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Monthly Archives: February 2024

February 29, 2024

As a way of promoting integral human development, with funding from Caritas Internationalis and Caritas Australia, and technical support from Catholic Relief Services, Caritas Africa has trained its member organizations on Community Led Disaster Risk Management, from 27th to 29th February in Kigali.

This training of trainers was part of an ongoing capacity strengthening mechanism which Caritas Africa has prioritized in its 2024 – 2030 strategic framework, strategic orientation 3 (Saving lives and reduce the impact of humanitarian crisis in Africa Region) and strategic objective 3 (To strengthen the capacity of Caritas Africa Member Organizations in Community Managed Disaster Risk Reduction – CMDRR).

In his opening remarks, Bishop Anaclet Mwumvaneza, President of Caritas Rwanda and Bishop of the Nyundo Diocese, mentioned that the Great Lakes region where Rwanda belongs, often faces several kinds of disasters, namely volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and landslides, floods, cyclones, drought, etc. As a humanitarian organization, Caritas intervenes to help people in need during serious humanitarian crises caused by all these disasters. “Thus, by combining our efforts, we can respond collectively and effectively to disasters and therefore rescue people in danger”, he said, in reference to this training.

Participants during CLDRM training.

As for Ms. Lucy Esipila, Regional Coordinator of Caritas Africa, Caritas Africa is carrying out such Disaster Risk Reduction training across all the zones because beyond emergencies/humanitarian work, there is need to build capacity of the communities affected so that they can withstand disaster shocks when affected. “We believe that if communities are resilient, then the impact of disasters can be minimized. To reach out to the communities, we rely upon you participants”, she said.

Ms. Episila added that Caritas Africa has successfully trained technical staff from the IMBISA zone and they are now implementing their action plans. IMBISA zone regroup Angola, Sao Tome & Principe, Kingdoms of eSwatini, Lesotho, Republics of Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

February 26, 2024
February 26, 2024

From 12th February 2024, at Centre Saint Paul de Kigali, Caritas Rwanda’s Igire-Gimbuka Program together with 3 other Igire Implementing Partners (IPs) funded by PEPFAR through USAID Rwanda, conducted an 11-day training of 24 people on Families Matter! Program. 9 of 24 candidates received their final certificates.

After a 6-day theoretical training on FMP, only 16 candidates were successful and have followed a 5-day practice week where 9 only were fully successful. Three of the rest received provisional certificates with the expectation to receive the final ones once some requirements are met.

This training was conducted with the  aim of increasing the number of the FMP facilitators in all OVC_DREAMS covered districts. Other IPs that joined Caritas in this activity are FXB, YWCA and DUHAMIC ADRI.

FMP training session.

After the training, the certified FMP facilitators will conduct FMP sessions for parents to empower parents/caregivers of OVC/AGYW on good parenting skills, discussions about sexuality and sexual education between parents and their children, that is evident to contribute to the prevention of new infections of HIV & GBV among adolescents (girls and boys) and young women from different IPs where the IGIRE is implemented.

As potential master trainers, the FMP facilitators received an in-depth knowledge about how Families Matter! Program works that prepares them to deliver the FMP Training of Trainers. The training comprises of series of sessions around theories used in FMP, the FMP Logic Model, trainer roles and responsibilities, working with a co-trainer, adult learning principles, effective communication skills among others.

In addition, the trainees learned the concept of reproductive health as applied in positive parenting between a parent and a child, a deep discussion and understanding of prevention of gender based violence among others.

February 26, 2024

Parents whose children are cared for in Nurturing Care Hubs (NCH) supported by the Gikuriro Kuri Bose (GKB) program assure that even if the program’s funding were to cease, the NCHs would still be able to function thanks to the parents’ commitment to support these NCH after experiencing the moral and intellectual growth of their children. They made these remarks when CRS (national and regional) and Caritas Rwanda’s communications staff visited the districts of Burera, Nyabihu, and Rulindo from February 20 to 22, 2024.

Gikuriro Kuri Bose aims to improve the health, functioning, nutritional status, and wellbeing of women of reproductive age and children under five years of age, with an emphasis on the 1,000-day window, strengthen inclusion of children and adults with disabilitiesand improve positive parenting and child development.

IGKB supports 55 Nurturing Care Hubs in Burera (22), Nyabihu (10) and Rulindo (23) districts. The program builds the premises (each NCH having a village chief’s office), provides toys for the children, school and kitchen equipment, trains caregivers and provides a part of the porridge flour (the rest come from the parents), and kitchen utensils. The program also enrols parents in savings and internal Lending Community groups. provides training in crafting skills, and offers a cash grant of Rwf 30,000 to purchase materials needed to produce craft products for sale. GKB also offers ongoing advice, monitoring, and evaluation of the NCHs to ensure their success.

The three NCHs that were visited are located in the villages of Gatovu (Burera district), Pfundo (Nyabihu district) and Gaseke (in Rulindo).

Parents in these communities have expressed gratitude for the introduction of NCHs by GKB. Before the establishment of these centres, children under seven were often left at home while their parents worked on the farm or engaged in other income-generating activities. This left the children vulnerable to accidents and illnesses.

Betty Uwitonze is one of the parents raising their children in the NCH from Gatovu village, Bugari cell, Rwerere sector in the Burera district. As she says, after his son of 3 years and 6 months started going to NCH, he became surprisingly sharp and intelligent. “He knows all the vowels and consonants, he knows how to count in English one, two, three, four up to ten. So I am happy that when he goes to primary school he will not be lost”, she said excitedly.

Parents take turns helping educators at early childhood development centers, to care for the children.

After experiencing these numerous benefits, parents are confident that the NCHs will continue to operate effectively. They are dedicated to keeping these NCHs operating smoothly on a regular basis, even if support from the Gikuriro Kuri Bose were to cease. Parents actively assist caregivers by taking turns preparing meals for the children and ensuring that there is enough flour for the children’s porridge. Additionally, the internal savings and lending groups help parents generate income to purchase small livestock to provide their families with protein or the ingredients they need for a balanced diet. In these groups, they make various handicrafts and sell them, thereby earning additional income.

Parents gathering in a Saving and Internal Lending Community group.

Inclusive Nutrition and Early Childhood program (Gikuriro Kuri Bose) is a 5-year USAID funded project (2021-2026) and implemented by Caritas Rwanda in partnership with CRS Rwanda (overall coordination of implementation).

Gikuriro Kuri Bose is carried out in 10 districts, with Caritas Rwanda specifically implementing the program in only 3 districts: Rulindo, Burera and Nyabihu. Except Caritas Rwanda, there are other implementers in the remaining districts: AEE (Rwamagana, Kicukiro and Nyarugenge); YWCA (Ngoma and Kayonza) and DUHAMIC ADRI (Nyamasheke and Nyanza).

February 14, 2024

To improve the economic status of projects/programmes’ participants, Caritas Rwanda focuses on strengthening their financial capacity through savings and lending activities. Through VSLA groups, programmes’ participants are imparted with the necessary skills and knowledge in the selection, planning, and management of income-generating activities. In all these interventions and many others, Caritas Rwanda collaborates with specific beneficiaries whose identities and numbers are accurately documented. In addition to these, some benefit from the fruits of these interventions indirectly because they are not officially counted, called spillover effects. Those from the youth programmes, Youth For Youth (Y4Y) and Gera Ku Ntego (GKN), testify to these spillover effects.

The advantages of participating in VSLA groups are evident, as testified by Josephine Nyirangiramahoro. She is a member of the Twitezimbere Rubyiruko from the Rusizi district, Muganza sector, Gakoni cell, and Muhuta village. In 2022, she started her business of selling cassava flour with an initial capital of 50,000 Rwf. Through this business, she assisted her husband, who works as a farmer, in providing for the needs of their five children. She is so content with what she has achieved as two of their children have now graduated from high school. She has paid off the debt and her business is now equivalent to 80,000 Rwf. “My gains are significant considering the wide range of expenses they cover”, she asserts.

Members one of the VSLA with Caritas Rwanda’s employees (Development Department).

When asked about the advantages of having a mother who is a member of a savings and lending group, Lydie Tuyizere, 22, expresses that her family’s situation has significantly improved. Ever since her mother, Joséphine Nyirangiramahoro, joined the VSLA group, they no longer go to bed hungry. Additionally, being a part of this group has instilled in their family the significance of hard work and saving, not because of the surplus, but because of sacrifice and restraint. After her high school education, Lydie works alongside her mother in selling cassava flour, which allows her to earn a modest income and save 6000 Rwf per month in her savings group Dukorerehamwe. “I learned this from my mother,” she proudly states.

Uwizeyimana Olivier is a member of the VSLA Duterimbere in the Rusizi district, Kamembe sector, Cyangugu cell, Karangiro village. At the age of 25, Olivier, hailing from a family of 11 children, made the courageous decision to alleviate the burden on his family. Olivier not only assists his siblings with their school fees, as five of them are still pursuing their education but also shoulders the responsibility of healthcare expenses (CBHI) for his modest family, who rely on daily labour to make ends meet.

Before joining the VSLA group, Olivier had saved 500,000 Rwf as he was working with a businessman. In September 2021, he joined the DUTERIMBERERUBYIRUKO VSLA group, where he borrowed 300,000 Rwf he added to his savings to establish a shop with a value of 800,00 Rwf. He further borrowed 119,000 Rwf to expand the range of products available in his shop. He has successfully repaid all his debts, and his shop is now worth 3 million Rwf. Looking ahead, Olivier envisions building a house of 10 million Rwf. This ambitious goal serves as a testament to his unwavering hope for a brighter tomorrow.

Olivier in his shop.

The success stories of Oliver, Joséphine and Lydie illustrate how VSLA groups broaden the horizons of their members and foster a forward-looking mindset. One of the characteristics of development is the number of choices available to people. VSLA groups undoubtedly have the potential to offer these choices to their members, a path for their development and that of their families. As Caritas Rwanda’s mission is to help people in need and promote integral human development, there would be no better intervention than to help participants in its programmes stand on their own feet through VSLA groups.

Emmanuel Uwiragiye

Department of Development Director / Caritas Rwanda

February 6, 2024

From 29th to 30th January 2024, the Igire Implementing Partners, relevant government stakeholders, and USAID Rwanda teams participated in the Igire field visit and learning activity organized by Caritas Rwanda Igire-Gimbuka for OVC in the Nyamasheke district.

This field visit and learning activity was organized to gain a deeper understanding of the services provided to Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC). The objective was to explore the delivery approach and the collaboration with existing structures, including community volunteers, health facilities, and local leadership, to provide comprehensive clinical and community-based services to OVC.

In the afternoon of 29th January, the above-mentioned activity started with a brief session on the OVC program by Caritas Rwanda, as well as the itinerary and services to be visited. After the presentation, the participants asked a lot of questions, especially focusing on the non-suppressing program participants. It was revealed that only 1% of the 2003 program participants, who were living with HIV according to the Igire-Gimbuka presentation, fell into this category.

The Igire-Gimbuka team responded by stating that there are numerous factors contributing to this issue, with a common one being the reluctance of young participants to accept the situation. In light of this, the USAID team recommended that the Igire-Gimbuka team undertake comprehensive research to identify the specific reasons behind this resistance. By doing so, they can then provide the necessary support to help these individuals overcome their reluctance and effectively suppress the issue at hand.

The participant appreciated the Family Matters Program qualifying it as important not only for the program participants but also for the whole society.  However, they raised concerns about its sustainability following the closure of the Igire-Gimbuka. The Igire-Gimbuka team said that working with the existing structures such as local leaders, IZU, and Umugoroba w’Umuryango who are involved. This collaborative effort will ensure the long-term sustainability of the Family Matters Program.

Another question was raised regarding the methods to effectively influence the mindset of children participating in the CBIM Program, to transform them into non-violent individuals. In response, the Igire-Program team emphasized their comprehensive approach, which involves continuous assessment of the children’s behavior and their adherence to sharing information, as well as their active prevention of gender-based violence (GBV). Additionally, a tool is employed before commencing the module to gauge the children’s comprehension of GBV prevention, and another assessment is conducted upon completion to determine the extent of their mindset transformation.

On January 30, the various participants in this activity visited the Coaching Boys Into Men (CBIM) clubs of GS Nyanza (Bushekeri Sector) and GS Saint Nicholas (Kagano Sector), interacted with Case Management Volunteers (CMVs), Linkage Facilitators and staff at Kibogora Hospital and Gisakura Health Center. They also met with Igire-Gimbuka TVET Graduates on jobs at Gisakura Tea Factory and Atelier Hope/ Agakiriro.

Lambert Dushimimana, the Governor of the Western Province, interacting with children members of CBIM club at GS Saint Nicholas (Kagano Sector).

After interacting with Case Management Volunteers (CMVs), Linkage Facilitators, and staff at Kibogora Hospital, Mr Lambert Dushimimana, the Governor of the Western Province, urged the Igire-Gimbuka participants to seize the opportunity they have to become resilient. The children members of Coaching Boys Into Men (CBIM) clubs were encouraged to spread messages preventing GBV.

On the following day (January 31), the Igire Implementing Partners, relevant government stakeholders, and USAID Rwanda teams participated in the Igire field visit and learning activity organized by FXB’s Igire-Turengere Abana for DREAMS in the Nyanza district.