Rwanda: MTN donates to ex-combatants

MTN CEO, Gunter Engling (C) hands  over cheque to Hon. Francis Kaboneka (L), on the right is Mr. Jean Sayinzoga, head of the Demobilisation Commission

MTN CEO, Gunter Engling (C) hands over cheque to Hon. Francis Kaboneka (L), on the right is Mr. Jean Sayinzoga, head of the Demobilisation Commission

Telecom giant MTN Rwanda has donated Rwf 3 million to support the families of vulnerable ex-combatants under the Rwanda Demobilization and Reintegration Commission umbrella.

The telecom giant a subsidiary of MTN South Africa handed over the money to the Rwandan Minister of Local Government (MINALOC), Francis Kaboneka at the Ministry’s offices in Kacyiru, a suburb of the Rwandan capital Kigali  this week.

According to MTN Rwanda Chief Executive Officer, Engling Gunter, the company has supported a number of initiatives in the areas of Education, Health, Economic empowerment, Environment and Community Development through its Corporate Social Responsibility vehicle, MTN Foundation.

“This gesture is part of the company’s long tradition of giving back to society because we at MTN Rwanda realize and understand the importance of continued support towards the communities where we operate in a sustainable way,” said Engling at the handover ceremony.

Minister Kaboneka hailed MTN Rwanda for its efforts and commitment in supporting the families of ex-combatants and noted that other companies should engage more in corporate social responsibility as a way of giving back to the community.

The Rwanda Demobilization and Reintegration Commission (RDRC) program was established to attend to the special needs of women, disabled and child ex-combatants.

Since its establishment in 1997, the program has supported the transition to civilian life of 20,000 military personnel of the Rwanda Defense Forces (RDF) and 16,000 combatants of the Rwandan armed groups (AGs), including 1,600 child ex-combatants.

Some former ex-combatants like, Ezra Byiringiro, a former rebel from the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) has benefited from the program after he was rehabilitated and acquired other skills since abandoning rebel activities in the Eastern Congo.