The word Ingando comes, from the verb ‘kugandika’, which means going to stay in a place far from one’s home, often with a group, for a specific reason.
Traditional Ingando referred to a retreat during which elders, leaders or young people left their homes and stayed in a place where they would meditate and share ideas on how to solve problems affecting their communities or the nation. Those attending Ingando might have discussed the development of a strategy for war or for overcoming problems of food security.
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 Solidarity Camp, also known as Ingando.
The term Ingando has evolved to describe a place where a group of people gathers to work towards a common goal. Ingando training served as think tanks where the sharing of ideas was encouraged. Ingando also included an aspect of Umuganda. The training created a framework for the re-evaluation of divisive ideologies present in Rwanda during the colonial and post-colonial periods. Ingando was designed to provide a space for young people to prepare for a better future in which negative ideologies of the past would no longer influence them.
The other aim of Ingando is to reduce fear and suspicion and encourage reconciliation between genocide survivors and those whose family members perpetrated the genocide. Ingando training also serves to reduce the distance between some segments of the Rwandan population and the government. Through Ingando, participants learn about history, current development, and reconciliation policies and are encouraged to play an active role in the rebuilding of their nation.