Rwanda is championing a whole revolution that cannot be ignored. In 2008, it adopted the "Agasozi Ndatwa" (Model Village) approach and according to The Red Cross, the first village was launched in 2010 with technical and financial assistance from the Belgian Red Cross, European Union Directorate General Development and Cooperation and many other Red Cross chapters. The futuristic programme was officially initiated in 2010, styled the Integrated Development Programme. The plan is to replicate the model villages throughout the country. It is probably one of the most impressive policies to be implemented by an African government in the 2010s.
The Programme was inaugurated in July 2016 by President Kagame, and Rweru Model Village, one of the first to be completed is reported to be "connected to electricity, water, has a modern market, a school and a 12 kilometre road network connecting it between Kagasa to Batima". Soon after the inauguration, Augustin Kampayana, the head of human settlement and development at Rwanda Housing Authority told reporters that, "We have identified settlement sites where villages will be constructed and designs are being made. By the end of the next fiscal year, each district will be having a model village," before adding, "Those living in high-risk zones and scattered settlements will be considered first."
This year alone, President Kagame has officially opened the Horezo and Kanyenyeri model villages among many others. The poor are attaining more dignified lives by the day. In the President's words, "We are not building homes only to see them falling apart in a year. Giving citizens a home is about providing a foundation build on and transform your lives. It is not about citizens becoming eternally dependent on government.” The goal is very clear: the creation of sustainable communities. According to the Rwanda Housing Authority, by 2020, at least 70 % of households living in rural areas should have settled in integrated viable settlements that can offer economic opportunities, favor rational land use management and accelerate servicing with basic social economic and physical infrastructures in rural areas.
The government has also led a fight against grass-thatched houses in rural areas (Nyakatsi) and the programme is also successfully bettering the lives of the rural poor.
Header Image: The New Times