Rwanda: EU Donates Equipment to Civil Society

The New Times (Kigali)

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Frank Kagabo

Twelve Rwandan civil society organisations Monday received a donation of Information Technology (IT) equipment and office furniture worth Frw50 million from the European Union (EU).

According to a statement from the EU, the donation will boost the organisations' activities.

The statement further reads that the organisations which all receive funding from the EU under the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), were carefully selected in order to make sure that the equipment will be of particular use in the projects they are implementing.

The 12 organisations are: Haguruka, Eglise Presbyterienne du Rwanda (EPR), Umuseke, Youth Association for Human Rights Promotion and Development (AJPRODHO), Enfant chez soi, Societe pour le Developement des Associations (SDA Iriba), Communauté des Potiers au Rwanda (COPORWA), the umbrella organisation of the 1994 Rwanda genocide survivors (IBUKA), Congrès du Travail et de la Fraternité (COTRAF), Programme Régional de Formation et d'Echanges pour le Développement (PREFED Rwanda) and Human Rights First.

The equipment was originally used by the EU Electoral Observer Mission which has been in Rwanda for 3 months to observe the September parliamentary elections, as part of the European Union's endeavours to support the democratisation process in Rwanda in cooperation with the National Electoral Commission.

Speaking at the handing over ceremony, the head of delegation of the European Commission to Rwanda, Ambassador Dr. David MacRae, encouraged civil society organisations to keep up their efforts in support of the disadvantaged.

"As you know, the EU has fielded a large mission to observe the elections which has now completed its work in Rwanda," he said, adding, "The equipment we are distributing today is an extra bonus for Rwanda."

MacRae said that each of the organisations receiving the equipment is working on the ground to promote human rights.

"Often, they work discretely in the background and so do not always receive the credit they deserve for their excellent achievements," he noted.

He added that the donation is a way of acknowledging the relentless efforts and showing the EU's special appreciation for the role they play in promoting the Rwandan civil society.

These projects have various objectives aimed at promoting the rights of less favoured people such as helping historically marginalised people to be better integrated into society and providing literacy training for women in rural areas, among others.

"I do hope this equipment, which is an extra support to the funding they receive from the EU through the EIDHR, can be put to good use and will help them implement these important projects even better," he said.

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MacRae also revealed that the Chief Observer will be returning to Rwanda shortly to present his final report on the recently concluded parliamentary elections.

Jean-Louis Kayitenkore
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