AVSI workers first arrived in Rwanda in July 1994 in the aftermath of the genocide to carry out emergency interventions. These emergency interventions gradually evolved into long term projects, and now with more than 15 years of experience, a solid base in Kigali and a substantial presence in the field, AVSI enjoys a good relationship with the Rwandan Government, the peoples in the districts in which it works, and international funding agencies such as USAID, the European Commission, several UN agencies (UNICEF, WFP, UNDP), and the Italian Government.
AVSI Rwanda has extensive programs in 5 districts in the Southern, Eastern and Northern provinces of the country. AVSI’s work in Rwanda follows the traditional AVSI model; working directly with communities and individuals to empower them to become protagonists of their own futures. This on-the-ground, hands-on method has allowed AVSI to become aware of the evolving needs of the communities it serves. In the past two years, this attention to the reality of the current situation has brought rural adolescents and their needs to the forefront of AVSI’s work; it has expanded child development programs by incorporating vocational training and employment classes and reinforcing five local production cooperatives with special focus on young women.
Previous and current AVSI interventions include water and sanitation, education, health, HIV/AIDS prevention, food security and environmental protection. Since 2001, AVSI has laid more than 200 km of water pipes benefiting at least 150,000 people through sustainable water projects based on gravity and hydropower. It is currently working on two more projects in the Gicumbi and Gatsibo districts to increase clean water access for rural populations. These projects are dynamic, and not only include civil works and installations, creation of water management committees, but also a public awareness campaign to improve personal and household hygiene and bring awareness to environmental issues such as reforestation. With respect to education, the Distance Support Program provides more than 3,500 orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) with access to education, psychosocial support, health care, recreational activities, after-school programs and income generating activities for their families and communities. Other projects also include teacher training and school construction and rehabilitation. In 2005, USAID granted funds to AVSI for the implementation of the “Increased access to care and support for Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC)” project. These funds allowed AVSI to greatly expand the number of children and households benefiting through the Distance Support Program and its holistic approach to the most vulnerable.
On the health front, since 1994 AVSI has partnered with various institutions to provide immediate and medium term health support with a particular focus on OVCs, women and the disabled: the first National School of Physiotherapists was created drawing on the previous experience AVSI matured in Uganda. Rehabilitating health and nutrition centers and developing a psychosocial support manual and training guide used to train adult leaders and community members, AVSI has contributed to the recovery of the health sector with attention to the most vulnerable. Those living with HIV/AIDS have also been a priority, and through various projects AVSI has used an integrated approach to economic, health, education and psychosocial services designed to empower poor and HIV affected communities. This approach focuses on community mobilization, sensitization, voluntary counseling, testing and HIV prevention.
AVSI-Rwanda staff currently counts 81 local and 5 foreign staff in the districts of Kamony, Ruhango, Nyanza, Gatsibo and Gicumbi.
Distance Support Project
Location: Northern, Eastern and Southern Provinces
Description: Long-term support to over 2,100 OVCs improving the conditions for psychosocial and academic progress, while strengthening the capacity of the children’s families, caretakers and local organizations to respond to their needs. Fulfillment of school requirements (uniforms, books, fees etc), organization of after school and educational activities, and creating of programs designed to improve the economic status of the child’s family through training and support to parents.
Donor Partners: Private donors
Increased Care and Support for OVC in Rwanda (and East Africa)
Location: Rwanda (Kenya, Uganda, Cote D’Ivoire)
Description: In Rwanda, provide care and support for over 1000 orphans and vulnerable children, their families and their communities. Work closely with six local partners for direct implementation. Conduct activities ranging from education and health support, to psycho-social care, community development interventions, income generating activities for older youth and families, and capacity building of local partners. Regularize enrolled children’s school attendance, increase capacity of families to provide for the needs of their children, increase access to health services, and improve administration by local partner organizations and associations.
Donor Partners: USAID/PEPFAR
Increase water supply to improve Living Conditions through Socio-Educational and Environmental Interventions
Location: 3 sectors in Gicumbi District
Description: Increase availability of safe water and improved practices related to water and hygiene while assuring water supply and access to clean water to the residents of Gicumbi. Create baseline survey and data collection, evaluate the results. Create Public Private Partnership (PPP) technical commission of management and train its 20 founding members. Provide four courses in Global Information Systems management. Train 100 people to give presentations designed to sensitize the population to best practices in hygiene, environmental protection and water use. Found 19 tree nurseries at local schools. Construct 20 public latrines in public meeting spaces and markets. Capacity building of 90 community leaders, 18 associations of farmers and cattle raisers, and 36 health/social workers who have given over 900 public awareness presentations.
Donor Partners: European Union
Improving living conditions of the Rwandese population through environmental, social and educational interventions
Location: 5 sectors Gicumbi and Gatsibo
Description: Increase availability of safe water and improve practices related to water and hygiene. Assure access to clean water to the people living in Gicumbi and Gatsibo districts by constructing 40 km of new water pipe lines. Use social animation to raise general awareness about basic hygiene, environmental protection and water use. Reforestation along 40 miles of service roads with nursery creation and training of local workers. Create and distribute 30,000 informational health brochures. Train 30 health workers in conjunction with health care centers. Construct over 50 houses for the most poor, create 5 construction-worker corporative businesses, identify and reforest 50 km2 of land, identify and support OVCs. Literacy course “on the hills” for 370 adults.
Donors/Partners: Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs/Ministry of Natural Resources
Child protection through integrated approach: Phase I and II
Location: 7 sectors in Gatsibo district
Description: Improve community level capacity to care for and protect OVCs. Nurture a protective environment for children through psychosocial training for 60 teachers, social animation in mobile tents, and support to associations which help OVCs including a day-care center serving over 500 families resettling from refugee camps in Tanzania.
Donor Partners: UNICEF
Community Approach to support people living with HIV/AIDS
Location: Humure, Kabuga and Macubira
Description: Initiate a travelling HIV/AIDS campaign that carries information, education and voluntary counselling and testing to the people. Decentralize access to all the information needed to fight the spread of HIV/AIDS. Offer individual and group sensitization; videos on health, nutrition and children’s rights; drama, art and games; and reading rooms to encourage literacy. Work with local health officials, to provide free voluntary counselling and testing for HIV/AIDS. Support 18 associations of people living with HIV/AIDS (widows living with children). Provide associations with food and seed kits from several UN agencies, help them cultivated plots of land and participate in income-generating activities. More than 100,000 contacts.
Donor Partners: WFP
Humure Health and Nutrition Center
Duration: 2004 - Present
Description: Found Humure Health and Nutrition Center providing medical assistance to 5,000 people. The Health Center was later assumed by the Rwandan Ministry of Health. The Nutrition Center offers sustenance and educational support to some of the poorest people in the district, most of whom do not own enough land to have any sort of garden and are also illiterate making participation if government developmental programs difficult. The center offers a literacy course for children, supports an association of mothers, runs a community garden, and gives nutrition classes.
Donor Partners: Private Donors
Implementing Partners: CBAU
November 23, 2011 AllAfrica.com - Rwanda: Vocation School Planned for Gatsibo