Rugarama's Community News

Coronavirus (COVID-19) impact on World Vision operations

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Thanks to the generous support of donors, we’re making great progress toward the well-being of children and their families. These are a few of the areas we focused on in the past year: 

The Rugarama (roo-gah-rah-mah) community is located in eastern Rwanda, about 100 kilometres from Kigali, the capital. The area is characterized by hills, flat plains, and a few marshy areas. There are two rainy seasons, with the main one being from October to December. However, people here endure more periods of drought than elsewhere in Rwanda.

Recurring drought is a major challenge, given that subsistence farming is virtually the only way of life. More than 85% of people live on less than $1 a day. Their daily struggle has been amplified by the effects of the genocide of 1994. In Rugarama alone, 900 children have been orphaned by genocide or AIDS. Mistrust and suspicion linger, and there is a great need for peacebuilding, healing, and reconciliation.
Child Protection
  • 3 children's groups formed, giving boys and girls the opportunity to share their opinions and work together to address issues in their lives.
  • 3 child protection meetings and advocacy initiatives were led by community members, helping to inform the government on ways to keep children safe.
  • 3 functional community-based child protection committees
  • 2 community partners from the public, private and not-for-profit sectors worked with World Vision over the past year, improving the lives of children.
  • 42 savings groups are active, providing community members with a local place to save money regularly, earn interest and access loans.
  • 50 youth participated in non-farming groups that help generate income, preparing them for better financial stability as adults.
  • 1274 farmers learned improved techniques to manage land, crops and livestock, sustainably increasing their farm production and income to help their children.
  • 5 groups of farmers are working together to develop and sell their products collectively, helping increase their income and meet their family's needs.
  • 500 households were provided fruit trees
Health and Nutrition
  • 1840 people learned about healthy habits through awareness campaigns led by community groups, helping them better care for themselves and their children.
  • 5409 children were enrolled in healthy nutrition programs
  • 5409 boys and girls had their height and weight checked, allowing health workers to monitor if children are growing healthy and getting good nutrition.
  • 174 community health workers engaged in community outreach for acute malnutrition
  • 56 youth took part in life skills activities, learning to manage their emotions and improve their communication skills.
* Results achieved from October 2018 to September 2019
To ensure children can access and benefit from quality education, World Vision will assist the community to:
  • Educate parents on the importance of schooling for their children, especially girls.
  • Support the construction of more schools.
  • Help to cover the cost of desks, school fees, and educational supplies.
  • Assist families to establish income sources so they can provide for their children's education.

Health Care
With the partnership of Canadian sponsors and the community, World Vision will work to:
  • Support community health workers in preventing and treating common diseases.
  • Educate mothers on pre- and postnatal care and child immunization.
  • Construct and maintain rainwater-harvesting systems.
  • Support growth monitoring for children under the age of five and the rehabilitation of malnourished children.
  • Train families in improved farming techniques that increase food productivity.

To combat the spread and stigma of HIV & AIDS, World Vision will partner with the community to:
  • Train community members of all ages in preventing the spread of HIV.

Community Leadership
In partnership with families and sponsors, World Vision will work with the community to:
  • Enhance psychosocial support.
  • Bring people together to work towards forgiveness and peaceful co-existence.
  • Support qualified counsellors to promote unifying youth clubs.
  • Encourage religious groups to engage in conflict mitigation.

Explore Rugarama

current conditions

To protect the privacy of children, this map shows only the general area of the community, not the exact location.

The needs in Rugarama

There are five primary schools and just one secondary school to serve all students in the community. Overall academic performance is poor, most teachers are not trained, and classrooms are dilapidated and overcrowded. Different groups, such as pre-primary students and adult literacy students, must share facilities by alternating class times.

In Rugarama, there is a limited understanding about the importance of school and gender imbalance is widespread. Many girls are enrolled in the early primary years, but their numbers plummet as they progress to higher grades. This leaves girls vulnerable to early marriage and motherhood, and makes it difficult for them to work their way out of poverty.

Health Care
There is only one health centre in Rugarama for more than 31,500 people, and there is not enough medical staff. Common killer diseases include malaria, typhoid, diarrhea, and dysentery, and the lack of clean water exacerbates the situation. Lack of understanding about proper nutrition, especially for children under the age of five, is a major challenge and malnutrition is common. Chronic poverty often leaves parents unable to grow or buy enough food, which prevents them from providing nourishing meals for their families.

HIV and AIDS is another major challenge in Rugarama. The HIV prevalence rate in the community is 14%, which is significantly higher than the national rate of 2.8%. This is due in part to its proximity to a major trucking route.

Community Leadership
More than 15 years after genocide claimed nearly 1 million lives in this tiny African nation, the people of Rugarama are still reeling from suspicion, hate, and psychosocial problems. People are angry and many desire revenge. In this environment, reconciliation is one of the most difficult things people are ever called upon to do. Without it, however, the potential for further conflict lingers.
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Life cycle of a sponsorship community

Rugarama,  is in Phase 2

PHASE 2: Evaluate and grow

We monitor progress and make adjustments to meet goals. More community members become involved, lead projects and gain ownership of their success.