Rwanda: Planned Reconstruction for Social Quality

Pamela Abbott* (Corresponding Author), Roger Sapsford

*Corresponding author for this work

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Rwanda is a case-study of social engineering for quality of life (QoL) and demonstrates both the possibilities and the problems that can emerge. What governments do determines the ‘social space’ for QoL. The 1994 Genocide destroyed Rwanda’s physical and social infrastructure along with a million
or more of its inhabitants. The post-Genocide Government aims to improve quality of life while ensuring that genocide never happens there again. One
of the poorest countries in Africa, Rwanda has moved towards developing a viable market economy and expanding GDP to fund poverty alleviation, though more slowly than it would have liked. Beyond this, laws and policies have been promulgated to create work, improve health, empower people through education, embed them in their communities and the nation and in general build social cohesion and inclusion—with considerable success, considering the low starting point. Central to the new Rwanda, however, is building new Rwandans—capturing the hearts, minds and loyalty of a Book ID485087_1_En__ChapID 5_Proof# 1 - 24/6/20 previously divided people. The aim is a population which is prepared to put self aside and work collectively for the nation, governed in a spirit of ‘dialogue and consensus’ rather than opposition and negotiation.
However, in practice this amounts to taking totalitarian control over the discursive agenda, which is not necessarily a stable situation. Looking at current outcomes with regard to QoL, the population do not appear to be happier or more satisfied than those elsewhere, and a non-trivial minority would list civil/political empowerment as more important than improving
their material conditions.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Quality of Life and Sustainability
EditorsJavier Martinez, Claudia Andrea Mikkelsen, Rhonda Phillips
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-50540-0
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-50539-4
Publication statusPublished - 31 Oct 2020

Publication series

NameInternational Handbooks of Quality-of-Life
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
ISSN (Print)2468-7227


  • Social quality
  • Rwanda
  • Quality of life
  • Social engineering


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