2016 is an exciting year for RISD, full of good reasons for celebration. This year, RISD celebrates her 20 years of existence in Rwanda. RISD has developed an ICT4D system that supports in particular the Abunzi committee to record the community disputes they receive, for faster monitoring and management. RISD has reviewed her website for a more friendly and increased interaction with partners. RISD has launched her new 5-year strategy plan that covers the period 2016-2020. This new strategy is in itself a milestone that guides the organization’s program at different levels, nationally, regionally and internationally. During the next 5 years, RISD shall see herself grow further in the area of networking and advocacy, in advancing sustainable development and social justice for the poor and the disadvantaged, including women.

Guided by RISD’s vision of “ensuring equitable access to and rational use of land resources, for peace and economic achievement directed towards sustainable development and social justice”, RISD continues to implement the technical option of accompanying Rwanda’s land reform, given the importance of land to Rwandans in all aspects of life: political, economical, gender equality, and rights based. An important component of Rwanda’s land reform that RISD has committed to support given the existing gap, is the area of dispute management, which touches on the four important aspects of land mentioned above. Further, based on preliminary feedbacks from the grassroots, gathered through RISD’s action oriented research, the biggest gap in the area of managing land related disputes is the lack of data on existing disputes, and the lack of confidence in the existing rich knowledge of mediation at the grassroots, without going to court. It is cognizant of these gaps that RISD initiated the furtherance of ICT4D, for effective support with impact, as a contribution to the dispute management initiatives in Rwanda.

A major experience over the last 20 years of RISD’s existence is that successful pursuit of sustainable development is rooted at the grassroots; where the beneficiaries are the main partners of the program. They own it, do it with you, and demonstrate the benefits through impact! RISD’s success has also benefited from the existing tripartite partnership between the government, her development partners and the civil society.

Of course, due to the highly well-modeled Board of Directors with clear policy guidance, RISD is also able to excel.

With love to all our partners!

Annie Kairaba (MA)