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Community-led Ubudehe categorisation kicks off


The community-led Ubudehe categorisation has begun this week across Rwanda. The process aims to uplift poor families’ living standards and improve social welfare. The word Ubudehe refers to the long-standing Rwandan practice and culture of collective action and mutual support to solve problems within a community. Today, the concept has been translated into a home grown development programme whereby citizens are placed into different categories. These categories inform the level of support families receive through government social protection programmes. 

In 2014, the Local Administrative Entities Development Agency created new Ubudehe categories. Under the programme, households are put in categories based on their social-economic status, and their property – in terms of land and other belongings – and what the families’ breadwinners do to earn a living. The categories are as follows:

  • Category 1: Families who do not own a house and can hardly afford basic needs. 
  • Category 2: Those who have a dwelling of their own or are able to rent one but rarely get full time jobs.
  • Category 3: Those who have a job and farmers who go beyond subsistence farming to produce a surplus which can be sold. The latter also includes those with small and medium enterprises who can provide employment to dozens of people. 
  • Category 4: Those who own large-scale business, individuals working with international organisations and industries as well as public servants.

Speaking at the launch of the exercise, Minister of Local Government Francis Kaboneka told Gakenke district residents that it aims to improve the livelihoods of Rwandans to ensure that no one is left behind in the country’s development.

The new Ubudehe categorisation process involves local leaders and communities. The community gathers and a representative from each household gives details on the families’ social and economic status. The details are provided through to a questionnaire designed by the Ministry of Local Government. After each household has filled in the questionnaire, the community gathers at the cell level to crosscheck the accuracy of the information. When the community approves the information as accurate, the categorisation process begins. The data collected is sent to the district level which sends it to the Ministry of Local Government for validation. 

The new categorisation process was first piloted in August last year. After it registered success in the districts of Nyarugenge, Rulindo, Gisagara, Nyagatare and Rutsiro the Ubudehe categorisation was launched nationwide. 

For more information about Ubudehe, visit

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