International Alert has launched a three-year project in Rwanda titled ‘Partnership for peaceful rural transformation’.
Funded by the Office of Conflict Management and Mitigation (CMM) through the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the project will respond to challenges and opportunities presented by the Rwandan government’s ambitious land reform programme, which aims to bring about more effective and efficient land management in the country.
The project applies a ‘conflict-sensitivity’ lens to the initiatives proposed in the government’s programme. This means addressing the information gap that exists between the government and communities on far-reaching implications of the programme, such as the implementation of the reforms, and the challenges they may pose.
The project aims to increase space for debate on land reform and rural development in Rwanda in order to ensure that these ultimately lead to equitable growth and reduction of the risk of conflict.
"USAID recognizes the achievements Rwanda has made through ambitious land reform policies. We also recognize that many challenges and opportunities still exist in the land sector due to changing land issues. We are excited about the way the Peaceful Rural Transformation activity will engage communities, local authorities, civil society and the private sector to increase their awareness of and engagement in land policies toward the goal of reducing land-related conflict", Peter Malnak, USAID’s Mission Director in Rwanda, said. "Reducing conflict and improving social cohesion is a priority of both the government of Rwanda and the US government and we are proud to support such an important initiative."
Commenting on the aim of the project, Gloriosa Bazigaga, International Alert’s Country Manager for Rwanda and Burundi, said: "Solving land related conflict is the right and peaceful way for sustainable development in Rwanda."
The launch event took place on 14 November in Huye district, in Rwanda’s Southern province. It was an opportunity for project staff to interact with Rwandan government officials and other key stakeholders and to deepen the understanding of the land-related conflicts within specific areas targeted by the project, laying a strong foundation for partnerships.
The project, which started on 1 May 2013 and will run until 30 April 2016, will be implemented in four districts: Ngoma in the Eastern province, Huye in the Southern province and Ngororero and Rutsiro in the Western province. Some project activities will also be implemented at the national level.