Building a Bridge to better Government
Syldio is a farmer in Gicumbi District, who until recently had no way of selling his crops to neighboring districts,because of poor roads.Thanks to UN support for good governance in Gicumbi, local leaders now work together to bring sustainable,community-led improvement to their citizens. These government improvement efforts are supported by the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), and include a combination of capital investment and capacity building to address specific needs, including food security, peace building, democratization, gender and evidence-based planning and budgeting and public expenditure management.
All of these important reforms help the Rwandan population in addressing its most pressing needs. A better government in Gicumbi has lead to better infrastructure. And now farmers like Syldio have a bridge that connects his village to nearby communities, so that he can sell his crops and improve his quality of life."People with small businesses can actually transfer their business into a neighboring district, and improve commerce for both themselves, and their community," Syldio says."Moreover, government authorities like the police can also use the bridge."The UN works to strengthen local government institutions by training officials, as well as providing basic equipment for groups such as the police who use the bridge to improve law enforcement. And in the spirit of the Delivering As One Programme, other agencies are working together to help the government understand the needs of its citizens.
UNDP and UNICEF support the National Institute of Statistics to collect and analyze data officials so they can participate in evidence based planning. This kind of planning focuses on the specific needs of the community, such as the bridge built in Gicumbi, which served not only commerce and police but education as well.
"Before the bridge we also had huge difficulties because of the rain", Syldio says. "Parents actually had to accompany their children to cross this river to make sure they could get to school. But now that has changed".
Besides basic public infrastructure, this community, this community development programme, established in the districts of Gicumbi and Rulindo, promotes decentralization and local development initiative by supporting participative, transparent, equitable and efficient local administration, benefiting more than 700,000. To make sure the programme is sustainable;UNCDF even trains local leaders and trainers so that there is always a reservoir of available talent and knowledge to keep good governance in place.
Through institutional reforms such as these, real change, change that can be seen and touched, has come to Syldio's village.
"The bridge is proof of development," he says. "I have terraces on my farm, which technicians helped me build, and the only way they could come and help was using this bridge. It's such a perfect example of development, because the bridge was built first."
In this and other improvements, the added infrastructure has not only provided a bridge from Syldio to more customers. It has also provided a bridge between Gicumbi's residents and its government.