Ubudehe refers to the long-standing Rwandan practice and culture of collective action and mutual support to solve problems within a community. The focus of traditional Ubudehe was mostly on cultivation.
Today, Ubudehe is a Government of Rwanda poverty reduction initiative which provides communities with the skills and support necessary to engage in problem-solving and decision-making for their development. The program helps citizens to use local institutions to achieve goals set by the community.
Ubudehe was reintroduced into Rwandan life in 2001, as a way of strengthening democratic processes and good governance through greater community involvement in decision-making. It creates opportunities for people at all levels of society, especially the village level, to interact with one another, share ideas, create institutions, and make decisions for their collective development.
It is one of Rwanda’s best-known Home Grown Initiatives (HGI) because of its participatory development approach to poverty reduction. In 2008, the program won the United Nations Public Service Award for excellence in service delivery. Today, It is one of the country’s core development programs. Discover Rwanda
The objectives of Ubudehe:
- To assist community members to classify the level and type of poverty that exists in their community and reach a common understanding of this classification
- To help communities to define their development priorities
- To bring communities together to discuss and decide upon the most effective and efficient ways to achieve poverty reduction and their development priorities
- To help communities to establish ways of funding their development plans, at both the individual and group levels
To achieve these aims, participating villages across Rwanda come together over a period of four to seven days, at a convenient time such as after-farming activities, to complete the Ubudehe process. This process takes place at the beginning of the financial year.
Meetings are chaired by the president of the local Ubudehe Committee and the village leader. They usually last for three hours each day. Ubudehe takes place at both the umudugudu (village), and household levels through similar processes.