The New Times (Kigali)

23 January 2013

Rwanda: Youth Start National Service

Prime Minister Pierre Damien Habumuremyi, yesterday, launched the national voluntary service with more than 40,000 youth lined up to engage in the three-month service.

The PM challenged the youth to emulate their forefathers and serve the nation diligently.

"National service is not a new phenomenon in Rwanda. Our grandparents did it. It is all about nationalism and patriotism. Our youth will get a chance to fight evil in society and assist in developing the nation with hands-on experience," the PM said.

The programme, dubbed Urugerero, is an ancient, home-baked custom that has been resurrected and incorporated into society, spearheaded by the Itorero National Taskforce.

The chairman of the taskforce, Boniface Rucagu, said awareness campaign on dangers of HIV/Aids, adult literacy and constructing teachers' house are part of the activities to be conducted.

Apart from the national launch, there were several other ceremonies in sectors and districts across the country.

In Kigali City, Mayor Fidele Ndayisaba launched the service at Integrated Polytechnic Reintegration Centre.

Ndayisaba said the youth will be serving in various activities related to the structure of the city which will lead to its development.

"The youth are physically and mentally strong. They should strive to develop the country using that strength," said Ndayisaba.

Optimism in the air:

Promoting hygiene in the city, taxing business people, fighting against HIV/Aids, and conserving environment are among the activities for engagement.

Sadam Rugamba, a participant from Niboyi sector, Kicukiro district, said he is ready to volunteer.

"It is very important, though it is voluntary and requires sacrifice, I am ready to participate, we will be doing various activities and I hope we will be more productive," said Rugamba .

In three months, evaluation will done and certificates awarded to volunteers.

Meanwhile, in Rwamagana district, the Prime Minister also launched a one-month drive dedicated to good governance in the country. Addressing residents of Rwamagana district, the premier said good governance is a prerequisite for sustainable development.

"Our commitment to empower citizens to be self-reliant cannot be over emphasised. You know good service delivery, zero corruption, disease free society, and it must give a sense of responsibility to everyone," he said.

Habumuremye, who had earlier commissioned a public market in Ntunga sector, and teachers' staff quarters at Rwamagana Primary School, said the government would continue supporting infrastructure development.

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