Our Perspective

      • International Volunteer Day / Lamin Manneh (Op-ed)

        07 Dec 2012

        I am a VOLUNTEER because my actions count (Photo:UNDP/Elena Ganan)

        Today, 5 December 2012, Rwanda and the world mark International Volunteer Day for Social and Economic Development (IVD). This is the day when we celebrate the commitment and impact of the spirit of volunteerism that is in the process of making the world a better place. It is a day for all the volunteers across the globe to take pride in what they do and to promote the contributions of volunteering to others. It is a day when volunteers, volunteer-involving organizations and their work in support of peace and sustainable development are recognised and applauded. At the same time, we also celebrate the values that sustain volunteerism – striving for the common good out of free will and without necessarily expecting any material reward, in a spirit of solidarity, reciprocity, mutual trust and belonging. These values are universal and transcend the boundaries of culture, language and geography: every year, hundreds of millions of people around the world volunteer to help others. In fact, a recent study showed that 16% of people worldwide volunteer their time and skills to a cause. This means that, if they were a nation, these volunteers would form the 10th largest country in the world in termsRead More

      • Rwanda: Gains made against poverty, a lesson for others / Auke Lootsma (Blog)

        15 Oct 2012

        Rwanda’s latest data release this month shows enormous improvement in the living standards of citizens over the past five years, and progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) - eight internationally-agreed goals aimed at reducing poverty and improving education, health, gender equality and environmental sustainability by 2015. Over the past half a decade, Rwanda has posted an average annual growth of real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 8.4 percent, driven mainly by higher productivity in the agricultural and industrial sectors. Critically, the poor have benefited from this growth spurt. Rwandans have developed their own homegrown initiatives in order to tackle poverty at the most local level. The “one-cow-per-family” programme, just to name one, provides families with milk for consumption and what is left over is sold for profit, improving nutrition and income at the household level. Through government-led efforts the poverty rate fell from 56.7 percent in 2006 to 44.9 percent in 2011. If maintained over the longer term, this annual poverty reduction rate of 2.4 percent could put Rwanda in the company of Asian Tiger economies such as China, Vietnam and Thailand that have been able over many years to lift millions out of poverty while sustaining growth. There has alsoRead More

      • Media sector reform and the power of social media in Rwanda / Auke Lootsma (Blog)

        15 Oct 2012

        Media plays a critical role in shaping national, regional, and global politics, economics and diplomacy. Professional media will hold both government and citizens to account, promote core values, good governance and democracy. Faced with the horrendous legacy of the 1994 genocide, Rwanda is still haunted by the demons of hate media, and media sector reform is still a work in progress. One of the most notorious media outlets was Radio Television Libre des Milles Collines (RTLM) which outdid others in hate propaganda. The Rwanda Tribunal in Arusha found the RTLM leadership gulty of genocide, incitement to genocide and crimes against humanity. Today, when the current government speaks about professional and responsible media, it explains their rationale  to prevent another catastrophe orchestrated by the media. President Paul Kagame is keen on media sector reform: “In Rwanda, we regard the media as an important partner in our country’s development. That is why we have made reform of the media a priority”. As part of the overall reform effort, UNDP Rwanda works with the Rwanda Governance Board to measure progress through the annual Media Barometer study and advance self-regulation of the media. The era of fast-evolving social media presents immense opportunities for far-reaching instantRead More