20 April 2017

Rwanda: Welfare for All Should Not Be Sole Responsibility of the State

editorial

Social protection has been the government's main priorities under the Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy.

It encompasses many programmes aimed at improving the welfare of the population, either through capacity building or direct support such as the distribution of livestock to the most vulnerable.

It has seen over one million people emerge from extreme poverty in the last few years and more projects are on the drawing board to build on the achievements.

For a country that was brought to its knees two decades ago, the learning experience, however bitter it was, has helped it chart a familiar course for the better.

The availability of affordable healthcare for all has been a headache for richer and even more advanced nations, but Rwanda has managed to find a solution.

Nowhere has seen remarkable turnaround than the reduction in infant and mother mortality rates as well as the propagation of HIV. So, when the government turns its focus on new projects to improve people's welfare, it is time to take notice and interest.

The latest subject to come under the crosshairs of social protection has been the issue of orphanages. Nearly half have been phased out over the years in favour of promoting adoptions so that the children are raised in a family environment.

While the adoption policy has seen some success, severely incapacitated orphans have found it a daunting task to find welcoming homes. Only about 40 per cent have found new families.

Many would-be parents are reluctant to take on the task of looking after children with special needs. So the government's move to bring all homeless acutely handicapped orphans under its wings is a commendable move.

But why should the government shoulder all the responsibilities alone? Isn't there something people could do to support those centres, even if they will be run by the state? That is food for thought.

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