The people of Rwanda are required to take part in the national cleanup day, Umuganda, on the last Saturday of every month. It’s one of the reasons that Rwanda is renowned in Africa for its cleanliness.
It’s not a volunteer project. Police monitor the streets and can stop Rwandans who aren’t participating and make them clean up on the spot. Rwandans who don’t participate in the cleanup could be fined 5,000 francs, nearly $6, which is not a small sum when average income is about $150 a month.
The name of the event is a Kinyarwanda word that translates as “coming together in common purpose.” It’s a time when the community comes and bestows their pride by showing the value of their country and clean together. Before the Last Saturday of every month , the village leader communicates about tasks that should be done done on the day. Every citizen knows the importance of this time, as well as in many villages an additional hour is set aside during this time to talk about community issues and concerns. It contributes to environment protection through erosion control, tree planting, and cleaning, construction and maintenance of public infrastructure, availing shelter for the needy among others.
So the idea of cleaning up the community is not just the physical coming together to gather trash, its a time to clean up community and let leaders know of problems and work together to find solutions.