Save the Children in Rwanda

The Situation for Children in Rwanda

Rwanda has made remarkable progress since the 1994 genocide, which left the country with the highest proportion of orphans in the world. Progress has been particularly strong in promoting good governance and delivering essential services to the poor. Rwanda  is one of the few African nations to be on track in the achievement of seven out of the eight Millennium Development Goals by 2015.

Rwanda has also made a strong commitment to the promotion of the Rights of Children and their protection by ratifying the International Conventions and Protocols on Children’s Rights, and through the establishment of the National Commission for the Child, as well as the Child Right’s Observatory. In June 2012, Rwanda passed a new Law relating to the Rights and Protection of the Child, which is meant to be, in effect, a “Bill of Rights” for Rwandan children.

Despite its progress, Rwanda remains one of Africa’s poorest countries - 39% of the population still live below the poverty line, 16.3% of them living in extreme poverty (EICV4). According to the Demographic Health Survey 2015 (DHS), under-five mortality is 50 per 1,000;  38% of children under age five are stunted, and 9 percent underweight.

The Net Enrollment Rate (NER) for pre-primary education was 12.7% in 2013. The Early Grades and Reading Assesment (EGRA) revealed poor early-grade reading attainment, pointing to a gap in early literacy and math skills:

  • 13% of P4 students could not read a single word of a Kinyarwanda P2-P3 level text
  • 13% of them could read less than 15 words correctly in a minute
  • 40% of P4 students could not answer even half of the comprehension questions relating to the passage they just read.  

Rwanda has still yet to fully harmonize its domestic laws with the articles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Despite the conducive policy framework, there is still a lot that needs to be done to prevent abuse - physical, sexual, and emotional, perpetrated against boys and girls. The structures meant for protection of children still lack capacity and are under-resourced.

  • 19.3% of the population under 21 has lost one parent and 2.7% are orphans of both parents.
  • 37.5% of the children living in care institutions were admitted under the age of 3.


Save the Children in Rwanda

Save the Children has been working in Rwanda since 1994. In the immediate aftermath of the genocide, Save the Children helped trace parents or relatives of thousands of children who had become separated from their families. Since then, we have been working in partnership with the government and local stakeholders to promote a bright future for Rwanda’s children.

Working in 14 Districts in all the 5 Provinces, Save the Children reached over 120,000 children in 2014.

Our primary focus is on Education,  Child Protection, Child Rights Governance, as well as Health and Nutrition.

 Acquisition of Early Literacy and Maths skills