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July 17, 2023

USAID Rwanda site visit to Igire-Gimbuka Program in Nyamasheke District

On Thursday 13th July 2023, the USAID Rwanda team visited the Igire-Gimbuka program in the Nyamasheke district. This site visit was organized to reflect on significant achievements, monitor and evaluate the progress and outcome of IGIRE Gimbuka’s interventions, and enhance engagement, support, and motivation among project volunteers, beneficiaries and stakeholders. It was an opportunity to recognize and appreciate their valuable contributions, fostering a collaborative environment that significantly contributes to the overall success of the program.

The USAID team visited Kanjongo Sector, Kibogora Hospital, and met with volunteers and beneficiaries of the Igire-Gimbuka Program (before 12:00 am). Afterwards, they met with children participating in the Mugabukwiye program known by the abbreviation CBIM (Change Boys Into Men) at the GS Saint Nicholas Nyamasheke and their coaches.

The USAID team thanked the local authorities for their collaboration in the implementation of the Igire-Gimbuka program, in particular for the provision of meeting rooms when the program wants to deliver messages to beneficiaries and other people needed for the smooth running of activities.

During the visit to Kibogora Hospital, Mrs Mukankusi Athanasie, Nyamasheke district Vice-Mayor in charge of social affairs, acknowledged the contribution of Caritas Rwanda, through the Igire-Gimbuka program, in looking after HIV-positive people, providing them with the support they need to take their antiretroviral drugs correctly. She also thanked the Igire-Gimbuka’s support for the district’s GBV campaign, where GBV clinics brought together teenage mothers and their parents so that they could work together to improve their relationship (which had deteriorated since their daughters became pregnant).

Mrs. Mukankusi Athanasie, Vice-Mayor of Nyamasheke District in charge of social affairs during the USAID visit at Kibogora Hospital.

Requests made and the solutions proposed by the USAID team

The local authorities proposed that the Mugabukwiye program (teaching boys to become men without violence) and the reproductive health education program for children aged 10 to 14 should also be transferred to other schools as these subjects are only taught in a few schools supported by the Igire-Gimbuka program. In response to this request, the USAID team suggested that coaches from schools that have been trained and have the Mugabukwiye modules should train coaches from other schools, in order to spread the Mugabukwiye program in other schools.Another request made by the beneficiaries and the authorities of the Kanjongo sector concerns the increase in the number of children whom Igire-Gimbuka supports for school meals. To this request, the USAID team replied that the sustainable solution is to promote the economic development of families and that all development partners should join the district in this noble cause.

Regarding the fact that the age of children supported by the program should be up to 22 years old instead of 18 years old (the request of some parents), the USAID team replied that this will not be possible because even those who are 18 and under are not all helped by the program.

During this site visit, Mrs. Mukankusi Athanasie said that there is a high number of prostitutes in Nyamasheke and requested that the Igire-Gimbuka program collaborates with the district in the campaign calling on prostitutes to get out of this profession, as their children also become pregnant at a young age or become prostitutes, as well as street children. Both parties have agreed to collaborate for the success of this campaign.

During the visit, Ms Mukankusi Athanasie pointed out that there were a large number of prostitutes in Nyamasheke, and asked that the Igire-Gimbuka program work with the district in the campaign calling on prostitutes to abandon this dishonourable profession. Indeed, their children are likely to become pregnant at a young age or become prostitutes, as are street children. Both parties have agreed to work together to ensure the success of this campaign.In this regard, the USAID team advised the Igire-Gimbuka program to focus on children born to prostitutes in identifying future beneficiaries.

The children from GS Saint Nicholas Nyamasheke who follow the Mugabukwiye program, in front of the USAID and Caritas Rwanda staff.

Other praise for the Igire-Gimbuka program includes the financial support that has enabled families to develop economically, the fight against the social isolation of HIV-positive children in schools, and the training of nurses on caring for HIV-positive people.

After visiting all the above-mentioned sites, the USAID team congratulated Caritas Rwanda on its pace in implementing the Igire-Gimbuka program and recommended identifying the beneficiary children and providing them with the special assistance they need, and continuing to improve collaboration between the various institutions and the Igire-Gimbuka program.