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Colby College

Publication Date

Spring 2013

Program Name

Rwanda: Post-Genocide Restoration and Peacebuilding


Rwanda is currently pursuing an ambitious development agenda that already has led to impressive results. The government has created many development programs that are aimed at poverty eradication and urban development in Kigali including housing regulations, cooperatives, and access to loans. However, how are these programs translated into the daily life of Rwandans who operate within the lower economic strata of Kigali? Who get’s to participate in these programs and who doesn’t? Through a month of ethnographic research in markets, umudugudus, and small businesses I gathered different narratives of development in Kigali. What I discovered was small lines of exclusion that form underneath the surface of many of these development programs. This exclusion is rarely talked about due to the silence surrounding the seemingly stigmatized subject of poverty in Kigali. The people who are excluded from these important development programs are often displaced through both direct and indirect means outside of the city boundaries of Kigali. These subtle forms of exclusion not only exclude people from the powerful benefits of these development programs but also from the communities that are formed within them. Despite these unintended processes of exclusion, Rwandans are finding ways to re-make and re-imagine themselves in response to these development programs in order to make ends meet. It is within these subtle forms of resistance and alternative methods that the most powerful insights on the creation of a more inclusive development programs can be found.


Growth and Development