More than a decade after the 1994 genocide, Rwandan government ministries struggled to implement long-term plans or even meet mid-term targets. A skills shortage hindered projects at the district and local levels. In 2008, Charles Karake and Stella Mugabo, senior officials at the Human Resources and Institutional Development Agency, a government organization charged with improving national capacity, experimented with a management practice known as the Rapid Results Approach to enhance ministries’ ability to implement successful projects. Rapid Results encouraged officials to focus on small-scale projects that could be completed in a relatively brief time span, usually less than four months. This case shows how Rwanda’s Ministry of Local Government, under the direction of Protais Musoni, championed the technique to advance the goals of an anti-poverty program. A pilot program in Gashaki, an impoverished region in north Rwanda, improved the ability of local officials and leaders to help poor families raise their incomes. Although adoption of Rapid Results did not progress beyond the initial phase for a variety of reasons, public servants who participated in the program increased their ability to deliver services effectively and many of Gashaki’s residents improved their financial positions and quality of life within a surprisingly short period. However, critics noted the high cost of implementing Rapid Results and stressed that other factors also contributed to the positive results in Gashaki. This study considers the approach as an alternative to traditional methods of building capacity.
Rushda Majeed drafted this case study on the basis of interviews conducted in Kigali and Gashaki, Rwanda, in September and October 2011. Case published January 2012. Two related ISS cases, “The Promise of Imihigo: Decentralized Service Delivery in Rwanda, 2006-2010” and “Energizing the Civil Service: Managing at the Top 2, Bangladesh, 2006-2011,” examine approaches similar to Rapid Results.
Associated Interview(s): Nadim Matta, Protais Musoni
Building a Reform Team and Staff
Extending services to insecure or remote areas
Performance management system
Capacity (capability traps)
Country of Reform