EMERGENCY APPEAL – Rwandan children face COVID-19

Posted on Posted in Children's Rights, Health

Humanium has launched an emergency appeal for donations in order to carry out an urgent relief project in Rwanda amid serious threats posed by the Coronavirus pandemic. The children of Rwanda are in need of your help. As humans across the world continue to face this mounting health crisis of unprecedented scale, our support for child rights has never been more important.

Humanium & AVSI launch an urgent relief project

The Coronavirus pandemic has created an acute child rights crisis and Rwanda risks being seriously affected. With our partner AVSI, Humanium plans to execute a critical emergency relief project which will support families in five regions of Rwanda.

The proposed project, entitled ‘Support to vulnerable families to mitigate COVID-19 impact’, will directly aid 2,499 people including children, babies and at least 400 child mothers, with a focus on the most vulnerable groups. We would provide essential resources, including food, cash transfer and facilitated remote school education. The objective of the project is to mitigate the impact of Coronavirus on at-risk Rwandan children and their families, as well as preparing for post-pandemic challenges; something that we passionately believe must happen.

This cannot take place, however, unless enough money is raised and we ask you to help us achieve this.

Our project would be carried out in the Rwandan regions of Gatsibo, Gicumbi, Kamonyi, Nyanza and Ruhango and will span two months, beginning as soon as the funds are available. Humanium has been working in Rwanda since 2015, and our local partner AVSI has direct contact with 10,607 people in the country, including 91 collaborative community volunteers. Indeed, as part of the emergency relief project AVSI aims to distribute food to 314 households every day for 2 months in collaboration with local authorities and in a barrier-safe manner.

In addition, cash transfer schemes via mobile phone will prioritise young mothers and empower them to have control over their purchases so as to meet their families’ basic needs. Humanium’s crisis relief activities would help affected people to access their most fundamental needs and rights. Every human being has the right to food, water, education, health and life and these lie at the very heart of this urgent appeal for donations.

Furthermore, Humanium plans to provide children with radios to facilitate distance learning so that they are still able to virtually attend school and access education in spite of lockdown and the threats and changes brought about by the Coronavirus pandemic. Our project also aims to fund the production of masks and soap so that Rwandan residents are better provided with barriers and hygiene products to protect against contracting the virus. AVSI already trains adolescent mothers’ cooperatives in sewing, with women’s cooperatives trained in soap-making.

These skilled women and girls would thus be able to make 2,200 masks per 150 metres of fabric should they choose – providing an essential service to their communities – if the funds and materials are made available. Please consider contributing to this project so that affected individuals in Rwanda are better able to access resources for the benefit of their collective health, safety and livelihoods. 

Children under lockdown in Rwanda

Rwandan people have been living under Coronavirus lockdown for over 45 days, since the country was the first Sub-Saharan African nation to enforce total lockdown measures. At the time of publication there were 285 recorded cases of Coronavirus in Rwanda and 0 deaths. Mandatory mask-wearing and social distancing was introduced countrywide and the capital, Kigali, is considered to be a hotspot of virus outbreak. The situation has been further complicated by a sharp rise in bus prices, meaning the cost of living has further increased for many (BBC, 2020).

Children, girls in particular, are disproportionately affected by these measures since all Rwandan schools have been closed until September 2020 and the government has ordered education programmes be provided through radio and television. Large numbers of families, however, do not own a radio or a television, meaning that Humanium’s initiative to distribute solar-powered radios is instrumental to many children’s ability to access education this year.

All of the children in this photograph are currently living under lockdown in Rwanda and cannot go to school anymore.

Giving families radios will mean children wouldn’t ‘lose’ their school year or have to repeat it for lack of resources, but could continue to study from home and be occupied during confinement. The impacts of Coronavirus will disproportionately affect the poorest people worldwide who are most hit by vulnerability factors. This is true in Rwanda, as in countries the world over, and in order to mitigate devastating risks that such inequality poses, Humanium urgently needs your help.

Be part of our crucial efforts for child rights

In order to respond to this crisis and implement our project, we are relying on brilliant networks of thousands of caring individuals such as yourself. Please take this time to consider joining the Humanium family or making a donation. In this historical moment, any contribution you are able to make to our Rwanda Coronavirus response project would be a magnificent stand for the protection of the inviolable human rights that all children, and people, possess.

Written by the Humanium Team


CYUZUZO Samba (2020) “Rwanda reopens after 45-day coronavirus lockdown”, British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).