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High intensity workmanship for rural construction in a context of National Goals’ change - A brief comment on Rwanda

In 2003 the Gov’t of Rwanda launched the HIMO Approach to support development and construction of infrastructure. The Gov’t initiative actually put down in paper something that was already taking place: or could entrepreneurs afford the salaries or transport fees for outsiders?

The HIMO approach looks forward to: i) Creating jobs and reduce rural unemployment; ii) Provide necessary infrastructure for rural development; iii) Protect the environment; iv) Demobilse and reintegrate soldiers; v) Increasing revenues and purchasing power within rural areas.

Despite the approach might seem adequate, Rwanda is too crowded to think about rural for long term. In 3 years a new generation of English-educated students will emerge and youth’s priorities will have switched -or will switch in at least 3 more yrs- from agriculture to market, from countryside life to urban/suburban life –even if most of the schools lack electricity.

The Gov’t wants to lead the country into a competitive market, with great focus on the technology and service sectors, thus this HIMO concept will slowly die of hunger. Rural people will continue participating due to the income possibilities, but it won’t match expectations. They will not want to feel as slaves, and in this war-affected country the authorities will have to reconsider their manners.

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Beatriz Maturana said...

Are there some models, some alternatives, that may be more appropriate to the reality of Rwanda?

Tulio Mateo said...

It is hard to identify an "appropriate" model for a country depending heavily on international aid; however there are certain social entities -like the "umudugudu/imidugudu"- that could be used in more applicable ways.

I could think of organizing cooperatives of construction workers, the same as agricultural ones exist, based on the umudugudu unit. This could help for future construction entrepreneurship within the community.

For the technical education, there is a long road.. However, it is obvious that more urban and financial planning outside Kigali will prevent of having a giant slum capital, due to youth migration.

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