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Rwanda Revisits Social Protection Scheme

by Jean de la Croix Tabaro
6:50 pm

A beneficiary of social support in Rwanda

Rwanda has started a process to revise social protection scheme (ubudehe) after recurrent complaints of citizens who blame local government authorities for ‘being corrupt’ in classification of citizens according to their social economic means.

According to this classification which started humbly in 2001, the government provides direct support, financial support, medication fees among other support to the poor while the middle-income earner and the rich have to be self-reliant.

In 2014, the categories were narrowed down to four from seven categories.

By then, they had become a basis for every service delivery; giving cows, public works, awarding government scholarships and other vital services in Rwandan community.

Citizen have been filing complaints claiming that they were put in categories of the rich while they are socially vulnerable.

However, the government which had spent billions on the poor by 2016, also claimed that a greater number of families that were supported are not graduating from poverty to a socially better category, which raises serious concerns.

Early March 2019, the Ministry of Local Government (Minaloc) will start a citizen outreach program intended to seek views on how better the classification can be conducted satisfactorily.

The move also intends to ensure that the government does not spend money in vain.

“We wish to have effective and functional classifications where a household can graduate from poverty within a definite period of time. After this meeting, we shall reach out to the people to seek their views on how we can achieve that,” Professor Anastase Shyaka, Minister of Local government said on Thursday during a meeting that brought together social protection players in the country.

Shyaka said, poverty should not be a legacy in a given family.

The Minister said that the classification will have clear indicators to remove doubts and prejudices.

“In the current categorization, we would decide that a homeless family belongs to the first category of the poorest, but after building the house, we find no change. We need to remove such loopholes,” Minister Shyaka said.

“We want the exercise to be as transparent as possible. We shall involve the citizen so that they decide their fate, themselves.”