The ability to produce energy greatly impacts a countries socio-environmental capacity influencing development, infrastructure and economic status. Low socioeconomic status is intrinsically linked to low health outcomes and low life expediency (Munyaneza, Muhammad, & Chen, 2016). Poverty is often caused by high unemployment, little access to education, food resources and health care. People living in poverty are vulnerable, to disease from dirty water and infections (United Nations, 2016). Often stigmatised these members of society become marginalised having to live on the outskirts of the city. Extreme poverty is defined by the World bank as living on less than $1.25 a day (World Bank data, 2018). Currently there is 783 million people that is equal to 10% of the world’s working population, most of these people live in Southern Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, such as Rwanda (United Nations, 2016). Rwanda is a landlocked Sub-Saharan country in Africa, 63% of Rwanda’s population live in extreme poverty, however, it is my belief through strong leadership, investment in human capital and most significantly reconciliation and forgiveness, President Paul Kagame has transformed Rwanda into one of the world’s fastest growing economies, pathing the way to end poverty for all Rwandan’s by 2030.
1 Historical factor: how the past influences the present
Rwanda has a long history in tribal conflict between Tutsis and Hutus. In 1959 Belgian took an administrative role under a League of Nations mandate, and as part of a UN trust territory, ‘Ruanda–Urundi’. The Tutsi elite inspired by the independent movement formed a political party called Union Nationale Rwandaise. In response, the Hutu with Belgian backing formed their own political party, known as Parti de l’émancipation du peuple Hutu (Parmehutu) (Moghalu, Kingsley ; Chiedu, 2017, p. 183). Parmehutu initiated a Hutu uprising in 1960 as the elections grew close, resulting in the death of the King and many Tutsis whereby tens of thousands of Tutsis fled into exile in Uganda and Burundi. Many more Tutsi suffered violence and institutionalised discrimination by order of the Hutu administration. Rwanda became a republic a year later followed by independence from Belgium. The most serious eruption of violence at this time was triggered in 1963 by an movement from Burundi of exiled Rwandan Tutsi and resulted in the death of at least 15,000 Tutsis at the hands of Hutu gangs. 1973 saw the toppling of the Hutu by the Tutsi who ruled for a time till Kayibanda was overthrown in 1973 in a military coup led by army chief of staff Juvénal Habyarimana. Rwanda come under a period of military rule, until 1978, when a new constitution was promulgated and Habyarimana became President (Moghalu, Kingsley ; Chiedu, 2017, p. 183). The Rwandese Alliance for National Unity (RANU) was formed in 1979 by Rwandan refugees in exile and revolted against the political rule until the United Nations stepped in and brokered for peace, with power passing back and forth between Tutsi and Hutu rule. In 1994 while under the rule of Hutu a plane carrying the president was shot down sparking the world’s worst genocide. April 4th marked the beginning of the mass slaughter of Tutsi which lasted 90 days, at which time almost one million Tutsi and some moderate Hutus were killed by direction of the government, Hutu militia and elements of the Rwandan army. In response the RPF began a major offensive from the north (Moghalu, Kingsley & Chiedu, 2017, p. 183). A systematic count by the government of Rwanda in collaboration with genocide survivor organisations established that 1,074,017 people were killed, of whom 934,218 have been identified by names: 93.6% were killed because they were Tutsi; the others either because they were Hutus married to Tutsis, resembled Tutsi, had hidden Tutsi neighbours or were Hutus who opposed the killings. Most of the killings were done by everyday people armed with machetes and farm forks. It was said, after the first kill they became motivated like a sickness whereby they couldn’t stop the slaughter. Meanwhile the rest of the world sat back and watched (Moghalu, Kingsley ; Chiedu, 2017, p. 183).
July 1994 the RPF a Tutsi lead army from the neighbouring country took control of Kigali and formed an administration and begun a new ruling based on the principles of power-sharing and national reconciliation which were the basis of the 1993 Arusha Accords (Moghalu, Kingsley ; Chiedu, 2017, p. 183). The administration comprised five political parties: the RPF, Christian Democratic Party, Liberal Party, Republican Democratic Movement and Social Democratic Party. Pasteur Bizimungu was inaugurated as President for a five-year term; the RPF military chief Paul Kagame became Vice-President and Defence Minister (Moghalu, Kingsley ; Chiedu, 2017, p. 183). Kagame became president of Rwanda in 2000 and has since turned the war-torn country into one of the cleanest, safest and fast-growing economic hubs in the nation. (Moghalu, Kingsley ; Chiedu, 2017, p. 183).
2 Cultural factors: how culture impacts on our lives;
President Kagame reformed Rwanda’s culture by drawing upon aspects of ancient Rwandan practices such as umuganda, the act of community service, unity and dedication to country (Desrosiers, & Thomson, 2011). Reinforced through the active involvement of all citizens and levels of government providing service to the community, removing rubbish, building roads/schools as well as building homes for those citizens who were without. One day per month community members gather together and work on the projects the community needs, after the work is done all citizens participate in a banquet and celebrate with music and cultural songs (Crawley, 2000). By coming together communities build close relationships as they discuss and resolve issues as a community, paving the way for economic growth and a better future for all Rwandans (Desrosiers, & Thomson, 2011). Rwanda’s steady economic growth can also be attributed to Kagame’s regime rhetoric of reconciliation and ethnic unity, gender equality and investment in education. Rwandan culture based upon this rhetoric remains a driving force behind their developments in luxury tourism, information and communication technologies, modernized agriculture and in the medical health sectors (Desrosiers, & Thomson, 2011). The new Rwandan culture boasts Rwandan solutions to Rwandan problems. Evident by their innovative methane gas sourced power, a solution to the country’s past power crisis (Munyaneza, Muhammad, ; Chen, 2016). It has been projected that Rwanda will be able to satisfy 100% of its populations electrical needs reliably and sustainably by 2022-2024 (Munyaneza, Muhammad, ; Chen, 2016).
3 Structural factors: how particular forms of social organisation affect our lives;
With the formation of new government, many new laws were made addressing issues and assist in the rebuilding of the war-torn country. They made a law to eliminate all reference to ethnicity in identification documents and banned the use of references to Tutsi and Hutu ethnicity declaring all citizens from then on to be known as Rwandans fostering a shared sense of identity (Kohen, Zanchelli, ; Drake, 2011). Another was the practice of “umuganda” regular community work, which entailed every citizen once a month had to participate in doing community work such as building schools, roads, bridges or what ever was needed in their differing communities (Kohen., et al 2011). Everyone by law had participate even the present. By doing this they rebuilt the country while fostering community spirit and reinforcing unity across the country (Kohen., et al 2011).
Today Rwanda’s population principally consists of woman due to the 1994 genocide where almost one million Tutsi and some moderate Hutus men were slaughter. The woman who survived had to raise children who had lost their parents and maintain their household (Crawley, 2000). Woman became the head of the family responsible for making decision and provide support their family. It became the norm for woman to seek work, many becoming agriculture labours, a role that had traditionally been a held by men (Crawley, 2000). This shift in traditional roles lead to the raise of new laws that gave men and woman equal rights to inherit property. The 1994 genocide which had targeted and killed mainly men cause a massive upheaval in Rwandan society bringing about a change in social structure (Crawley, 2000).