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According to Jean Baptiste Habyarimana, the executive secretary of the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission (NURC), the commission has over the past two years made good progress in its activities, mainly through intensive mobi­lization, grassroots partnership with citizens in peace building and solving social conflicts.

The commission also made contributions to other pro¬grams, such as the removal of grass-thatched houses. (file photo)

“Mobilization was mainly car­ried through Itorero and train­ing activities; we recorded over 40,000 people who passed differ­ent civic education sessions and courses on unity and reconcilia­tion programs. Among them we had 1,681 trainers; 35,783 stu­dents; close to 2,500 taxi-moto drivers; 85 people in the Diaspo­ra and also people in prison ser­vices,” Habyarimana said while presenting the NURC’s annual report in the Senate.

He added that throughout training and mobilization, they emphasized the country’s im­portant historical moments; the background of Itorero and its importance today; the role of youth in the peace building pro­cess and the achievements of a sustainable development along­side the culture of savings and other civic education compo­nents.

“Considering the focus on ac­countability today, the NURC has found it relevant to insert new courses which tackle the negative effects of corruption, injustice and poor service de­livery,” the executive secretary said. “On top of that we work hand in hand with local leaders and try to ensure a big turn-out on occasions such as umuganda and collective efforts in address­ing challenges in education, health and other sectors.”

The commission also made contributions to other pro­grams, such as the removal of grass-thatched houses, where its trainers and staff raised close to Frw 2,000,000 to help construct new houses in Burera district, where NURC also helped peo­ple for road construction in the new villages as well as tracing of hillside terraces.

According to Habyarimana, Itorero is a key component in reuniting the population and sensitize them on their role in the nation’s progress. “We have seen different cases of success­ful integration; for example, in Gisagara district people started a program of integrating former inmates by inviting them to par­ticipate in church services and daily activities. It was a very good approach and we com­mended it,” he said.

Another achievement the ex­ecutive secretary highlighted was the Rwanda Reconciliation Barometer research carried out in 2010, which found that the country’s unity and reconcilia­tion program had achieved 70% of its objectives. The Barometer assessed political culture, hu­man security, citizenship and identity, understanding the past, transitional justice and the social cohesion.

Yet the study also identified areas that require more atten­tion. For example, between 30 and 35% of Rwandans are not satisfied with systems relating to the access of the land, hous­ing, and compensations for genocide survivors; they neither feel fully integrated in decision making nor believe they have equal opportunities in the shar­ing of the government resources and assets.

In this respect, senator Nar­cisse Musabeyezu remarked that the commission should do more of such research in order to enhance the education system as far as civic education is con­cerned.

“We should enrich the na­tional curriculum with findings from research into civic educa­tion so that the new generation knows the history of our coun­try,” Musabeyezu said. “Our children have the right to know the truth about their country’s, and the commission should con­tribute to it.”

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