Until 1994 the peoples of UK and Rwanda had very little interaction with each other, even at political levels. The genocide of 1994 and the resulting media coverage made Rwanda known to everybody in the international community, including the UK.
Unfortunately, this publicity focused primarily on the negative aspects, i.e. the Genocide.
The inspiration for RUGO came during the initial phase following the Genocide. It was established as an organisation which could help provide links and offer support from the UK, working for the recovery and development of Rwanda.
The first official meeting was held on 22nd March 1997. A five member committee was established along with a draft constitution and proposal documents for the formation of the society. RUGO was formally launched in July 1997.
Initially, the intention was for RUGO to function as a ‘Friendship Society’ but it soon became apparent that for RUGO to achieve it’s aims and maximise it’s effectiveness, it was necessary to register as a charity. Charity status was officially granted in February 1999 and over 11 years on RUGO is continuing it’s work to aid the recovery and development of Rwanda.
The name Rwanda UK Goodwill Organisation, or RUGO as it is known, was chosen because the Kinyarwanda word “URUGO” means home or a place where people keep their special treasures. In the Kinyarwanda language it was often taken to mean the enclosed compound around the traditional Rwandan house, where guests would be welcomed. The Logo is based on the shape of a traditional Rwandan house.
Chairman: Mike Hughes
Secretary: Alex Morton
Historic information on RUGO can be accessed at www.rugoarchives.org