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Itorero

Overview

Traditional Itorero was a cultural school where Rwandans would learn language, patriotism, social relations, sports, dancing, songs and defence. This system was created so that young people could grow with an understanding of their culture. Participants were encouraged to discuss and explore Rwandan cultural values. The tradition of Itorero also provided formative training for future leaders.

As part of efforts to reconstruct Rwanda and nurture a shared national identity, the Government of Rwanda drew on aspects of Rwandan culture and traditional practices to enrich and adapt its development programs to the country’s needs and context. The result is a set of Home Grown Solutions - culturally owned practices translated into sustainable development programs. One of these Home Grown Solutions is the Civic Education Program, also known as Itorero.

Itorero was reintroduced in 2009 as a way to rebuild the nation’s social fabric and mobilise Rwandans to uphold important cultural values. The culture of an intore (a person who has received the teachings of Itorero) is regarded highly. Itorero creates opportunities for participants to enhance positive values, build a sense of responsibility through patriotism and gain professional knowledge. 

The National Itorero Commission is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the program and of ensuring that Rwandans from all walks of life have the opportunity to take part. Between 2007 and 2012, Itorero ry’Igihugu (the National Itorero Commission) trained 284,207 intore including teachers, executive secretaries, farmers, community policing committees and members of the Rwandans abroad community. 

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