The RDRC has conducted a sensitization meeting for vulnerable ex-combatants across the country. The meeting that took four days commenced on 29th, November, 2017 and ended on 1st December, 2017 Country-wide.
The aim of the meeting was to foster inclusive, active, equal and continuing participation of ex-combatants in mainstream Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy oriented programs at local and national levels while phasing out ex-combatants who bank on RDRP for social and economic support.
The meeting also was aimed at meeting with all vulnerable ex-combatants living in the East, West, and Southern Provinces respectively to consider them in social protection programs in their respective communities.
The meeting further aimed at encouraging ex-combatants to join cooperatives, saving schemes, and have access to National Education Program within their respective communities and other Social protection benefits within their communities.
Addressing the ex-combatants, the Chairperson of Rwanda Demobilization and Reintegration Commission, Madam Mukantabana Seraphine lauded the vulnerable ex-combatants for attending sensitization meeting. She remarked that the lectures given to them will transform their lives.
“This meeting is very crucial for you. You need to listen carefully so as to acquire adequate knowledge”, she said, and added: “This will help you to coup up with day today life and improve your livelihoods”.
She urged ex-combatants to stand up and work hard to reduce poverty among their families. She advised them to save their income as well as supporting government programs to spur community development.
For his part the Director of Social Affairs Rubavu District Mr. Martin Habimana lauded the Commission for supporting the ex-combatants. He said many ex-combatants have been mainstreamed in the community and are benefiting from government programs.
“All the ex-combatants have been reintegrated in the community and have already started benefiting from government programs. We want to make sure that there are facilitated to tap economic opportunities that would enable them fight poverty”, Habimana said.
He urged all the ex-combatants to register themselves in the Ubudehe community programs for the sake of improving their livelihoods.
“We shall make sure that all vulnerable ex-combatants are facilitated to enable them support their families”, said Mr. Eugene Rutaserwa.
Vulnerable ex- combatants voice
Nzamukosha Vestina from Nyabihu District hailed the Commission for conducting a great sensitization meeting. “I thank the Commission for enabling us attend this great sensitization meeting. I have acquired adequate knowledge, I hope this will help me develop myself and my family as well “, Nzamukosha remarked.
(Rtd) Cpl Byanaceye Jean from Nyamyumba sector, Rubavu district says: “I have benefited a lot from the meeting. It has made me love my country more. I will join vocational skills training and this will enable me to work hard and fight poverty”, he said.
(Rtd) Cpl Mukabacondo Godelieve from Rugabano Sector, Karongi District echoed similar sentiments. She said the meeting opened her eyes to join economic cooperatives which she said will help her to fight poverty.
Bikorimana Ethienne from Manihira Sector, Rutsiro District commended the RDRC for selecting him for Vocational skills training. “This is a blessing to me and my family as well. I will study vocational skills and I believe this would enable me to generate income in the near future”, he said.
Mukamana Sarah from Nyagatare District said: “I thank the Commission for sensitizing us. It was an opportunity for me because I managed to get tips on Nd’umunyarwanda. I will work towards unity and reconciliation in my community,” she said.
Bizimuremyi Bernard from Ndego Sector in Kayonza District said he was sensitized to live peacefully and harmoniously with others in the community. He vowed to convey the message to the rest in the community.
Notably, the ex-combatants sensitization meeting covered 8,676 vulnerable ex-combatants across the country.
By Mr. Mugabe Grace
Masters in Peace and Conflict Transformation