Rwanda: Mumeya leaders know that the future for rural children is at risk without a quality education. Their latest effort is to lay the foundation for a new elementary school. Presently, hundreds of students walk for an hour to attend the existing overcrowded elementary school. For the past several months, they have been gathering stones to lay the foundation and walls. This month they organized “Umuganda” community labor to lay the foundation for the school that will serve 300 students. The funds to construct this school are collected from community members. The Rwanda government will pay the operating costs for the school. Unlike many communities that rely on NGOs or the government to build schools, PICO Rwanda leaders make decisions about their priorities and take action for themselves. The vocational welding school opened last year and the expansion of the local high school demonstrate Mumeyans’ commitment to education.
Why is education so important in Rwanda? More than 40% of population is under 18 years of age. Rwanda’s national strategy for growth, gender equity and poverty reduction is based on the creation of a knowledge-based economy. PICO Rwanda is playing an important role in rural communities to address this issue and implement this national strategy.
In related updates, the women of Nyange have secured title to a roadside property from the government. This insures ownership of their tile making and marketing business. In Rusumo, leaders secured a commitment of $6,000 (5 million Rwf) to bring water to their health clinic and the surrounding community.