Imihigo is about outstanding performance: something worth of praise.
One of the key tools introduced by the GoR in 2006 for reinforcing the local government was the performance-based approach , “Imihigo‟. Through this approach local governments articulate their own objectives which reflect priorities of the local population and develop realistic strategies to achieve these objectives.
This cultural based performance approach was initiated out of the concern of top leadership of the country about the rate and quality of execution of government programs, thus, making the public agencies more effective. It is in that respect, that the President of the Republic, on the 12th of March 2006 while addressing a meeting of members of District Executive Committee with their Executive Secretaries in Murambi, requested that the district leadership prepares an activity program for the remaining part of the year which he would sign with them. In that meeting, H.E the President, pointedly requested a joint evaluation after six months. Since that date, the districts were guided into the preparation of the performance contracts or Imihigo which were publicly signed on the 4th of April 2006 for the first time. Since 2006 the approach has been used by local government authorities (Village, Cell, Sector, Districts) for setting local priorities, setting annual targets and defining activities to achieve them.
What is ‘Imihigo’?
Imihigo is as old as pre-colonial Rwanda. Imihigo is a cultural practice in the ancient tradition of Rwanda where an individual would set himself/herself targets to be achieved within a specific period of time and to do so by following some principles and having determination to overcome the possible challenges.
In the modern day Rwanda, the Imihigo practice was adopted as a means of planning to accelerate the progress towards economic development and poverty reduction. Imihigo has a strong focus on results which makes it an invaluable tool in the planning, accountability and monitoring and evaluation processes.