Missing the mark? Participation in the PRSP process in Rwanda

Evaluation and Lessons Learned
Originally published

Emmanuel Bugingo
edited by Genevieve Painter

Poverty in Rwanda
Aim and methodology
Defining poverty - a framework for analysis
The Rwandan PRSP process
Who participates
Expectations for the PRS process
Civil society and the political context
Method of participation
Positive outcomes
Implementation - ways forward
Lessons Learnt
Moving forward
List of interviewees


With the majority of its households living below the poverty line and its society still rebuilding after the ravages of genocide, Rwanda is in great need of Heavily Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) debt relief. It has completed the first phase of the HIPC process by producing a Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP), which since 1999 has been a mandatory requirement for indebted countries hoping to access debt relief through the HIPC system. In response to calls from international financial institutions, bilateral donors and civil society for participatory policy-making, citizens were involved in producing the PRSP. Like many other HIPC countries, Rwanda's participatory policymaking ambitions far exceeded what was achievable and it was not a fully participatory process, but some progress has been made. The government did make a proactive effort to involve a wide range of different groups, but their influence over policy was still limited.

Poverty in Rwanda

Two-thirds of Rwandan households live below the poverty line of US$1 per day (UNDP 1999). Poverty in Rwanda is characterised by a lack of access to basic goods and services, low incomes, insecurity, and an absence of employment opportunities. Gender inequality prevents women from gaining equal access to productive assets, such as land. Poverty is most endemic in rural areas where the majority of the population lives. But there are also extremely high poverty levels in urban areas. Literacy among the adult population is just 48 per cent and life expectancy in 1997 was just 41 years old (UNDP 1999), with malaria and AIDS being the main killers.

Poverty in Rwanda has many causes. Cyclical droughts and food shortages, the lack of access to the sea, problematic transport links, and environmental degradation contribute to a weak agricultural industry. Economic growth is hampered by the lack of a skilled workforce in the aftermath of the genocide, a shortage of land, and an expensive transport system. The legacy of the genocide has deepened and perpetuated poverty in Rwanda. The adult population has been decimated, leaving a high proportion of female- and child-headed households. During the genocide much of the educated population was specifically targeted, which has dramatically reduced the proportion of skilled people in the country. The challenge facing Rwanda through the formulation of its PRSP has been to find solutions to these structural causes of poverty as well as alleviating its symptoms.

The purpose of Rwanda's Poverty Reduction Strategy is to make poverty reduction a central policy objective across all government departments. The strategy's main focus is to raise agricultural productivity in order to increase national income and food security. Land policy and land law reforms are also proposed to secure people's rights to productive land. These policies and others are aimed at rebuilding rural capital and incomes. To meet the needs of a rising number of unemployed young people, the PRSP also proposes policies to generate jobs, provide vocational training and improve skills. Private-sector development is emphasised as a means of employment creation. The development of national infrastructure (roads, water, power, etc) also features as a component of the PRSP. These policies comprise a programme of action intended to tackle poverty and promote development in Rwanda.

Aim and methodology

This paper will assess the quality of the participatory process that led to the formulation of Rwanda's Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP). It will consider who participated, how the participatory process was actually structured, and the impact that participants' expectations and the political context had on the outcome of the process. The paper's conclusions are based on a review of policy documents and interviews with civil society organisations and policy-makers. The interim and full PRSPs, government documents on the PRS process, donor documentation, and civil-society critiques and analyses were all consulted, and the political and historical context in Rwanda taken into account. Interviews were conducted with civil society organisations and policy-makers based on a questionnaire. Research participants were asked to assess the PRS process based on their experience and to suggest improvements and ways forward. Information was also gathered through focus groups with civil-society umbrella groups1 and policy-makers.

Defining participation - a framework for analysis

Widespread participation can radically improve the sense of ownership of the policy process among ordinary citizens and government, as well as improving the quality of the policy produced. Sound participatory processes can provide people with the opportunity to influence decisions that affect their lives, and as such can be viewed as a right. Participation may also be understood by donors as demonstrating a government's commitment to participatory democracy, and can potentially lead to an increase in donor funds. Participatory processes can also improve the quality of governance, allowing citizens to demand greater transparency and accountability from the authorities. If participatory approaches to policy-making are sustained, they can provide the basis for continued dialogue between citizen and state, and can help to build relationships that are based on trust and consensus.. Policy can be strengthened if it is based on listening to and integrating the views of a broad range of stakeholders, such as poor people themselves, because it is then informed by their real experiences of policies. The result can be policies and national strategies that are genuinely country-owned, and beneficial to both citizen and state.

A full participatory PRS process could include a whole range of actors - central and local government, people in poor communities and their representatives, civil society organisations (CSOs), business leaders, academics, opposition politicians and political parties, the media, donor agencies, and the middle-class.2 The 'ladder of participation' used by, among others, the World Bank, describes the following levels of participation: information sharing, consultation, joint decision-making, and initiation and control by stakeholders (cited in McGee and Norton 2000). The minimum requirement for a participatory process is the sharing of information. Consultation, the next level of participation, describes the government's efforts to gain information from the public, but there is no obligation to incorporate the public's views into the final product. Joint decision-making is a higher level of participation because it implies some right on the part of participants to decide policy content. Initiation by stakeholders, the most advanced form of participation, is unlikely to occur in the PRS process because it is government initiated and owned.

Participation is possible during the following stages of the PRS policy cycle: analysis, formulation, approval, implementation and evaluation. Lower levels of participation - information-sharing and consultation - tend to stop at the analysis stage of policymaking. In consultation and joint decision-making, participation is likely to occur at all stages of the policy-making cycle.

This paper will analyse the quality of the participatory process by looking at who participated and whether their views were incorporated into the PRSP document. Joint decision-making on policy, rather than consultation, will be taken as the standard by which to measure quality. Participation at all stages of the policy cycle will be a further indicator of the standard of the process.

The Rwandan PRSP process

The Rwandan government and its partners have undertaken extensive research into the causes and consequences of poverty and the strategies to combat it, as the foundation of the PRSP. The PRS process began in 1999 and concluded in November 2001 with the publication of the full PRSP. The process was co-ordinated by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MINECOFIN), under the leadership of the National Poverty Reduction Programme and the National Steering Committee of the PRSP process. The process included two major activities - gathering poverty information and consulting on policy.

Interim PRSP

The Interim PRSP (I-PRSP) process was launched with the creation of the National Programme for Poverty Reduction in June 2000. Land policy, population growth, governance and the environment were identified as key priorities, through a participatory process at national and prefecture3 levels. Participants in this process included the government, private sector, local administrations, NGOs and CSOs. This process, which ended in November 2000 with the publishing of the I-PRSP, was followed by an effort to find common ground between the government's vision and the concerns of the population.

Poverty information

The full PRSP was produced on the basis of two mechanisms designed specifically to gather poverty information. The National Poverty Assessment and the Policy Relevance Test were participatory processes used to collect information on the levels and nature of poverty and people's views of policy solutions being proposed by the government. These measures were complemented by existing data-collection mechanisms, and consultations with CSOs and other government departments.

The National Poverty Assessment was conducted at a sectoral level4. In about 1,000 sectors, information about poverty was collected through community discussions using participatory methods. The assessment gave the government a profile of poverty, told it which problems were seen as priorities by communities and provided data on gender roles and land issues.

As part of the poverty assessment, a pilot study in Butare region took the analysis of poverty right down to the household level. As part of the study, communities were asked to prioritise the areas in which they were prepared to invest their resources. The pilot study involved individual households to gain a picture of the coping mechanisms used by the poorest families and to develop appropriate poverty-reduction strategies. To get an appropriate sample, the communities themselves decided which households would participate.

Alongside these mechanisms developed specifically for the PRS, existing mechanisms for collecting information on poverty were used. These included the Core Welfare Indicators Questionnaire (CWIQ), the Public Expenditure Tracking Survey (PETS), and preliminary results from the Household Living Conditions Survey (EICV).

The policy-making process

To complement the information-gathering approaches outlined above, the government used various mechanisms to engage people in the process. A Policy Relevance Test was conducted to find out what people thought of proposed policies. Test participants were asked to consider the following elements of each policy discussed:

  • effectiveness: the strengths and weaknesses of identified policies

  • inclusiveness: inclusion/exclusion of different sections of the population from policy

  • participation/ownership: degree and mechanisms of participation in policy formation, implementation and monitoring

  • solutions: whether proposed policies presented solutions to people's problems identified in the above discussion

This analysis was gathered through focus groups stratified by socio-economic status, age, gender, and particularly vulnerable groups. Groups of 25 to 30 people in 38 out of 100 districts participated in these discussions, meaning the Policy Relevance Test gauged the views of about 10,000 people. In addition to ordinary people, the test also involved a variety of government ministries, private-sector companies, and formal CSOs.

The government, the private sector, and civil society stakeholders also participated in the policy-making process through a series of government-organised seminars and workshops. Line ministries were involved in reviewing policy recommendations relevant to their own sectors. Civil society participated in the process by contributing to discussion and commenting on policy drafts.

Based on this process of research and consultation, the final PRS was produced. When in draft form, the government held a seminar about how the PRSP might be put into practice and the draft was circulated widely. After feedback and discussion, the final PRSP was presented to the Consultative Group meeting of international donors in November 2001.

Who participates

Clearly, the description above demonstrates that the Rwandan government made a concerted effort to include ordinary people, traditionally excluded groups, and civil society organisations in the PRS process. A large segment of the population participated in the National Poverty Assessment and 10,000 people were involved in focus-group discussions as part of the Policy Relevance Test. The government made a conscious effort to include the most excluded groups. Policy Relevance Test focus groups were organised with attention to social stratifications, such as class, age, and gender. But despite these efforts, consultations were mainly urban-based. International and national NGOs, trade unions, and some of the traditional churches participated in the process, but other religious organisations, rural NGOs, peasants' associations and the informal sector, such as street traders, were not fully involved.

There were achievements in terms of who participated - in particular the participation of ordinary people and the implementation of specific measures to ensure that excluded groups gained access in pilot areas. Although some people and organisations were still excluded, the experience in Rwanda demonstrates that the use of pro-active methods and specific strategies can bring a fairly wide range of stakeholders into the process.

Expectations of the PRS process

The bulk of the participatory pro cess centred on gathering information about poverty in order to inform policy-making. The government's approach viewed citizens and organisations as holders of information, rather than as joint stakeholders. This was apparent in the use of the Policy Relevance Test, which was designed to gauge people's opinions about a set of proposed policies, rather than allow them to make policy. The government lacked the mechanisms to feed proposals from communities into the policy process, and had difficulty integrating PRS policies with existing national policies. It seems, then, that the government's expectation of participation was based on a consultation model, rather than on joint decision-making.

The government's failure to engage in joint decision-making could be criticised by external analysts, but Rwandan citizens and CSOs appear to have shared this expectation. Rwandan CSOs assisted the government in collecting better information about poverty and responded to draft documents, but they did not challenge the government's strategies by proposing alternatives. When both civil society and government enter the PRS process with the expectation of consultation, a lower level of participation, their expectations are more likely to be met. It could also be viewed as a pragmatic and realist approach to the first national PRSP and foray into participatory policy-making.

Civil society and the political context

Civil society

As CSOs are key stakeholders in the PRS process, their strength, experience, and relationship with the state impacts on the quality of the participatory process.

The concept of civil society has various definitions and interpretations. Some define civil society as a set of highly structured organisations that aim to achieve specific social goals.

For others, it consists of sets of organised actors that seek to communicate popular demands about justice, human rights, democracy and transparent governance.

According to many experts, such as Peter Uvin (2000), Rwandan civil society is highly developed and complex. Development NGOs have grown rapidly since the early 1980s, but civic institutions, such as the churches and community groups, have a far longer history and in many ways form the backbone of Rwandan society.

The following are simply a sample of the types of groups that are part of Rwandan civil society:

  • Co-operatives whose mission is to develop and promote the interests of their members. The first co-operative was created in 1943. In 1987, the number of co-operatives peaked at about 200, but has decreased since then.

  • Peasants' associations, which are less structured and much smaller than cooperatives. There are more than 3,000 in Rwanda (World Bank, 1987).

  • Tontines are community-level associations organised that provided credit and sharing of labour between their members. They numbered more than 10,000 in 1992 and have increased in number since then.

  • NGOs (both national and international) are professional groups that work on development issues and aim to promote the rights and interests of the people with whom they work. Currently there are about 200 in Rwanda.

  • Churches have the most influence of any group - next to the state - because of their resources, influence and wide geographical spread. They are very hierarchical and conservative but can promote participation.

  • Pressure groups that focus on influencing policies in areas such as human rights, gender, employment, labour and professions.

Despite the importance of CSOs in Rwanda, they also have limitations. For example, Rwandan civil society could be viewed as lacking a sense of shared vision and synergy. Although this is not automatically problematic, and the variety and eclecticism of civil society is to be welcomed, it has meant that CSOs have not been as effective as they could have been in influencing the government. Rwandan CSOs also tend to have limited capacity, which can mean that they spread themselves too thinly across a range of different activities and issues. They have tended to be reactive, rather than proactive and strategic, and concentrate on day-to-day solutions to immediate problems. This is an understandable approach in the context of national reconstruction and development. It has been one of the reasons, though, that CSOs have found it difficult to influence government policy, that and their lack of lobbying skills and experience. The legitimacy of Rwandan civil society's advocacy role is also weakened by its dependence on funding from external organisations whose interests may be represented ahead of the poorest communities with which CSOs work.

Political context

In Rwanda, participation in decision-making at community level was prevalent during pre-colonial times. During this period, communities used collective methods to solve social and economic problems. Traditional society was strong, hierarchical and structured in a coherent manner with top-down leadership, which permitted vertical and horizontal consultation. Community participation formed an integral part of decision-making process but was not formalised as part of the state structure.

Rwanda's colonisers exploited this governance structure to implement policies that served mainly foreign interests. These policies were supported by forced labour. The policies undermined traditional community structures by emphasising the individual over the community. For instance, individual wage-based work replaced community tasks such as ubudehe and umuganda5.

After gaining independence, the country inherited a governance structure that was, and still is, very hierarchical, centralised and authoritarian. Popular participation in decision-making became less common than it had previously been. Between April and July 1994 Rwanda experienced a devastating genocide, which destroyed not only almost a million lives, but the country's social fabric, infrastructure and values of solidarity. This can partly be traced back to the authoritarian nature of the state.

Rwanda's governance system and decision-making processes came into question after the genocide, and it was clear that change was needed. In 1999 plans for democratic decentralisation began to be implemented. A core objective of the decentralisation process was to reduce poverty, by ensuring improved standards of governance and better accountability of the government to its people. The ultimate goal of the reforms has been to increase the voice of the population in government and to make it more responsive to people's needs.

Through decentralisation, decision-making powers have been devolved from the central government level down to district and municipal levels. The Republic of Rwanda is divided into 12 provinces, 106 districts, municipalities and the capital city, Kigali, with more than 1,000 sectors and more than 10,000 cells, the smallest administrative unit. Districts can now become full local governments and have taken over many of the former responsibilities of central and provincial governments. Central government remains responsible for formulating national policy, ensuring national security, and creating an enabling environment for civil society and the private sector.

Local government is responsible for: identifying community needs; deciding priorities; making and formulating local policy; implementing national policies; and using resources efficiently. Significantly, local government is responsible for promoting the participation of individuals, households and communities in decision-making. Local communities are represented at local government level through political and administrative committees (PACs) and community development committees (CDCs). However, local government faces many challenges in meeting its new responsibilities under these decentralising reforms. Structural contradictions and conflicts of interest may put accountability at stake and weaken good governance. For example, the Mayor may sometimes be both the head of the executive committee and of the district council. Local government often lacks the capacity to deliver quality public services to local populations. Organisational culture also hampers effective implementation, as people are accustomed to waiting for instructions from above, rather than acting on their own initiative.

Rwanda has taken steps to foster enhanced community participation through these changes to the governance structure and numerous other initiatives. Between 1973-1994 the government required all citizens to undertake public or community works once a week. This umaganda policy was people's contribution to the country's development, but because it was mandatory, it was resented. In Kibuye prefecture in 1985, Bwakira and Gitesi communes initiated communal development plans using participatory approaches. Between 1988 and 1990, the government sought to strengthen community participation by creating a line ministry in charge of associations and co-operatives and encouraging people to generate initiatives for their own development.

Despite these precedents, the Rwandan government has not sufficiently involved people in decision-making processes. This has led citizens to regard the state as a service provider. This history of centralised, authoritarian governance in Rwanda has helped to shape a citizen-state relationship in which citizens tend not to believe they have a right to participate in public decision-making. This mindset was accentuated by humanitarian interventions during the emergency period following the war and genocide, where control was taken away from ordinary citizens as they became the passive recipients of external aid.

Policies such as decentralisation, good governance, poverty reduction and reconciliation cannot succeed without the genuine and full participation of ordinary citizens. Although Rwanda has had some experience of participation in policy-making and has put in place governance structures that to a degree facilitate participation, the institutionalisation of participatory approaches in the PRS process still faces many challenges.

Method of participation

The structure chosen for the discussions that fed into the PRS had a fundamental impact on the quality of the participatory process. The Rwandan process reached people at community level, but the government missed a key opportunity to genuinely base policymaking on the outcomes of these debates. The government's strategy focused on involving people during the initial analysis but did not do enough to engage poor people or CSOs during the policy-formulation stage. The experience in Rwanda demonstrates that taking the PRS process down to the community level is feasible, if only on a limited scale.

There were also some fundamental problems with the structure of the participation process itself. CSOs reported that agendas and documents were not disseminated before the meetings, preventing them from preparing properly. Meetings on the PRS were announced at short-notice, particularly deterring the participation of excluded groups. CSOs felt that they had insufficient time to consult with their constituencies, raising questions about their legitimacy and accountability. PRS background documents were not translated into Kinyarwanda, excluding people (the majority of women) who did not speak French. To enable a genuinely participatory process, governments must plan a strategy to provide necessary and timely information to people in an appropriate format.

Decisions about how best to reach ordinary people are the key to determining the quality of the participatory process. In Rwanda, specific mechanisms were created for the PRS, such as the Policy Relevance Test. Participation was not organised through existing democratic structures but designed as separate participatory process directly engaging at the community level, in part because these newly decentralised governance institutions are not yet bedded down and lacked the capacity to facilitate the process. This decision to take a direct engagement approach meant that a wider range of people gained access to the PRS process than would have been the case if just formal governance structures had been used. However, creating PRS-specific processes to facilitate participation runs the risk of further weakening existing democratic institutions.

Positive outcomes

Despite these weaknesses, the Rwandan PRS process has produced a number of positive outcomes which should be recognised. Although some groups were excluded, the PRS process did facilitate the involvement of some poor people, CSOs, local communities, local governments and the national government in making policy to reduce poverty. The involvement of some communities in policy discussions generated a feeling that they had been engaged in and had some influence over the resulting PRSP. CSOs that participated in the process gained advocacy experience at community and national level. This will prove useful during the PRS implementation and monitoring phases.

The participatory process also allowed women's organisations to highlight gender inequality in policy-making. In the context of the development challenges facing Rwanda, the support of donors, gained as a result of the participatory process, will be invaluable. The process has benefited the whole of Rwandan society because it prompted a debate about the nature, characteristics, and causes of poverty. Through this debate, poverty has been more widely understood and accepted as a multi-dimensional problem requiring collaboration among many stakeholders. The process has also contributed to more responsive policy-making. Civil-society recommendations were taken into account to a certain extent, and government laws and regulations regarding participation have been strengthened and clarified.

Implementation - ways forward

The real test of the quality and appropriateness of the PRSP will come during its implementation.

The strategy for implementing the PRS aims to continue broad stakeholder participation. Planning will be undertaken at meetings involving ministries, local government and NGOs. Institutions involved in the implementation process will be given all the support they need to carry it out. In order to increase public awareness of the strategy, information campaigns involving the media, local governments, and CSOs are planned.

These plans are all steps in the right direction, but both government and civil society could do more to promote successful implementation. The government should build on and deepen the public debate on poverty reduction. It could support study trips to other countries to increase the Rwandan population's understanding of successful approaches to poverty elimination. In addition, as part of the programme of decentralisation, the government should advocate the regular use of participatory methods to bring the poorest people into decision-making at a grassroots level.

Central government should maintain its coordinating role during the implementation phase of the PRS. To promote a coherent and consistent strategy for poverty reduction, the government should encourage a unified programme approach based on sector plans, rather than a more disjointed project approach. Specific sector plans should be developed under the policy framework of the PRSP. The government should seek to avoid overlapping and contradictory policies and programmes, by continuing to bring together relevant stakeholders.

Local and central government should jointly define their responsibilities for the implementation of the PRS in mobilising political and economic resources for the PRSP. Implementation should reach right down to the community level and government should continue to seek out and listen to the views of its citizens, adapting its policies accordingly.

Leadership and responsibility for PRS implementation should rest with government, but CSOs have a vital role to play in assisting and monitoring implementation. Some CSOs will be directly involved in policy implementation, as service providers to communities. These CSOs should strengthen their capacity to execute projects and programmes and seek collaboration with local and community-level governance structures. Those CSOs that work with and for poor groups also have a key role to play in analysing proposed policies and programmes, and identifying their potential impact on the poorest women and men. The legitimacy of PRSP advocacy work is dependent on maintaining strong links with grassroots communities.


The experience in Rwanda demonstrates that with sufficient political will, a process that includes a broad range of people, from the poorest communities, to CSOs and government, can be created. Mechanisms designed specifically for the PRS made this possible, in part due to an awareness of the weakness of existing local-level democracy structures. These efforts brought people to the table, but the government missed an opportunity to really involve citizens in participatory policy-making. Instead, the process was based on consultation and information-sharing on government-initiated priorities and plans. Many factors contributed to this outcome in Rwanda. The aims of civil society, the history of the citizen-state relationship, and the strength of local democracy played a key role. But government expectations and decisions about how to organise the process were determinative. The government entered the PRS process working under a model of consultation and with the view that poor people were holders of poverty information, rather than owners of innovative solutions for tackling poverty. The success of the Rwandan experience should not be forgotten - namely the involvement of a nationwide cross-section of the population. But the Rwandan government could still have done much more to bring people into a joint decision-making process for poverty reduction.

Lessons learnt

  • Participation should be designed from the bottom-up, starting at household and local-community level, rather than from the top-down.

  • Participation should shift from a functional approach that views citizens as holders of poverty information to a politicised approach which facilitates people's involvement in debate about policies for poverty reduction and national development.

  • Participatory processes require time, careful planning and adequate resources.

  • Processes could be strengthened by including appropriate socio-cultural activities (such as song, dance and theatre) to enhance information exchange, community motivation and a sense of local ownership.

Moving forward
  • The challenge that now faces Rwandan CSOs is to monitor the implementation of the PRS and hold government and donors accountable on their commitments.

  • Ways now need to be found to build on and deepen the public debate on poverty reduction that has been initiated through the PRS process.

  • The decentralisation programme has the potential to institutionalise the regular use of participatory methods to involve the poorest people in decision-making at grassroots level.

  • There is additional scope for religious groups and the media to engage more fully in the participation process.

  • CSOs that work with groups of poor people can also analyse proposed policies and programmes, and identifying their potential impact on the poorest women and men.

  • CSO networks and alliances have been strengthened by their engagement with the PRS process, so now the challenge is to make these collaborations even stronger and more productive.


In the course of this paper the following organisations were interviewed:

Central government organisations

Presidency: Musare Faustin
Ministry of Land and Environment (MINITERE): Karemera
Ministry of Gender and Women's Development: John Mutamba, Ngoni Diop
National Poverty Reduction Programme, Ministry of Finance (MINECOFIN): Karega Vincent, Minani Faustin Ministry of Agriculture (MINAGRI)

Local government organisations

Butare municipality: Kajuga Gerome
Community Development Committee, Ngarama District: Claude Mpumuje

Civil society organisations

CLADHO (Colectif des Ligues et Organisations des Droits de l'Homme): Silas Sinyigaya, Jean Paul Nyilindekwe:
Protestant Anglican Church of Byumba: Onesphore Rwaje, Emmanuel Ngendahayo Gendahayo
Umbrella of Genocide Survivors (IBUKA): Anastase Muhire, Francine Rutazana
CESTRAR (Centrale Syndicale des Travailleurs au Rwanda): Napoleon Munyashema, Aplhonse Munyashema, François d'Assise Barahira, Manzi Mwezi Eric
COSYLI (Collectif des Syndicats Libres au Rwanda): Fulgence Sengoga
Genocide Survivors' Organisation: (BARAKABAHO): Emmanuel Barahira
Farmers' Trade Union (IMBARAGA): Protais Hakizimana
Genocide Widows' Organisation (AVEGA): Consolata Mukanyiligira
Rwandan Association for Integrated Development (ARDI): Evariste Ntawuyirusha
Rwandan Initiative for Sustainable Development (RISD): Annie Kayiraba
OXFAM Quebec: Michel Bouillon
CARE International: Michele Carter
TROCAIRE: Juvenal Turatsinze
Lutheran World Federation: Caritas Mukankusi Buzizi
CCOAIB (umbrella of 26 local NGOs involved in development matters): Prisca Mujawayezu
AVEGA DUHOZANYE (Butare): Daphrose

Donor organisations

Department for International Development (DFID): Gerard Howe, Barbara Hendrie, Lucia Hanmer
United Nations Development Programme: Francis Gatare
African Development Bank: Venantie Mukarugomwa
Obed Mutebutsi

Informal sector Organisations

COGESI (umbrella of 11 federations of small trade unions organisations): Alphonse Mvukiyingoma


Association Fondation Barakabaho 2001, Programme d'Intégration Sociale Economique et Psychologique des Orphelins et femmes Victimes de la Violence dans la Société Rwandaise: Plan Stratégique 2001-05

DFID 1999, Rwanda: Country Strategy Paper, September, Kigali

OSSREA 2001, Poverty Reduction Relevance Test: Dimension Gender, June, Butare

MIGEPROFE 2001, Umushinga wo Kurwanya Ubukene Hashyigikirwa Ibikorwa Bizamura Icyaro n'Ibiteza Imbere abanyarwandakazi mu Ntara za Butare, Butare, May

MINECOFIN 2000, Plan d'Action du Rwanda pour la Réduction de la Pauvreté, Version Provisoiredu PRSP, November, Kigali

MUTEBI F, STONE S and THIN N 2001, Institutionalising the PRSP Approach in Rwanda, PRSP Institutionalisation Study: Final Report, ODI: London

NPRP 2001a, Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper, Final Document, December, government of Rwanda: Kigali

NPRP 2001b, PRSP Summary Version, November, government of Rwanda: Kigali

NPRP 2001c, Ubudehe mu Kurwanya Uubukene, government of Rwanda: Kigali

NPRP 2001d, Evaluation de l'Approche participative pour la Réduction de la Pauvreté, government of Rwanda: Kigali

UNDP 1999, Common Country Assessment 1999-2000, UN Rwanda: Kigali

World Bank 1998, Rwanda Poverty Note: Rebuilding an Equitable Society : Poverty and Poverty Reduction after the Genocide, Kigali

World Bank 2000a, Poverty Reduction in the 1990s: an Evaluation of Strategy and Performance, World Bank: Washington DC

World Bank 2000b, Participation Handbook, Technical Notes, World Bank: Washington DC


1 Including CESTRAR (Centrale Syndicale des Travailleurs au Rwanda - a workers' trade union umbrella), CCOAIB (a collective of civil-society groups), IBUKA (an umbrella of genocide survivors' organisations), CLADHO (an umbrella of human-rights organisations), and the Community Development Committee of Byumba Diocese.

2 McGee, R. with Norton, A. (2000) 'Participation in Poverty Reduction Strategies: A Synthesis of experience with participatory approaches to policy, design, implementation and monitoring' IDS Working Paper p.109.

3 Rwanda is divided into 11 prefectures, which are local government administrative regions.

4 Sectors are a local/village level administrative unit.

5 Ubudehe is the traditional Rwandan practice of working together to solve problems. The literal origins of the word describe the practice of digging fields before the rains come and the planting season arrives. A group of the households join together to dig their fields; acting collectively to share the burden of the work and make sure that everyone is ready in time for the planting season. The concept of ubudehe is very inclusive, covering men and women and all social groups, including the Batwa. It can also be extended to those who are too poor or incapacitated to take part in collective action. After the group has completed their fields they move on to the fields of those who have not been able to participate directly. A successful harvest is then celebrated with umuganura made from collecting together donation from everyone's first harvest (NPRP 2001c). Umuganda is collective work introduced by the authorities in order to carry out community development programmes, such as road tracing, soil protection, and tree planting.