Interventions against poverty in Rwanda: a case study of Ubudehe in Gatsibo District, Eastern Province, Rwanda
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This study set out to examine the role of Ubudehe in poverty reduction in Rwanda. It was carried out in Gatsibo district, Eastern Province of Rwanda. The underlying concern was that: faced with the prevalent poverty in the country, the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) government initiated different programmes to address poverty. Among these was Ubudehe, a culture of collective action of solidarity and mutual help which the Government has adopted as an appropriate approach to fight poverty at community level. The objective of the programme was to “Revive and foster collective action at the community level. It was designed to rebuild trust in communities, to build accountable local institutions, and to help local people act to alleviate poverty.” But Ubudehe as a mechanism to poverty reduction has not attracted attention of scholars to examine its performance, achievements, and challenges and this was the major concern of this research. A descriptive survey design using both qualitative and quantitative methods was used. A questionnaire and focus group discussion guide were administered to 106 respondents. All respondents who participated were selected using both stratified random and purposive sampling. The research findings revealed that despite the desire to meaningfully involve people in community development projects, Ubudehe has faced numerous challenges because of inadequate resources and therefore poverty reduction is still a question among people in Rwanda. It appears in the papers that at global level, Ubudehe scooped a United Nations trophy as the best managed and implemented development programme. Particular to Gatsibo district, it was found out that in the last two financial years of 2005/2006 and 2007/2008, they had one village (Umudugudu) that emerged best in the district and second at national level as a result of fighting poverty and with clear poverty reduction indicators. Research findings revealed that Ubudehe approach is very politically acclaimed both at National and International levels as the best approach to poverty reduction, but it is also working amidst limited funding and therefore one wonders how poverty can be reduced within limited funding. It is therefore clear that with limited funding such approach can not succeed. In a nutshell, the interventions against poverty in Rwanda are contextualised and applicable but the challenge remains differentiating poverty reduction tools from political tools intended to address trust among the citizenry.