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August 22, 2023

On 16th August 2023, Caritas Rwanda conducted a field visit to its Gikuriro Kuri Bose Program (GKB) and RRF Project activities in Burera District. The delegation met the district leaders and the populations affected by the 2nd-3rd May 2023 flooding who were assisted by the RRF Project and visited one of the ECDs supported by Gikuriro Kuri Bose.

The activities of GKB Program, implemented by Caritas Rwanda and funded by USAID, include the fight against acute malnutrition. As it was said in the meeting between Caritas Rwanda delegation and Burera District leaders held on 16th August 2023, GKB Program is handling the problem of acute malnutrition among under five children in Burera District. As for the 2019-2020 Rwanda Demographic and Health Survey, 41% of children under 5 suffer from acute malnourished in Burera.

Mwanangu Theophile, the Vice Mayor of Burera District, in charge of social affairs, said that Caritas Rwanda is a good partner, because their activities are successful.  “GKB came at the time we needed interventions in nutrition because we had a problem of acute malnutrition among children under five. For example, they have brought an unusual new idea to build ECDs with the Chef Village office to supervise it”, says the Vice Mayor. He added that GKB has helped in establishing and maintaining the Village Nutrition School (VNS), and setting up parent’s committees to fight against acute malnutrition. He expressed his wish to see these VNS established in all the villages of the Burera District.

Caritas Rwanda’s team led by Father Oscar Kagimbura, met with the Burera District leaders.

Father Oscar Kagimbura, the General Secretary of Caritas Rwanda expressed his gratitude for the collaboration between Burera District and Caritas Rwanda’s staff in implementing its projects. “Joint efforts produce tangible results”, he said.

After meeting with the Burera District leaders, Caritas Rwanda’s team led by the Secretary General Father Oscar Kagimbura visited a Nurturing Care Hub located in Gatovu Village Rugari Cell, in Rwerere Sector. Father Oscar asked the parents who were present   to continue taking care of this outstanding work they have started, by supporting the caregivers so that they don’t get discouraged. “If you continue like this, this nurturing care hub will grow even more and there will be other development projects in the surrounding areas”, he said.

Caritas Rwanda team visited a Nurturing Care Hub located in Gatovu Village Rugari Cell, in Rwerere Sector.

The Caritas Rwanda team also visited the populations affected by the May 2023 flooding, who received assistance from the Caritas Rwanda RRF Project. They testified on how the support they received helped them to recover, getting food, clothes, essential household items and some of them even bought small animals that will help them develop economically and get manure. Twizerimana Marcelline, one of them, said: “We thank Caritas Rwanda and others who supported us during these hard moments. Today we are happy, now we are no longer suffering from hungry, we have clothes, we have bought things to recover. May God bless them”.

The Caritas Rwanda team visited the populations affected by the May 2023 flooding who received assistance through the EA17-2023/RRF Project.

Blaise Turahirwa, in charge of disaster management in Burera District, reminded the beneficiaries that the cash grant they received was intended to help them rebuild, that they should not be still focus on the consequences of the May disasters, but look for ways to help them progress economically.

2,000 households from Rubavu, Rutsiro, Nyabihu Ngororero and Karongi districts were assisted by Caritas Rwanda through the RRF Project. In Burera District, there are 562 families. Each family received a cash grant of 92,000 Frw (for each district).

July 18, 2024

Starting by 9th July 2024, Caritas Rwanda organized a 2-day workshop between its Development Department and the Development Coordinators from 10 diocesan Caritas. This workshop aims to evaluate the accomplishments made from January to June 2024, while also reflecting on the Caritas Rwanda strategic plan for 2020-2024.

In his opening remarks, Prosper Sebagenzi, the Programmes’ Director at Caritas Rwanda urged the development coordinators to redouble their efforts to assist the impoverished individuals around us to lift themselves out of poverty.

Prosper Sebagenzi emphasized that Caritas Rwanda’s new strategic plan will span a period of six years, from 2025 to 2030, aligning with the strategic plan of Caritas Internationalis. “This alignment will enable us to work in harmony with the global Caritas network towards achieving our shared goals”, he said.

Prosper Sebagenzi, the Director of Programmes of Caritas Rwanda, inaugurated the workshop of the coordinators of the Development Department.

The workshop was concluded by Father Oscar Kagimbura, the Secretary General of Caritas Rwanda. He revisited the theme of the Synod, “Walking Together”, urging all participants to strengthen the existing collaboration to ensure the dignity of the poor and vulnerable is respected. Just as the Church embodies this commitment, the Development department at both Caritas Rwanda and diocesan levels should also embrace this ethos of collaboration.

The Secretary General emphasized the importance of inclusivity, urging participants to ensure that no one is left behind or neglected. This would contradict Caritas’s mission of restoring dignity to those whose vulnerabilities have stripped it away. In addition, he called on Development department coordinators to focus on empowering the poor and vulnerable, with a clear goal of helping them become self-reliant rather than dependent on aid. Dignity entails taking responsibility for one’s own life.

Furthermore, the Development department should not only assist those facing adversity but also work towards addressing the root causes of vulnerability, he added.

Concerning the Caritas Rwanda Strategic plan 2020–2024 and the activities that were planned from January to June 2024, all were implemented even if it is not on the same level as many of the activities rely on external funds. The participants proposed following new interventions:

  1. Strengthen the Entrepreneurship Skills of Youth to Make Them Job Creators;
  2. Promote Youth Effective Participation in Gainful Agriculture;
  3. Promote Vocational Training, Internship, and Apprenticeship Among Youth;
  4. Contribute to the Electrification in Rural Areas Through Off-Grid Solutions and Building or Rehabilitating Water Channels.

This workshop also was an occasion of introducing the participant coordinators to Data Protection, Gender Equality, and Social Inclusion. They learned how to effectively use and protect beneficiary data, while also ensuring inclusivity and addressing gender-specific needs in all interventions.

July 12, 2024
July 12, 2024

The Tubeho Neza Aheza project, which aims to promote a decent life and equality in a healthy environment in Rwanda, was officially launched on July 5, 2024, by Pascasie Umuhoza, the Vice Mayor of Karongi District responsible for Social Affairs.

This project is funded by Caritas Slovenia and the Slovenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and will be implemented by Caritas Nyundo/Kibuye in coordination with Caritas Rwanda. The Tubeho Neza Aheza project aims to tackle challenges related to access to natural and financial resources and reduce gender inequality and gender-based violence (GBV), with a focus on women and girls in 1,595 impoverished households from the Rugabano, Gashari, Rwankuba, and Mutuntu sectors.

The event commenced with a brief prayer led by Father Elie Hatangimbabazi, the Director of Caritas Nyundo/Kibuye, who also delivered welcoming remarks. Following the prayer, a presentation was given on the new project. The presentation outlined key activities that will be implemented across six main results, including:

  1. Enhancing sustainable and climate-resilient agricultural practices to increase the production of nutrient-rich food for the most vulnerable individuals;
  2. Raising awareness on environmental protection and providing better access to equipment and materials that promote the sustainable use of natural resources, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions;
  3. Efficiently utilizing and monitoring available water resources, improving drinking water supply, sanitation, hygiene and field irrigation;
  4. Enhancing the capacities and skills of vulnerable individuals and authorities to monitor and utilize natural resources effectively for income-generation;
  5. Providing vulnerable adults and young people, particularly women and girls, with improved access to financial resources to contribute to the family budget;
  6. Enhancing knowledge and response to gender-based violence (GBV) and other forms of violence, as well as resolving conflicts through non-violent communication.

After the presentation detailing the project’s goal of empowering vulnerable individuals and communities to achieve self-sufficiency, environmental consciousness, and resilience in the face of challenges, a discussion was opened for further clarification and advice.

During this event, Vice Mayor Pascasie Umuhoza expressed her appreciation for the project’s contribution to improving the lives of beneficiaries through its planned activities. She extended her gratitude to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Slovenia, Caritas Slovenia, Caritas Rwanda, and Caritas Nyundo Kibuye for their past contributions, which have significantly enhanced the lives of the people in Karongi District. She also pledged their continued collaboration throughout the implementation of this project.

Pascasie Umuhoza, Karongi District Vice Mayor in charge of Social Affairs inaugurated the Tubeho Neza Aheza Project.

The event was attended by various key figures including the district Agronomist, representatives from four sectors (Rugabano, Gashari, Mutuntu, and Rwankuba), Parish priests from Birambo, Mubuga, Nyange, Mukungu, and Gisovu Parishes, as well as representatives from the Soeurs Fille de la Charité, including one from Slovenia.

Also in attendance were Father Elie Hatangimbabazi, the Director of Caritas Nyundo Kibuye, the Coordinator of the Development Department of Caritas Nyundo Kibuye, and the Gender Equality and Social Inclusion Officer (Caritas Nyundo-Kibuye) and the Tubeho Neza Aheza Project staff members.

July 3, 2024

In order to raise awareness about the significance of early HIV diagnosis, adherence to treatment, viral load suppression, and combating stigma and discrimination among adolescents in secondary schools, Caritas Rwanda conducted an awareness campaign calling the Karongi District in school students to do HIV voluntary testing, on 27 and 28 June 2024.

The message was conveyed through football matches, drama, debates and poetry by students from the following schools: Groupe Scolaire Saint Michel (Mubuga Sector), Groupe Scolaire Saint Nicolas (Bwishyura Sector), Groupe Scolaire Saint Joseph Birambo (Gashali Sector) and Ecole secondaire TSS Ngoma (Rugabano Sector).

Caritas Rwanda staff involved in this activity encouraged these young people to get tested for HIV accompanied by their parents for those under 18, in order to know their status, and to take ARV immediately in case the test turns out to be positive. The messages also focused on sexual abstinence, the fight against discrimination and stigma against HIV positive people.

Jeanne Manirareba, one of the Caritas Rwanda’s staff, delivering the day’s message at the Karora football pitch.

During the football matches, the Groupe Scolaire Saint Nicholas emerged victorious with a score of 3-0 against the Groupe Scolaire Saint Michel, at the Karora football pitch on 27/06/2024. On the next day, at the Birambo football pitch, the Groupe Scolaire Saint Joseph Birambo won with a score of 7 against 0 of Ecole Secondaire TSS Ngoma. The winning teams received a trophy and a football ball.

On this occasion, there was a debate presented by the anti-AIDS club of the Group Scolaire Saint Joseph Birambo, with the following theme: “abstinence is the safest way to prevent HIV among young people”. It was the affirmative camp that won.

This campaign is part of the Faith Initiative Project funded by Caritas Internationalis through the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). It is implemented in four countries namely: Ivory Coast, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda.

July 2, 2024
July 2, 2024

The Catholic Church Health Services National Coordination Meeting was held in Karongi from June 19 to 21, 2024. The primary goal of this meeting was to assess the progress of the Caritas Rwanda Strategic Plan 2020-2024 / Health and develop new health strategies to be included in the upcoming strategic plan for2025-2030.

During the meeting, participants also reviewed the recommendations from the 2023 Caritas Rwanda General Assembly for the Health Department. They discussed the advancements made in various Community-based Health Projects such as Gikuriro Kuri Bose, RBF Malaria, RBF Enabel, ECD, Hepatitis B Birth Dose, and Faith Initiative. Additionally, there were brainstorming sessions on enhancing collaboration between the Episcopal Commission for Pastoral Health and the Catholic Church Health Services.

In his opening speech, His Excellency Bishop Anaclet Mwumvaneza, the Bishop of Nyundo Diocese and President of Caritas Rwanda, highlighted the Catholic Church’s commitment to improving the health of Rwandan citizens through its 10 hospitals and 110 health centers. He emphasized the cooperation agreement between the Catholic Church and the Ministry of Health, stating that the Church’s mission in health care is rooted in promoting human health without discrimination.

His Excellency Bishop Anaclet Mwumvaneza, Bishop of Nyundo Diocese and President of Caritas Rwanda, inaugurated the meeting.

Donatien Bajyanama, who represented the Ministry of Health, in his speech, said that this meeting was organized on time because in June 2024, the Government of Rwanda will close the Fourth Health Sector Strategic Plan (HSSB4) and the National Strategy for Transformation in its first phase (NST1), and then start the new ones, where unrealized activities will be prioritized.

Mr. Bajyanama also announced to the participants that a bonus would be given to health professionals working in the most remote areas as a way to motivate them. He stated, “The specific amount of these bonuses will soon be disclosed to the remote health centers.” In response to inquiries about old buildings, he assured that efforts would be made to collaborate on their renovation. Additionally, he suggested that the Catholic Church should prioritize renovation projects for old buildings, especially if government funding becomes available.

In the discussion regarding the collaboration between the Episcopal Commission for the Pastoral of Healthcare and Catholic Church health services, Father Senani Callixte, the commission secretary, emphasized the importance of providing spiritual and moral support to patients, their families, and medical staff. It was agreed that all hospitals and health centers affiliated with the Catholic Church should have chapels. For those facilities that do not currently have chapels, it was recommended that a designated room be made available for individuals to pray and seek solace. This initiative aims to ensure that individuals in hospitals and health centers have access to spiritual guidance and support during times of need.

On the question of the health commission members in Catholic Church hospitals, it was agreed that the composition should be evenly split between members from the Church and those from outside. However, the current ratio is 40% from the Church and 60% from outside, which does not align with the agreed-upon 50/50 split.

Mr. Donatien Bajyanama suggested that the representative of the hospital owner should no longer be part of the hospital management committee to prevent interference in the higher committee. However, participants requested that this position be reinstated, with the specification that it would be filled by the chaplain.

Mr. Donatien Bajyanama, who represented the Ministry of Health in this meeting.

In terms of family educators, it was decided that individuals at the parish level will be selected based on their interest in the role and will receive training accordingly.

Furthermore, the meeting reviewed the recommendations from the 2023 General Assembly of Caritas Rwanda and noted that they are being implemented as necessary.

The representatives of the Rwanda Social Security Board (RSSB) made a presentation on the updates on the current status of receivables and payment terms for Mutuelle de santé invoices by RSSB. The participants showed their interest in this information by asking many questions, which made them understand that payments are delayed because the documents do not meet the required conditions.

The participants during the meeting.

During this conference, there were also presentations on the achievements of different community health projects (Gikuriro Kuri Bose, RBF Malaria, RBF Enabel, ECD, Hepatitis B Birth Dose and Faith Initiative), as well as a short training on data protection.

After reviewing the implementation of the Caritas Rwanda 2020-2024 strategic plan/health, which has been well implemented, the participants reflected on the points that will be the basis of a new Caritas Rwanda 2025-2030 strategic plan.

June 14, 2024

After one year of savings, 48 ​​Savings and Internal Lending Community groups (SILC groups) made up by 944 participants of the Graduation Project funded by UNHCR have shared Rwf 285,519,800 on June 5, 2024. The amount includes 225,149,230 Rwf in savings and 60,370,570 Rwf in interest. These SILC groups are now transitioning into cooperatives to become more empowered and self-reliant.

One of the Graduation Project participants, Azabe Sosthène, testified that he and his family had lived in extreme poverty prior to being identified by this project, so that there was a time when he left the camp to seek for work as a mason’s assistant in Bugesera district, where he spent two months and lost 10 kilograms. However, his life took a turn for the better once he received the training and financial support from the Graduation Project.  “Thus, I invested the received cash grant of 800,000 Rwf in selling honey, sesame, olive oil, etc. I buy them in Kigali to resell them in the camp. Recently, we closed the savings year, and I found that I had saved up to 600,000 Rwf, which generated a profit of Rwf 185,000”, said Sosthène.

Sosthène Azabe, one of the Graduation Project, invested the received cash grant in selling honey, sesame and Olive oil.

As for Solange Umukiza, one of the project participants from the Mahama camp host community, stated that even though she studied veterinary in high school, she remained jobless for a long time and when she got a job the salary was insufficient to provide for her family. After receiving the cash grant from the Graduation Project, Solange opened a veterinary pharmacy. For this year, she saved 655,500 Rwf and her pharmacy business is flourishing. Together with her other 19 SILC group members have created a maize farming cooperative and have already deposited 510,000 Rwf on their bank account.

During the share out event, the 48 SILC groups’ members were reminded that the graduation model followed by the Graduation Project has a duration of three years, during which the project trains the participant, provides him/her cash grant and continues to advise him/her on income-generating activity as well as SILC groups activities. After three years you are no longer begging. You don’t ever wonder how you are going to survive? You don’t you say what else are they going to give me? Instead, in three years we look forward for an employer. Who is self-reliant and hires others, said Samuel Bigirimana, the UNHCR Community Protection Associate in Mahama refugee camp.

Mukandayisenga Janvière, the Vice Mayor of Kirehe District in charge of Social Affairs, said that there are many non-governmental organizations or projects that provide financial support or any other assistance to participants to help them get out poverty, but who don’t but don’t continue to do the follow-up. “We thank Caritas Rwanda through its Graduation Project. We appreciate you for providing the financial support, but also helping the project participants to create the Saving and Internal Lending Community Groups. That is why they are successful. If people didn’t form saving groups, we wouldn’t celebrate these achievements, said the Deputy Mayor.

Janvière Mukandayisenga, Madam Vice-Mayor of Kirehe District in charge of Social Affairs, thanked Caritas Rwanda for the financial support and the establishment of savings and internal lending community groups for beneficiaries.

In his closing speech, Father Emmanuel Nteziryayo, the Kiyanzi parish priest, asked everyone to work hard to develop economically, but not to forget God. “The two must go hand in hand. Saint Benedict, the patriarch of the monks, used to tell them: pray and work, because God must be put first in everything you do”, stressed Father Emmanuel Nteziryayo.

The SILC group that saved the most is Abadahigwa Saruhembe, who shared 11,64,800 Rwf. This group is made up of Rwandans, members of the host community in Mahama camp. The first SILC group in Mahama camp is Ejoheza Mahama V15, and it shared 8,443,000 Rwf. The group member who saved the most is Etane Jean Bosco (Rwandan), who saved 1,242,250 Rwf within one year and his fruit selling business is also flourishing. The smallest savings for this year was Rwf 180,000.

This is the second year that the SILC groups assisted by the Graduation Project in Mahama camp and its host community have shared their savings. Some are in their second year of saving, while for others it is the first year. The savings made during two years are 395,000,000 Rwf.

Among the 944 members of the 48 groups, there are 669 Burundian and Congolese refugees (regrouped into 36 groups) and 287 Rwandan members of the host community (12 groups).

June 13, 2024

Through its ECD project funded by Plan International Rwanda, Caritas Rwanda along with other partners, joined the Bugesera district to celebrate the ECD day on 27th May 2024. This event took place in the Kamabuye sector and marked the end of the ECD week that began on 20th May 2024).

The ECD Week in Bugesera district was centered around the theme “Isibo, the solid foundation of early childhood development.” Throughout the week, a variety of activities took place, such as measuring children’s weight and height, collecting food for their nourishment, raising awareness on hygiene, sanitation, and health practices, educating parents on the importance of clean water, teaching parents how to prepare balanced meals for their families, and promoting positive parenting techniques.

In her address, Mrs. Yvette Imanishimwe, Vice Mayor of Bugesera District in charge of Social Affairs, highlighted the importance of addressing malnutrition among children. As for her, during the ECD week, out of the 1,756 children assessed, 99 were found to be suffering from malnutrition. Of these, 79 were identified as not severely malnourished (marked in yellow) and were immediately enrolled in the community kitchens within the villages (Igikoni cy’Umudugudu) to receive nutritious meals. The remaining 20 children were diagnosed with acute malnutrition and are now under the care of paediatricians who provide daily check-ups and ensure they are receiving a balanced diet until they fully recover.

Mrs. Yvette Imanishimwe, the Vice-Mayor in charge of Social Affairs, addressing the participants during the ECD Day Celebration 2024.

Alphonsine Mukantwari, a home-based ECD caregiver supported by Caritas Rwanda’s ECD Project, shared her experience of how parents assist in caring for children while adhering to the six pillars of ECD: Nutrition, Health, WASH (Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene), Parenting Education, School Readiness, and Child Protection and Inclusiveness. She expressed gratitude to local authorities and partners such as Caritas Rwanda and Plan International Rwanda for their support in home-based ECD. Alphonsine urged all parents with children under 6 to enroll them in ECD programs, emphasizing the numerous benefits they provide.

During the event, winners of the competition for role model fathers were presented with bags and registers to help them continue to encourage other men to participate in nurturing care tasks. Robert Sengarama, the ECD and Education Program Manager at Plan International Rwanda, emphasized the importance of ECD and the need to raise awareness among parents of children under 6 who have not yet enrolled their children in ECD programs.

The winners of the competition for role model fathers were presented with bags and registers to help them continue to encourage other men to participate in nurturing care tasks.

Sengarama highlighted the benefits of ECDs and stressed the significance of celebrating ECD Day to promote the well-being of young children. He also pointed out the lack of play areas in home-based ECDs, “In collaboration with Caritas Rwanda, we conducted various field visits in home-based ECDs and discovered that children do not have access to entertainment. A child learns a lot through playing activities. By using toys, the kid’s brain is stimulated”, he said. As a response, Caritas Rwanda, with support from Plan International Rwanda, distributed various brain-stimulating toys and games to children in the 20 home-based ECDs supported by the ECD Project in Bugesera district.

The Director General of the National Child Development Agency (NCDA), Mrs. Assumpta Ingabire, was the guest of honour at the ceremony. She explained that the ECD program was established by His Excellency, President Paul Kagame of the Republic of Rwanda in 2006. This initiative was born out of the realization that a significant number of Rwandan children suffer from stunted growth and lack access to quality education.

In her speech, Mrs. Assumpta Ingabire, the Director General of NCDA emphasized the importance of ECD caregivers and parents in enhancing the quality of home-based ECD services.

Mrs. Assumpta emphasized the importance of ECD caregivers and parents in enhancing the quality of home-based ECD services. She urged parents with children under the age of 6 to take advantage of these services. Mrs. Assumpta highlighted the transformative impact of proper child care, stating that a well-cared-for child grows into a responsible citizen who contributes positively to the development of the nation.

As was outlined at this event, there are 1,625 ECDs in the Bugesera district with 57,303 children. Among them, 1,160 (ECDs) are based in family houses (23,161 children). With funding from Plan International Rwanda, Caritas Rwanda’s ECD Project supports 20 of them in the Bugesera district.

June 5, 2024

To enhance the identification, linkage to treatment, retention in care, and viral load suppression among children, midwives, and staff responsible for HIV Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT) at Catholic-based health facilities in Karongi District, a two-day training on Pediatric HIV was held from May 30th to May 31, 2024. Karongi District was chosen for its high HIV testing positivity rate, ranging between 2.84% and 3.66% (source: HIMS July 2022-June 2023[1]).

This training was part of the Faith Initiative Project funded by Caritas Internationalis through the PEPFAR fund. It took place at Home Saint Jean Hotel and focused on three key pillars:

  1. Raising awareness to combat stigma and discrimination;
  2. Preventing Mother-to-Child HIV transmission;
  3. Enhancing screening, care, and linkage to treatment.

Following the training, healthcare workers were advised to promote early diagnosis, ensure linkage to care, provide adherence support, strengthen healthcare systems, foster community engagement, and uphold a political commitment, particularly at health facilities and various community gatherings (Inteko z’abaturage), parents’ meetings (Umugoroba w’ababyeyi), etc. They will also conduct targeted awareness campaigns featuring voluntary HIV testing and household visits, with a special emphasis on encouraging men to support their partners during the eight antenatal care visits.

The Health Care Workers working in group to elaborate the field visit schedule.

Previously, the religious leaders from Karongi District underwent training on Pediatric HIV and the CaritasCare Mobile Application from April 23rd to April 25th, 2024. This training aimed to equip them to raise awareness against HIV-related stigma and discrimination, collect and report data using the CaritasCare mobile application, identify undiagnosed children at the community level, and facilitate their screening and treatment at health facilities as part of their daily responsibilities.

Furthermore, on May 23, 2024, Caritas Rwanda’s Health Department Team engaged with local authorities in Karongi District to emphasize their critical role and contribution in increasing the screening of children living with HIV and linking them with healthcare facilities for treatment. This collaborative effort also involves close cooperation with religious leaders and healthcare workers within this framework.

The Faith Initiative Project is currently being implemented in four countries: Nigeria, Ivory Coast, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Rwanda.

 

[1] https://www.rbc.gov.rw/fileadmin/user_upload/report23/HIV%20Annual%20report%202022%20-2023.pdf – page 13

May 27, 2024

As part of the program impact assessment, the USAID Rwanda team, along with Rubavu District educational officials, visited Igire-Gimbuka interventions in Rubavu on May 21 and 22, 2024. The visit included observing children who are supported in pursuing the TVET program at Vision Jeunesse Nouvelle Vocational Training Center, as well as children involved in the CBIM club at G.S. Shwemu II.

Addressing the children who are currently pursuing their vocational training at the Vision Jeunesse Nouvelle Centre, Mupenzi Pacifique, the Director of Education in Rubavu District, said that vocational trainings are very important because you don’t necessarily have to apply for a job, but you can create your own job or business. He encouraged them to resume their studies if they want to increase their chances in the job market.

Previously (on May 20), the USAID Rwanda team conducted a Site Improvement through Monitoring System (SIMS) and Data Quality Assessment (DQA) at Igire-Gimbuka’s Rubavu site. Hence, the Igire-Gimbuka scored 100% (green) in the Rubavu sector where the SIMS was conducted.

USAID Rwanda team and Rubavu District educational officials’ visit to children (supported by the Igire-Gimbuka) who are in pursuing the TVET program at Vision Jeunesse Nouvelle Vocational Training Center.

To strengthen the economic resilience of program participants, the Igire-Gimbuka created and supported community-based saving groups. Duharaniramahoro, one of these saving groups that engages in raising and selling 1-month-old chicks as a collective income-generating activity was visited by the USAID Rwanda team and Rubavu District local leaders on 22nd May. The group members were congratulated by the visitors for creating income-generating activities and encouraged them to form a cooperative.

Visitors had the opportunity to meet with volunteers and the Orphan and Vulnerable Children (OVC) supported by the Igire-Gimbuka Program. They learned about the various ways in which these volunteers support the participants of the program, including home visit practices, adherence, and supporting viral load monitoring and suppression. Additionally, visitors engaged with the leadership of Kigufi Health Center to gain insight into collaboration, referrals, and linkages.

One of the OVCs shared her journey of starting anti-viral medication when she had a high viral load. Initially, she visited the health facility monthly to receive ARV drugs, with transportation costs of Rwf 1000 covered by the Igire-Gimbuka Program. However, she later learned that friends receiving medication every three months were given a higher transportation allowance of Frw 3000. This motivated her to adhere to her medication schedule, leading to a significant decrease in her viral load. As a result, she transitioned to receiving medication every three months, improving her health and overall well-being.

USAID Rwanda team and Rubavu District educational officials’ visit to children involved in the CBIM club at G.S. Shwemu II.

This girl also appreciated the Igire-Gimbuka because apart from helping her to improve her health, the program also helped her to accomplish sewing training and provided her with a sewing machine, which helped her to start a tailoring business.

During this site visit, the guests advised the volunteers to continue serving the program participants with zeal, even after the closing of the Igire-Gimbuka program.

Meeting of USAID Rwanda team, Rubavu District educational officials and volunteers.

They were also requested to report accurate statistics in their reports because they provide information on program participants’ health status and therefore provide them with the assistance they need.

May 20, 2024

On 17th May 2024, CaritasRwanda Management Team and staff gathered to honour the former Caritas Rwanda staff who lost their lives in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. The commemoration included a requiem Holy Mass, the laying of wreaths at the Kigali Genocide Memorial and the sharing of messages of hope and testimonies.

Seven employees of Caritas Rwanda who were killed during the Genocide against the Tutsi in 1994 are Rugangura Alphonse, Niyibizi Léopold, Beneyezu Eugène, Karangwa Claver, Bunangwa Eugène, Seromba Raphaël and Nyirababiri Joséphine. In addition to Caritas Rwanda management team and staff, the memorial ceremony was attended by the families of the victims and representatives of various invited institutions.

After the celebration of a requiem mass (at the Lavigerie Missionary Center) presided over by Father Kayisabe Védaste, Secretary General of the Episcopal Conference of Rwanda, the participants visited the Kigali Genocide Memorial where they were explained the history of Jenoside perpetrated against the Tutsi in 1994 (before, during and after its occurrence). They also paid tribute to those killed during the Genocide against the Tutsis in 1994 and laid wreaths on the graves of those who rest at the Kigali Genocide Memorial.

The commemoration of former Caritas Rwanda staff who lost their lives in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi started by the celebration of a requiem mass.

In his speech at the Kigali Genocide Memorial, the Secretary General of Caritas Rwanda, Father Oscar Kagimbura, said that this commemoration aimed to remind everyone of their responsibility to value human life. “Life is a gift from God, no one has the right to take it away from their neighbor”, he added.

During the speeches and testimonies time, Mwanangu Juvénal, one of the employees of Caritas Rwanda, testified that Caritas Rwanda offered him a job when he had taken refuge in Kigali from Ruhengeri (his natal province at that time), also offering him a new family. He added that the period preceding the Genocide against the Tutsi in 1994 was not easy, and shared his memories about his Caritas Rwanda colleagues who perished in the Genocide against the Tutsi in 1994.

Niyibizi Albert, who delivered the speech on behalf of the families of Caritas Rwanda employees perished in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, thanked Caritas Rwanda for involving them in the commemoration of their late beloved ones, adding that although the families and the Country lost people and property because of the Genocide perpetrated against the Tutsi in 1994, today life offers hope.

Hamudu Safari, president of Ibuka in Nyarugenge district, commended Caritas Rwanda for its non-discriminatory love, saying he witnesses it as Caritas Rwanda offered a job to his muslim father. Hamidu also talked about the contribution of Caritas Rwanda to the reconstruction of Rwanda after the Genocide perpetrated against the Tutsi in 1994: “Caritas was the first to rescue the survivors of the genocide. Although I don’t have the actual statistics, Caritas has helped orphans, widows, paid children’s school fees, etc. I am one of those to whom Caritas supported through the work offered to my father in difficult times, which allowed him to pay for our studies, and now we have become men thanks to Caritas.” 

A group photo of the Caritas Rwanda’s management team and staff, the family members of the former Caritas Rwanda staff perished in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, and other guests.

In his message, Father Kayisabe Védaste recalled that it is easier to do good than to do evil. “Which is easy, between to kill or not to kill? We are here to learn. We must learn from our history,” he said. Father Kayisabe thanked Caritas Rwanda for organizing this memorial event, as well as all the participants, in particular the families of Caritas Rwanda employees who perished in the Genocide against the Tutsi in 1994, reminding them that Caritas always carries them in its heart.

May 20, 2024
May 20, 2024

On 16th May 2024, Caritas Rwanda celebrated Labor Day, where the messages encouraged the staff to continue well performing in their daily work, impacting vulnerable people’s lives. It was also an occasion for a short training on Data Protection facilitated by Landmark advocates.

After this training, the Igire-Gimbuka team, funded by PEPFAR/USAID Rwanda, played against the Caritas Rwanda staff in friendly football and volleyball matches. The Igire-Gimbuka team won in football with a score of 2-1, while the Caritas Rwanda staff team won in volleyball with a score of 2 sets to 1.

Igire-Gimbuka team played against the Caritas Rwanda staff in friendly football and volleyball matches.

Addressing over 100 staff members who participated in the Labor Day celebration at Cercle Sportif de Kigali, the General Secretary of Caritas Rwanda Father Oscar Kagimbura urged them to carry out their daily work, making difference to positively change the lives of vulnerable people.

Father Oscar Kagimbura took this opportunity to present the appreciation award to Madame Nduwamungu Thérèse who has been working for Caritas Rwanda for 18 years, and who’s leaving for retirement. Through this award signed by Bishop Anaclet Mwumvaneza, the Chairman of Caritas Rwanda, Caritas Rwanda appreciated the outstanding work accomplished by Mrs. Nduwamungu during her period of service.

Mrs. Nduwamungu Thérèse received an appreciation award from Caritas Rwanda for her outstanding work during 18 years of service.

Father Kayisabe Vedaste, Secretary General of the Council of Catholic Bishops in Rwanda who participated in this event, thanked the management of Caritas Rwanda who organized this Labor Day celebration, calling on them to continue to successfully complete the tasks assigned to them by the Church.

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