With slightly scattered rain showers across the country, Rwandans today woke up to conduct the first community work -Umuganda for 2017.
Umuganda activities always conducted on the last Saturday of every month included; repairing broken water pipes, painting zebra crossings, pruning in plantations, irrigation, molding bricks, planting trees and leveling feeder roads and clearing shrubs.
Government officials including; senators, deputies were spotted in several parts of the country where they joined residents for community work.
Umuganda is a traditional practice dating back in the pre-colonial period during which community members gathered for a common purpose such as attending a community court to deal with a case.
Community work activities have economic and social impacts – big projects such as schools, medical centers and reparation of hydroelectric plants as well as rehabilitating wetlands, have been accomplished.
Sensitization campaigns have increased citizens’ participation to more than 80%.
In September last year, the Local government ministry revealed that Umuganda activities had helped the country save over Rwf106bn in a period between 2007 and 2016.
According to the directorate of territorial administration in the local government Ministry, community works were worth Rwf4.1bn in 2007, Rwf4.8bn in 2008, Rwf9.4bn in 2009, Rwf7.3bn in 2010-2011, Rwf12.5bn in 2011-2012, Rwf12.7bn in 2012-2013, and Rwf17bn in 2013-2014.
The assessment also indicates that the value of community works increased to Rwf19bn in 2014-2015 and Rwf19.2bn in 2015-2016.