Kagame holds talks with Mayor of New York

On 17 September 2022 at 10:24

President Paul Kagame has met with the Mayor of New York, Eric Adams with whom they discussed opportunities for partnerships as well as Rwanda’s economic growth and innovative homegrown solutions including Umuganda (monthly community work) and Car Free Day.

Kagame is in the United States of America (USA) to attend the United Nations General Assembly in New York next week.

The discussed Car Free Day is a mass sports event which takes place twice a month in Kigali City.

The sporting event serves to make Kigali a green city while promoting a healthy lifestyle. The bi-monthly Car Free Day usually takes place between 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. every first and third Sunday of the month, bringing together city dwellers for physical fitness exercises.

The exercise started in 2016, aimed promoting healthy lifestyle among Rwandans and help them benefit from other health activities like screening for non-communicable diseases.

Car Free Day provides a platform to educate people on healthy lifestyle choices in general and creates awareness that roads are not only built for vehicles but also for pedestrians.

Among others, the mass sports helps to reduce air pollution.

Meanwhile, the community work aims at sharing the practice of ’Umuganda’ as one of the homegrown solutions aimed at uniting people and help the community to protect their environment.

Umuganda can be referred to as an activity of “coming together in common purpose to achieve an outcome,” a practice that has long existed in Rwandan culture but only recently became mandatory.

Umuganda was carried out to build or renovate a house for a member of the community and till farm lands among others.

As per history, Umuganda was adopted by the first and second republic after Rwanda’s Independence in 1962 and used as a platform to spread political ideology among people, hence distorting its goal.

Since 2007, the Government of Rwanda revised the program’s priorities to align them with activities promoting national development, contributing to national budget and socialization among people.

Umuganda is conducted every last Saturday of the month. It brings together all Rwandans aged between 18 and 65.

The activity has had a huge impact to beneficiaries in a short time span. For instance, over 400 families living in dilapidated structures in Nyanza District were helped to live in decent houses in 2017.

They were built through community work and local leadership’s support which provided roofing sheets.

Rwanda's economic growth was among topics of discussions.
Discussions also revolved around Rwanda's home grown solutions.