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Rwanda: The Role of Grassroots Organizing in Overcoming Development Challenges

Twenty-four people from the U.S., Ghana, Tanzania, and Namibia traveled to Rwanda to learn from Faith in Action’s Rwandan affiliate, People Improving Communities through Organizing (PICO Rwanda). Participants met with grassroots leaders, community organizers, government officials, and religious leaders, attended community meetings, visited local and national genocide memorials, and participated in a regular monthly community work day (Umuganda). Themes of history, transformation, empowerment, growth and agency emerged over our week together.

Historical memory of the genocide is a constant theme in how the Rwandans talk about their motivation and focus on social cohesion and development.  PICO Rwanda leaders shared how organizing led to their personal and communal transformation out of the ashes of genocide. Organizers and grassroots leaders repeatedly emphasized the need for community residents to hold themselves accountable as a necessary step toward holding the government accountable. Organizing successes have motivated PICO Rwanda leaders to plan to grow their work in new communities and support their African sisters and brothers to undertake organizing as well.

Click here to read our report on the International Learning Exchange delegation to Rwanda

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