The cabinet meeting of the 16th June 2020 has approved the third review and classification of households into Ubudehe categories. Still under usage, the current four Ubudehe categories have been existing since 2015 after the second review.
Traditionally, the concept of Ubudehe refers to the long standing Rwandan practice and culture of collective action and mutual support to solve problems within a community. Back to 1998-1999, Ubudehe was conceived through a set of meetings (Urugwiro Debates). The Urugwiro Debates discussed most pressing issues and prioritised policies and programs that promoted collective action and that upheld the principles of decentralisation. The rejuvenation of Ubudehe as a home grown solution came in the aftermath of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and the country was transitioning from emergency assistance to sustainable development and Ubudehe was prioritised as one of the initiatives to contribute to poverty reduction as well as reinforcing the National Unity and Reconciliation and social cohesion processes.
After reintroduction in 2001, the initial design of Ubudehe counted six categories which had names assigned to each category, namely (1) Abatindi nyakujya, (2) Abatindi, (3) Abakene, (4) Abakene bifashije, (5) Abakungu-Jumba, and (6) Abakire. Since then, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MINECOFIN) and the Ministry of Local Government (MINALOC) were tasked to lead the process of facilitating communities in local participatory planning and problem solving. The second review of the Ubudehe categories commenced from 2013 to 2015 and the categories were revised from 6 to 4, and instead of names, each category was assigned a number (numerical value) from 1 to 4 in ascending order.
Information from the Director General of the Local Administrative Entities Development Agency (LODA), Mrs. NYINAWAGAGA Claudine, says that “the cabinet resolution has given green light to the commencement of the activities which include piloting and rolling out categorization of households into new Ubudehe categories. From now there will be more stakeholder consultations before delving into the real household classification process”. Further, she revealed that the approved cabinet paper provides for a six month transition period before new Ubudehe categories come into use, and thus citizens will continue to refer to the existing Ubudehe categories until December 2020. “All institutions and agencies currently relying on Ubudehe to provide services will adapt the use of the new Ubudehe categories within a period of 6 months and starting using them by January 2021.Each institution or agency will develop detailed service guidelines to align to the revised Ubudehe categories”, reads the cabinet paper.
According to the new Ubudehe category design, there will be five (5) Ubudehe categories as preferred by the majority of citizens. Based on the consolidated citizen feedback report from local government and civil society organizations, it was indicated that 52.2% of the citizens preferred 5 categories.
MINALOC will have the overall oversight and coordination role of the Ubudehe categorization process, including approval of the tools, while LODA will be charged with the development of the tools, support district training and monitor the day to day categorization process. It should be ensured that all households participate in the categorization process and all households assigned a category at village level. Media, Faith Based Organizations (FBOs), and Civil Society Organizations (CSO) are expected to be partners in awareness campaigns, mobilization and during the implementation process.
As one of social protection programme schemes under the auspices of LODA, Ubudehe has largely contributed and goes on contributing to community and household projects which are financed and implemented at village and household levels to help beneficiaries improve their living conditions.