of the population live in extreme poverty – on less than £1.45 a day


is the average life expectancy


of the population rely on subsistence agriculture for a living


of Rwandan MPs are women

About Rwanda

Rwanda has made significant progress in recovering from the devastation of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi population. Stable governance has helped the country greatly. However, 39.1 per cent of the population still live below the poverty line, while 16.3 percent are classified as living in extreme poverty – lacking access to essential supplies and services.

Challenging issues include high population growth, underdeveloped agriculture, poor access to sufficient nutritious food (especially in the south and south-western districts) and limited sources of income outside agriculture.

Population increase has put a strain on the limited amount of farmable land, with more mouths to feed and no new land to provide more crops. Farmers need new and more efficient ways of farming, while the nation needs to develop more modern production methods and means of trading.

Food security – access to enough nutritious food all year round – is a constant threat. It leads to persistent malnutrition, affecting children under five around the south and western provinces.

Great inroads have been made in opening up access to education, and illiteracy levels have declined over the years. However, challenges remain. There are still very high dropout rates at all levels of schooling, due to high levels of poverty. Of those that are able to complete their education, most still lack suitable skills to make them employable.

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How we do it

Church & Community Transformation

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Food Security

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Self-help Groups

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Our Work in Rwanda

Tearfund works in eight rural districts and three ‘urban transition’ districts on the outskirts of the Rwandan capital Kigali.

The strategy in urban districts focuses on specific areas with large low-income populations. As much as possible, we seek to work with the church to target those most vulnerable to extreme poverty.

All eight rural districts share common issues of extreme poverty and high numbers of vulnerable people, including women, orphans, and at-risk children and young people. They have high numbers of genocide survivors, most of whom have physical disabilities and other permanent injuries. They are also home to Rwandan repatriates, returning from neighbouring countries they had fled to, who mostly have no established social networks and are extremely poor.

The districts are also susceptible to natural disasters and the effects of climate change, such as drought, flash flooding and landslides. This has had a grave effect on agricultural productivity and, in turn, incomes.

Tearfund works with a number of partner organisations in Rwanda, especially local churches. The focus is on finding new sources of livelihood, and encouraging entrepreneurship skills and market-focused economic activities. Much of this work occurs through self-help groups – small-scale community savings schemes. This means people from low-income backgrounds have knowledge and skills to take advantage of local investment and business opportunities.

OUR PARTNERS IN RWANDA: AEE, MOUCECORE, AESD, AMU, RDIS, Anglican Church of Rwanda, Diocese of Kigali & Presbyterian Church of Rwanda



low income families have accessed financial services through self-help groups.


small businesses have been started with credit from the self-help groups.


households have gained access to clean drinking water, improved hygiene and sanitation.


people have benefited from improved farming practices, improved yields and increased food supply.


self-help group members have been able to invest in crucial assets for their families, including livestock and bicycles.


local churches have been mobilised to practise the church and community transformation process, empowering their local communities to escape poverty.

Pray for our work

  • Thank God and pray for continued peace and stability in Rwanda.
  • Pray for our staff in Rwanda, that they might be filled with God’s wisdom and strength as they support the work of our partners.
  • Pray for the partner staff as they work with the urban and rural poor.
  • Thank God and pray for the steady growth of self-help groups in Rwanda. Ask that God would continue to use them to alleviate poverty.
  • Pray for God’s intervention in climate change which has affected weather patterns, causing frequent drought conditions and overly heavy and destructive rains.

Where we're working