NPR

How Rwanda Tidied Up Its Streets (And The Rest Of The Country, Too)

On the last Saturday of the month, citizens must spend 3 hours beautifying the nation. Some people question the authoritarianism approach. But the results are impressive.
The people of Rwanda are required to take part in the national clean-up day, Umuganda, on the last Saturday of every month. Above: getting grass under control in Kigali, the capital city. Source: Forster

At 8 a.m. on a sunny morning in April, people are sweeping the hilly streets of Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, with straw brooms and picking up stray bits of litter.

The roads are empty of cars and all vehicles and shops are shuttered here — and across the country.

This is "Umuganda," a community clean-up held on the last Saturday of every month. It's one reason that Rwanda is renowned in Africa for its cleanliness.

It's not a volunteer project. Police monitor the streets – and can stop Rwandans who aren't participating and make them clean up on the spot. Rwandans who don't participate in the clean-up can be

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