Africa-Press – Rwanda. The government through the Ministry of Environment is mulling on re-introducing community work, Umuganda.
This is a practice that takes root from Rwandan culture of self-reliance and cooperation.
Members of the community come together every last Saturday of the month to collectively undertake projects that are of value to community.
During a general cleaning exercise that was held Saturday, November 13 in Muhima sector, Nyarugenge District, Patrick Karera, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Environment said that the government is looking into re-opening this homegrown solution “very soon.”
Umuganda was put on hold early last year due to Coronavirus “We are conducting an assessment with health authorities, as the Covid-19 pandemic trend goes down, Umuganda is among major activities that we look to re-open just like others are being reopened,” he told The New Times.
This exercise in Muhima was attended by residents of the Muhima sector, officials from Rwanda Environment Management Authority and members of Rwanda Environmental Journalists Network collecting different bottles and other plastics scattered in Nyabugogo swamp.
They were all urged to embrace mentalities that sustain their ecosystems and natural resources.
Karera urged residents to avoid throwing plastic materials in the area, and requested the cult to start from homes.
“Let the culture of avoiding dispersing plastics in the environment start from our own homes, let parents teach children, in that way, the country won’t suffer much,” he said.
He added that the law stipulates punishments to those who violate the directive, but stressed that the primary target should not be sanctions.
Emmy Ngabonziza, the District Executive Administrator of Nyarugenge district also echoed in his views, rallying the citizens to play a participatory role in restoring our nature.
“The wellbeing of a citizen is highly dependent on hygiene and clean water among other activities which are degraded by plastics, that is why we should shun away from them, as they poison our land, water and our environment,” he noted.
Ngabonziza emphasized that though the government has employed several measuresto combat plastics, the latter has to do much more and asserted that it should start from the citizens.
“Banning of plastics was a commendable move, but they should also be banned from factories that still use them, and instead recycle them to make other products,” he added.
This is the only activity resembling Umuganda conducted since the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic.
Some of the activities conducted during Umuganda include creating and rehabilitating roads, water channels, building shelter for the disadvantaged families, planting trees and fighting soil erosion, among others.
The communal exercise was often concluded with a community meeting where locals discuss pressing security and development issues and come up with solutions to challenges faced in their respective localities.