly improved financial literacy in rural areas of the country.

These poverty eradication programs have shown great results over the years. They reached many remote communities that are often forgotten. With the spread of technology in the country, the coming years promise better numbers on this journey of poverty eradication in Rwanda.

Renova Uwingabire
Photo: Flickr