Posted on 15 May, 2013

This post is by Steve Woods, Rwanda Team Blogger.

How about this for a great idea for strengthening community spirit?

Everyone in the community dedicates one day per month to cleaning up your local area – working together with your neighbours. Kind of like Clean up Australia day, only once a month not once a year. Oh, and eveyrone has to do it.

In Rwanda they’ve been doing this for ages, and it is called umunsi w’umuganda (which means “contribution made by the community”). Everyone, from the President of the country right down, is expected to spend the last Saturday in the month, which was yesterday, from 8-11am cleaning the streets, fixing broken fences and doing other community service work. As a result Kigali is amazingly clean, and residents take great pride in their city.

According to the government website (click here for more details), “The benefits of Umuganda are not merely economic. The day is intended to build community involvement and strengthen cohesion between persons of different background and levels. One such a benefit is that people can access authorities to articulate their needs and voice opinions on various issues. The labour cost from Umuganda contributes to national development programs. By reaping the rewards of the volunteer labor and by having more capital to invest in the country, Umuganda has contributed to the growth and development of the Rwanda”

umuganda day in Rwanda

umuganda day in Rwanda

Tags:  East Africa,