President Kagame, flanked by the Local Government minister Francis Kaboneka (L) and the Chairman of the National Itorero Commission, Boniface Rucagu, at the closure of the civic training programme for over 2,000 grassroots leaders from across the country at Gabiro, Gatsibo District, yesterday. (All photos by Village Urugwiro)

President Kagame, flanked by the Local Government minister Francis Kaboneka (L) and the Chairman of the National Itorero Commission, Boniface Rucagu, at the closure of the civic training programme for over 2,000 grassroots leaders from across the country at Gabiro, Gatsibo District, yesterday. (All photos by Village Urugwiro)

The Head of State made the call, yesterday, while officiating at the closure of a civic education programme (Itorero) for more than 2,000 grassroots leaders drawn from across the country.

The event took place at the Rwanda Defence Forces Combat Training Centre, Gabiro, in Gatsibo District.

The grassroots leaders attended a nine-day civil education training, which was conducted from two venues ? at the RDF Combat Training Centre Gabiro, and Nkumba Peace and Leadership Training Centre in Burera District.

Up to 920 leaders from Eastern Province, Northern Province, as well as the City of Kigali, who concluded the training in Gabiro, had been joined by their counterparts from Southern and Western provinces, who concluded a similar training at Nkumba in recent weeks, for the closing ceremony.

President Kagame told the leaders to translate what they learnt during the training into tangible actions to transform people?s lives.

?This training is not about words; it is about action. Our development will be the result of work, not words. Knowledge without action is meaningless. We cannot achieve development if you do not translate knowledge into action,? he said.

Kagame especially urged the local leaders to help residents to fight poverty using the available resources.

?Why do we accept to produce below our capacity? Why should we accept malnutrition among our children when it can be prevented? No amount of resources will ever be enough if you do not change your mindset and believe that we can do better,? he said.

?Change mindset?

The leaders cited lack of transport and communication means among the challenges they face in their work.

But the President encouraged them to change their mindset and accomplish more by maximising use of available resources.

?Without the will to get better, a patient cannot be cured. As leaders, you must be the first to have the will to do better. Leaders are defined by the will to improve and the discipline to work towards change. You have to be the first to have the will to be better and to free yourself from poverty,? Kagame said.

The training, which was conducted under the theme, ?The Local Government We Want,? covered several topics that revolve around national core values and development issues, including patriotism, service delivery, dispute resolution mechanisms, social protection mechanisms, Vision 2020, the second Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRSII), among others.

Also in attendance at the training were 30 employees of the Ministry of Local Government.

The training, which was conducted under the theme, ?The Local Government We Want,? covered several topics that revolve around national core values and development issues, including patriotism, service delivery, dispute resolution mechanisms, social protection mechanisms, Vision 2020, the second Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRSII), among others.

Also in attendance at the training were 30 employees of the Ministry of Local Government.

Rwanda is currently in the third phase of decentralisation, which focuses on service delivery and local economic development.

The first phase of the national decentralisation programme, launched in 2000, focused on elections and the development of community structures while the second phase of decentralisation introduced the concept of leaders? performance contracts, locally known as Imihigo.

At the closure of the training, many participants said they were equipped with tools of analysis to identify and address challenges in their communities.

?We will teach people how to ensure a healthy living, how to seek peaceful settlement of disputes, among others,? said Caritas Mukakarangwa, the executive secretary of Douane Cell, in Southern Province?s Gisagara District.

Fran?ois-Xavier Karake, who leads Nkingo Cell in Kamonyi District, Southern Province, said the training on civic education enabled him to understand how to approach and address various challenges.

Eugene Kwibuka, The New Times

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