The Chairperson of LNB Network, Mr Elie MUGABOWISHEMA has explained in details the aim of this dialogue as to search a solution of maintaining a sustainable development to different categories of people (elders, persons with disabilities, Historical marginalized people, etc) basing on the 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) with their principle to leave no one behind; This is an opportunity to discuss on who is being left behind, why and what to do in order to make accessible, inclusive and suitable all services related to SDGs. He said that we are lucky that our country was among the best in the implementation of MDGs which gave Rwanda an opportunity of hosting the SDGs Center for Africa.
The Chairperson has shared with the participants the guiding questions for the dialogue:
- Who are facing difficulties to access to different services?
- Who is responsible at government level, for helping those who are being left behind?
- Who is responsible at civil society level, for helping those who are being left behind?
- What can we do to help those who are being left behind?
He even shared the country profile based on the existing data and the summary of the results of local dialogues conducted in 11 districts prior to the national dialogue. After his speech, followed the testimony of one caregiver to older persons, one representative of older persons, one representative of persons with disabilities at the same time infected by HIV and at old age, and one representative of historically marginalized people. All the testimonies pointed the common challenge of misunderstanding of caregivers and service providers about how to treat those people and also they’ve asked whether there can be a special advocacy for their well being. Especially on health, education, economy and see how they can rebuild confidence to those people who are being left behind.
An open dialogue to all participants has started after a short break, the participants discussed about the questions listed above, many of the participant showed the challenges that make one group of people to be left behind such as:
- Loneliness for older people
- Education background
- Lack of the acknowledgement of the community they belong in.
- Lack of the policy on the rights and welfare of older people
The participants closed the discussions by recommending the following:
- Integrate social inclusion in all the programs developed by both the Government and its Civil society organization partners
- Emphasize on changing the mindset and taking care of all and leave no one behind.
- Empowering on reaching water and sanitation to the most vulnerable people.
- Increasing health friendly services for all, initiate geriatric services in all referral and district hospitals and train health professionals on the basic knowledge on gerontology.
- Free of charge medical treatment for older persons suffering from NCDs and HIV
- Increase evidence based advocacy by conducting researches and elderly situational assessment.
- Emphasize on NDI UMUNYARWANDA (I’m Rwandan) program for all.
- Maintain this LNB coalition in order to unite our effort for effective advocacy.
- Accelerate the National Policy on the rights and welfare of older persons
- Translate the SDGs into Kinyarwanda and disseminate them to larger population.
- Train and teach the categories of the most vulnerable about their rights.
- The participants have argued that such dialogues should be organized as frequent as possible in order to share all innovative ideas.
As it is not easy to satisfy all the SDGs at the same time, the top 5 priorities have been identified:
- Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
- End poverty in all its forms everywhere
- End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
- Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
- Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
In his closing remarks, the Guest of honor, Dr Octave SEMWAGA, the Director General of Strategic Planning and Programs Coordinator at MINAGRI, thanked the civil society for their contribution to the implementation of the SDGs in collaboration with the Government of Rwanda. He encouraged the Rwanda LNB Network to sustain for the SDGs lifelong and keep advocating for Social integration across all the programs developed both by the Government and Civil Society organizations. He ensured the full support of the Government to however who will be implementing the SDGs, especially those in line with MINAGRI, these recommendations will be taken into account in the budget of next fiscal year.