Kigali, 4 July 2017
Rwandans across the country and in the Diaspora celebrated the 23rd anniversary of the Liberation Day, remembering the time when the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi was stopped by the Rwanda Patriotic Army [Now Rwanda Defense Forces] and citizens embarked on a long journey to positively transform their country.
In the lead, up to the commemoration of Liberation Day, the Ministry of Defense organized a two-month long concept of socio-economic activities commonly known as the ‘’Army Week’’ during which several social protection activities were carried out by the Rwanda Defense Force (RDF) together with other government institutions and citizens across the country.
During the Army week 2017 that started on May 4, 2017, organized in partnership with other government institutions, several activities were carried out to the benefit of thousands of people, mainly the most vulnerable. The activities included; provision of various free medical services, building hospitals, feeder roads and bridges, preparing land for farming and fighting the notorious Army worms that destroyed crops in the country during the Season B.
Among the activities undertaken during this money-saving development concept was the cultivation of sweetpotato as one of the staple foods that are expected to secure food scarcity during the dry season. According to the Rwanda’s Ministry of Agriculture, the 2 month long activities register 5,792 Ha of marshland and hillsides cultivated with different crops including the vitamin A rich Orange-fleshed Sweetpotatoes disseminated in Rwanda by the International Potato Center (CIP), in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture.
On Thursday 19th May, during the cultivation of these life-saving vines in Ngororero District where CIP partners with YWCA and the local government to reduce malnutrition using Orange-fleshed Sweetpotato, it was endorsed that the orange sweetpotato varieties were chosen among others to help eradicating Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) among the most at risk including children of under five years and pregnant and lactating mothers.
‘’Since the guns fell silent, we started the struggle to fight for the well being of the people, whom we are part of. That’s why we are cultivating these Orange-fleshed Sweetpotatoes to help you in dealing with your nutritional status’’ said Colonel Frank Byabagamba, the commander of reserve forces in Ngororero District.
According to the Ministry of Defense, the 2017 paramilitary interventions focusing on liberating the country from hunger and health related threats, through provision of various free medical services along with many other activities, enabled the government to have saved 71,6 billion plus improving the well being of citizens who benefited.