Rwanda Launches Virtual Centre of Excellence

Jan 18, 2018

The Online Centre of Excellence will be able to feed into the development dialogues taking place in neighbouring countries, said Fodé Ndiaye, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative. Photo: Adam Rogers/UNDP

The online knowledge-management platform also will promote ongoing discussions among practitioners in search of time-sensitive solutions

KIGALI, Rwanda, 18 January 2018 —  The Government of Rwanda, together with the United Nations Development Programme and with support from the Republic of Korea officially launched a web-based Center of Excellence to share knowledge relevant to the promotion and achievement of locally-developed solutions to global environmental challenges.  The centre of excellence was launched at a high-level National Forum on Knowledge Sharing for Inclusive and Sustainable New Community Development in Kigali. 

The Online Centre of Excellence was set up and is managed by the Rwanda Green Fund, an autonomous body set up by the Government of Rwanda to invest in the best public and private projects that have the potential for transformative change and that align with Rwanda’s commitment to building a strong green economy.   The programme has been operational since 2016 through a series of workshops that were organized to gather and share knowledge needs and preliminary expectations and to build capacities in knowledge sharing among key stakeholders.

 Hubert Ruzibiza, Chief Executive Officer of the Rwanda Green Fund, said he hopes the knowledge sharing platform will help facilitate the exchange of available knowledge on tools and practices and connect different institutions, organizations, and individuals generating knowledge for sustainable development.

“There is substantive evidence showing that South–South cooperation has the potential to accelerate sustainable rural development, in connecting knowledge and experience between countries,” he said. “We hope to add to this cooperation through sharing our home-grown solutions on this platform.”

Through capturing, documenting and facilitating dialogue around both successes and failures, the Online Centre of Excellence will be able to feed into the development dialogues taking place in neighbouring countries, said Fodé Ndiaye, United Nations Resident Coordinator and Resident Representative of UNDP.

“Rwanda has developed a number of innovative solutions to its development challenges over the past 20 years,” he said.  “By sharing its successes through this platform with other countries, Rwanda will be helping others.”

Kim Eung Joong, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Rwanda, said the genesis of the project was a multi-country initiative based on a form of community-driven local development in Korea called Saemaul Undong (SMU), which is based on the principles of diligence, self-help and cooperation towards transformed communities with a long-term shared vision of a better life for all through small-scale self-help projects.

“UNDP and the Republic of Korea partnered to promote the SMU-inspired Inclusive and Sustainable New Communities (ISNC) programme in six countries: Rwanda, Uganda, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam and Bolivia,” he said, adding that the Rwanda experience was the only one of the six to involve the development of a virtual platform to facilitate knowledge management and sharing.

The Rwandan Center of Excellence is now being assessed as a best practice for lessons that can be leveraged and applied elsewhere, said Simona Marinescu, Director of UNDP’s Development Impact Group in New York, which oversaw implementation of the ISNC programme.

“We are interested in the way Rwanda will further develop the Online OoE as a domestic solutions platform as we expand the global SSMart for the SDGs, she said.  “SSMart is a similar platform that we hope will one day reach across the global South from Argentina to Zambia, providing both online and offline services to help match demand-supply, broker South-South Cooperation partnerships, provide advisory services and support implementation.” 

In line with this vision, a delegation from UNDP Uganda attended the launch in Kigali to assess the possibility of establishing a similar Center of Excellence based on the Rwanda experience.

Innocent F. Ejolu, Team Leader of the Institutional Effectiveness Programme at UNDP Uganda, said he is impressed at the enormous strides Rwanda has made in various aspects of its development, and hopes the FONERWA Centre of Excellence will be able to help the country to document this experience so that it can be shared with others.

“Ideally, we would like to replicate the model as a platform to document our own experiences under the ISNC model,” he said. “Such a system could assist Uganda to share its own experiences with its neighbours– in the spirit of South-South Cooperation.”

You can visit the Online Centre of Excellence here.

For more information and media interviews, contact:

In Rwanda:
Gisele Nyampinga: +250 788 802 595
David Toovey (GoR/FONERWA): +250 786 591 727
In New York:
Adam Rogers, @adamrogers2030; +1 202 601 0161  or +250 78 344 6161

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