The Gikuriro program was a five-year Integrated Nutrition and WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) activity funded by USAID Rwanda, from October 2016 to July 2020. “Gikuriro” is a Kinyarwanda word that refers to good growth relative to height for age.
The program was implemented through a consortium of two international agencies, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) which was the prime and a sub-recipient, (SNV), the Netherlands Development Organization, Caritas Rwanda was the local implementing partner in two districts Nyabihu and Ruhango.
The primary purpose of Gikuriro was to improve the nutritional status of women of reproductive age and children under five years of age, with an emphasis on the 1,000-days window of opportunity to prevent stunting from conception until a child's second birthday, in support of the Government of Rwanda's efforts. The program closed out its implementation in those two districts in July, 2020.
The nutrition interventions of Gikuriro program targeted the households with children under five years; the total beneficiaries reached (enrolled in Village Nutrition Schools, Savings and Internal Lending Communities (SILC) and the Farmer Field Learning School (FFLS) is 11,508 in Nyabihu district. The WASH interventions targeted the general population and reached 42,579 households in Nyabihu and 36,848 households in Ruhango, all registered in Community Health Clubs.
Gikuriro directly supported and contributed to the Government of Rwanda efforts to combat malnutrition through its sector strategies and policies such as the Ministry of Health’s (MoH) Third Health Sector Strategic Plan (2012-2018), the Social Cluster’s National Food and Nutrition Policy, the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources’ (MINAGRI) Nutrition Action Plan 2013-2018, and National Food and Nutrition Strategic Plan 2013-2018, all drawn from the Rwanda Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy phase II for 2013-2018 that is embedded in the Rwanda Vision 2020.
To achieve its objectives, Gikuriro implemented the Community Based Environmental Health Promotion Program and the Community Based Food and Nutrition program.
Caritas Rwanda collaborated and worked with the districts through its units, Joint Action Development Forum (JADF) and the district multi sector nutrition committees to achieve the Gikuriro program targets. In Ruhango district, the Gikuriro focused on activities which improves the hygiene and sanitation and was in complement with the USAID funded Gimbuka which implements activities that improves nutrition.
During the whole period of implementation of Gikuriro program, Caritas Rwanda built the capacity of the local government and health facilities staff to implement the nutrition and WASH activities thus as of the end of the program they are able and full committed to take over the Gikuriro achievements and continue to address childhood malnutrition in a holistic manner that engage the community to create and adopt the local solutions.
The project has provided more than 150,000 people with access to safe drinking water through 28 water kiosks and 126 water springs built in various sectors 34,530 households now have clean toilets and hand-washing facilities.
30,765 children under the age of five have benefited from community nutrition services through Village Nutrition Schools and the parents received nutrition counselling and education via different community gatherings such as the weekly People's Assembly (Inteko z’abaturage) and the monthly community work.
Gikuriro program has also provided 8,910 iron sheets to 4,673 beneficiaries as support to roof the latrines.