This National Human Development Report (NHDR) is a flagship product of UNDP. It examines the contribution of innovative policies to sustainable Human Development. The inspiration for delving into the unique nature of Rwanda’s Home-Grown Solutions came from the remarkable progress in human development that has been achieved since the mid-1990s.
Rwanda’s progress in human development has been impressive. Between 1990 and 2017, her Human Development Index (HDI) value has more than doubled from 0.250 to 0.524, the highest average growth in the world.
The relevance of the HGSs to the rapid progress that has been made in the spheres of good governance, economic growth, and human development in all its dimensions cannot be overemphasised.
A statistical update shows that between 1990 and 2019, Rwanda’s HDI value increased from 0.248 to 0.543, an increase of 119.0 percent. Over the same period, Rwanda’s life expectancy at birth increased by 35.6 years, mean years of schooling increased by 2.7 years and expected years of schooling increased by 5.5 years. Rwanda’s GNI per capita increased by about 130.9 percent between 1990 and 2019.
The report seeks to draw parallels between the rapid growth in the HDI with the adoption and implementation of HGSs. It also bears testament to the widely accepted ideal that human development is best achieved when it is grounded on locally designed policies based largely on traditional and cultural values which are the guiding imperatives of HGSs. Over the years, Rwanda has gained international recognition as a beacon of progress and hope in a continent that continues to languish at the bottom of global development in nearly all conventional measures.
Speaking at the launch, the UNDP Resident Representative, Maxwell Gomera, commended the Government and the people of Rwanda on the remarkable journey to transform their lives and livelihoods.
“More work lies ahead as we Build Back Better economies and stronger societies post COVID-19 by making sure that the gains made in the past two decades are consolidated, while ensuring that this impressive progress does not leave anyone behind. Of special focus in our collective efforts to forge ahead will be the inclusion of vulnerable groups of society, especially those that are living with disabilities, the destitute, the unemployed, informal workers, women, the youth and the aged,” Gomera said.
The Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Dr. Uzziel Ndagijimana said that the eport we are launching today is a true testimony to Rwanda’s remarkable journey for socio-economic development, reiterating the Government’s commitment to consolidate the efforts.
“The Government of Rwanda is committed to meet its obligations to its people to bring an end to poverty and all other pressing challenges. I commend UNDP for releasing this report which will go a long way in buttressing the gains we have so far made in improving the lives of our people through our own innovative programmes, home grown solutions,”
“I want to emphasise to you and reiterate the sentiments of the UNDP Resident Representative, that we still have serious challenges ahead and we must combine our efforts to ensure that the objectives that we have collectively set are achieved” Dr. Ndagijimamana said.
Impact of HGS
Since 2006, the locally developed HGSs have been institutionalised and scaled-up at the national level. This report selected five HGSs to interrogate as their policy objectives were deemed to be most relevant and impactful on human development outcomes. They also demonstrate strong innovative potential, having undergone several refinements during their implementation, thereby increasing their capacity to deliver on their objectives.
The five HGSs selected are the Girinka Programme (one cow per family), Vision 2020 Umurenge Programme (VUP), Community-based Health Insurance (CBHI), Imihigo (performance contracts) and Umuganda (Community work).
The report reveals that HGSs have had a positive impact on all three dimensions of human development – a long and healthy life, access to knowledge, and a decent standard of living. Further, there is evidence linking HGSs to reduced gender and geographical inequalities. The report also establishes that HGSs have positively contributed to social cohesion and resilient human development by creating a conducive environment for enhanced human development.
Post the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, Rwanda was hailed for successfully implementing the Gacaca traditional courts, another home-grown solution, to deliver justice at the time when traditional courts were overwhelmed.