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Where is Rwanda?

Rwanda is a landlocked country in East Africa.

Our impact since 2019

Overview

Following the devastation caused by the 1994 genocide against the Tutsis, impressive progress has been made in restoring and developing the country of Rwanda. However, almost 40 per cent of Rwanda’s population are still living in poverty and many of them have no access to basic amenities and are extremely vulnerable to natural disasters.

Rwanda is known as the land of a thousand hills, and this mountainous terrain makes farming challenging. In spite of this, 70 per cent of the population depends on agriculture as their main source of food and income.

Women are more likely than men to be living in poverty because harmful gender norms often exclude them from formal employment, education and financial services. In addition, other vulnerable groups, such as older people and people with disabilities, are often not included in social and economic programmes within the community. 

Telesphore and Primitive look out over Gisagara district, southern Rwanda. After years of family conflict they now live in peace after counselling and reconciliation provided by Tearfund’s local partner. Credit: Marcus Perkins/Tearfund

Our work in Rwanda

Tearfund has been working in Rwanda since 1968. We currently work in 12 districts across the Southern and Eastern provinces and in Kigali, through a network of local churches. 

Our work in Rwanda is focused on three specific objectives: 

  • Empowering people to lift themselves out of poverty through economically and environmentally sustainable work.
  • Empowering women, young people and the elderly to improve their social and economic status.
  • Building the capacity of local communities – including local partner organisations, churches and individuals – through advocacy and training.

We do this by working in the following areas:

Church and Community Transformation (CCT)

We equip church and community leaders to respond to the needs in their communities. Much of this is accomplished through self-help groups – regular meetings in the community for people who want to save money and increase their income. 

More than 1,000 churches across Rwanda are engaged with our CCT work and, to date, more than 26,000 self-help group members have been equipped to start their own businesses. Groups also are trained in entrepreneurship and linked with financial service providers to grow their businesses. 

Economic empowerment 

We train families and individuals in environmentally sustainable farming practices which can increase both their harvests and their income. We also link them to markets where they can sell their produce at a fair price.

Adapting to climate change

We help people adapt and become resilient to the adverse effects of climate change. This includes training communities to protect and conserve natural resources such as forests and water sources.  

Water, sanitation and hygiene

We help communities access clean water and provide them with sanitation facilities, including toilets and handwashing stations. We also help farmers access water systems for farming and irrigation purposes. 

Addressing sexual and gender-based violence

Sexual and gender-based violence affects one in three girls and women in Rwanda. We are using our Transforming Masculinities programme to challenge harmful social norms and promote gender equality within families and communities. 

A woman works at a sewing machine alongside other members of a tailoring self-help group in Huye, Rwanda. Credit: Pete Dawson/Tearfund

Partnerships and funding

Scottish Government – since 2012, Tearfund has been able to support over 67,000 people with a number of different initiatives funded by the Scottish Government, including projects focused on climate change adaptation, access to clean water, disaster risk reduction and agricultural and livelihood development.

European Union – over the last four years, Tearfund and our local partner, African Evangelist Enterprise (AEE), have been implementing a project to support 30,000 smallholder farmers to improve their productivity and incomes so that they can provide their families with the basics of life such as food, health insurance and education. 

Claudine, a member of a self-help group, stands ready to work on a plot of land in Kayonza, Rwanda. Credit: Tumuheirwe Jesus/Tearfund

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