Kigali city districts are working on a system through which they will distribute food relief to residents who currently have no source of income due to the latest lockdown imposed on January 18, 2021.
The 15-day lockdown was only imposed on Kigali to contain surging Covid-19 cases in the capital.
The New Times has learnt from reliable sources that there was a meeting on Wednesday January 20, bringing together the City of Kigali and the districts and sectors representatives among others to devise ways of distributing the food in a transparent and efficient manner.
The aim of the meeting was also to ensure the distribution exercise does not flout the measures in place to contain the virus.
According to city officials, the food to be distributed is already available and the exercise will start as soon as Thursday.
A resident of Kanyinya village in Nyarugenge District receives food relief as the government rolled out support to poor households during the previous lockdown last year. Photo: File.
The Minister for Local Government, Anastase Shyaka, had earlier tasked the City of Kigali and local leaders from village to the district level to coordinate better to be able to distribute food relief to affected residents.
Speaking to The New Times on Wednesday morning, Régis Mudaheranwa, the Deputy District Executive Administrator for Gasabo District, disclosed that the food relief distribution could start on Thursday, January 21.
"We are still streamlining how the operation will be carried out and the preparation should be concluded today (Wednesday). Distribution might start tomorrow," he said.
The distribution of food relief will be different from the way it was carried out last year according to officials.
Mobilsed volunteers - who will have tested Covid-19 negative - will distribute food relief door-to-door instead of having households gathered in a crowd at village and cell offices as an effective way of preventing the spread of the pandemic.
"The youth volunteers and leaders of 'Isibo' groups (that are part of the village set up), community security organs among others will distribute the food relief to the beneficiaries," Mudaheranwa said.
There are about 1,000 volunteers operating in Kigali city who are already helping to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
Officials say more will be enlisted to help in food relief distribution in different villages of the capital to ensure it is swift.
200,000 individuals to get food in Gasabo
"There are over 40,000 households with approximately 200,000 individuals to benefit from food relief distribution in Gasabo district," he said.
According to Minister Shyaka, government is ready to support those to be affected by the pandemic in terms of daily income generation and survival adding that Good Samaritans who also want to provide food support should pass it through city of Kigali or local leaders for collaboration and better organization.
An improvement, officials said, could also be made in the current food distribution whereby households with children will also get milk in addition to beans and maize flour among other foodstuffs.
Speaking to The New Times, Esperance Nshutiraguma, the Deputy District Executive Administrator of Nyarugenge district said they are still identifying the most affected beneficiaries and testing youth volunteers who will help in the operation.
"We started assessing those we supported last year and see if there are new affected residents and those who might have left to other areas. We also prepare equipment and stocks. Distribution will start soon," she said.
She said that during last year's lockdown, 'over 40,000 households were supported in the district but said the number could slightly decrease as there are essential works that are still operating and employing people.
"Any person with food shortage can approach or call local officials for support to ensure no one is left behind. We are still reviewing figures," she said.