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Planned villages: The Integrated Development Project (IDP)

The Integrated Development Programme (IDP) was a three-year pilot initiative carried out from 2010 to 2013 in support of Rwanda’s National Human Settlement Policy. 


Planned villages: The Integrated Development Project (IDP)

In 2009, the Government of Rwanda introduced the National Human Settlement Policy[1] under the Ministry of Local Government (MINALOC) with the objective of settling rural areas in ‘planned settlement villages’. It was envisaged that rural people would voluntarily leave their existing scattered settlements and live in clustered imidugudu, well-planned human settlements for efficient service delivery and effective use of natural resources such as land and water. The programme supported the Government’s efforts to achieve key strategic results: improve the system of rural human settlement to achieve sustainable socioeconomic development, slow down population growth and accelerate progress towards achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and EDPRS goals.[2]
The Integrated Development Programme (IDP)[3] was a three-year pilot initiative carried out from 2010 to 2013 in support of Rwanda’s National Human Settlement Policy. It established 30 planned villages that serve as models. MINALOC implemented IDP[4] in the districts of Musanze, Kayonza and Rwamagana with the support of UNDP, UNIDO, UNICEF, FAO, WFP, RSTF/MINALOC, ILO, Imbuto Foundation and district authorities. Direct activities carried out on planned settlement sites included construction of houses, community cow sheds and biogas digesters; infrastructure development including electricity, water supply and approachable roads; creation of facilities for health, education and training; and construction of community recreational centres, green houses and business centres. Once the families shifted to the settlement site, the project provided support in developing their livelihood activities through provision of cows, support for improved agriculture (e.g. seeds, fertilizer, green house, etc.) and training on income generation activities. It also facilitated formation of community cooperatives to manage various interventions at the site. The efforts helped communities settle at the new location in a short time.
Based on the successful experience of the IDP initiative, the Government of Rwanda is scaling up from three districts to eight districts with an aim of all 30 districts, starting with its replication in one village per district. The initiative is supported by the Government’s core funding and development partners. In addition, the concept of the green village has become a driving tool for the Government to boost sustainable rural development.
Box 4: Green villages

“A Green Village is a process for attaining sustainable development where the local residents can live in a pleasant environment. In other words, by Green Village we understand a village which can be developed economically by using natural resources without affecting the natural environment.”[5]
Source: A Toolkit for the Development of Smart Green Villages in Rwanda, June 2015

Key results
·         The planned settlement approach is a successful concept: Provision of timely and quality services to people living in scattered locations across Rwanda, ‘the country of a thousand hills’, was a logistical and financial challenge. The IDP pilot demonstrated that well-established infrastructure, better services and closer markets can enhance livelihood opportunities. Increasing numbers of people are showing interest in joining organized settlement villages, and the Government of Rwanda is taking steps towards scaling up the model across the country.
·         Women feel safer, more secure and resourceful: Women are experiencing a better quality of life in planned settlement villages where their burden of daily chores has been reduced due to availability of water, electricity, biogas and health services. Many of the initial beneficiaries are survivors of the 1994 genocide and include widows and the elderly. They report feeling more safe and secure in the company of other households as compared with their previous settings in remote, scattered and poorly-built houses. Women also say they no longer feel lonely because in the model villages they can interact with others, hear new ideas and learn new skills.
·         The community is experiencing more gender equality:  The planned settlement setting has improved the labour division by gender. More than in the past, men are helping to milk cows, taking care of maintenance, cooking and looking after children. Women are participating in joint decision making about family spending on, for example, whether to spend first on health insurance (mutuelle) or on livelihood activities. Also, women say that increased work opportunities are contributing to men becoming more responsible, and that men show a better understanding of the impact of their actions on the family as a whole. Further, houses in green villages will be for women-headed households, as a selection criteria.
·         Changing the mindset of the people: People are emotionally attached to their old villages and ancestral land. Initially, the idea of relocating to a settlement village was very difficult for them to accept. After watching the way the first two settlements developed, however, more people started showing interest. They now discuss the quality of workmanship and design of the settlements.  
·         Land availability is a big issue. Given the topography and population density of the country, it was difficult to make available enough space to build the model villages. The government engaged in the process of acquiring land as well as supporting participants, especially those from marginalized and vulnerable groups, so they could own a plot of land for house construction.
·         Resource requirements are a limitation to scalability: Establishment of a planned settlement requires significant investments to acquire land, construct infrastructure (e.g. houses, biogas digesters and cow sheds), develop basic service facilities, purchase cows and meet many other expenses. The large-scale resource requirements limit the scalability of the initiative.
Lessons learned
Moving towards feasible approach creation: Though the concept has been brought to reality, its economic feasibility and scalability is still a work-in-progress. The lesson from the pilot stage was that ‘settlement development is possible and acceptable to the people’, a finding of interviews. In the subsequent stage, better-off households were given an option to purchase their own plots, which was successful. This suggests a demand-driven approach for settlement development can work. These lessons can help stakeholders to work further on developing economically feasible solutions for settlement creation with strong community ownership.
·         Transparency in selection of project beneficiaries: The project was designed based on consultations with local authorities and communities. Their main role was to ensure that the most vulnerable households were prioritized in the selection process. The selection of beneficiaries was done by involving all village members together as per the Ubudehe categories. The final list was submitted to the Cell Office, which provided verification and forwarded it to the Sector Office, which followed the same process for final submission to the district-level authority. A mechanism was put in place so that any family with an issue could file their complaint with the local administration office, which would then facilitate the resolution process through village meetings.



[3] The case study is based on a meeting with the IDP programme team, visits to model settlement villages (in different phases), meetings with community members and groups at these villages, and a desk review of programme-related documents.

[4] The project was developed along the lines of integrated development using the ‘Songai Agricultural Model in Benin’, which is focused on rural development and entrepreneurship with strong forward and backward linkages between agriculture and economic sectors.



Resource Document: 
UNDP Rwanda


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