Save the Children in Rwanda

The Situation for Children in Rwanda

Rwanda has made remarkable progress since the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi, 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.

  • 1-in-20 children do not live to celebrate their fifth birthday.
  • 38% of children under the age of five are stunted.

In Rwanda, only 60% of parents engage in activities that support brain growth and development of children aged between 0-3-year-old.

Just over 12% of children between the ages of 3-6 have access to any type of early learning and development services, which tend to be in urban areas and too costly for poorer parents.

  • Pre-primary enrolment stands at 20%.
  • 97% of children enroll in primary school but only 60% complete primary education.
  • 18% of P3 students could not read a word of a grade-level Kinyarwanda text.

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.

  • 5.5% of children aged 6 to 17 are engaged in child labor.
  • 3% of children under age 5 possess a birth certificate.
  • 24% of girls and 28% of boys age 15 to 19 have experienced physical violence.


Save the Children in Rwanda

Save the Children believes every child deserves a future. In Rwanda and around the world, we work every day to give children a healthy start in life, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. When crisis strikes, and children are most vulnerable, we are always among the first to respond and the last to leave. We ensure children’s unique needs are met and their voices are heard.  We deliver lasting results for millions of children, including those hardest to reach.  We do whatever it takes for children – every day and in times of crisis – transforming their lives and the future we share.

Save the Children has been working in Rwanda since 1994. In the immediate aftermath of the genocide against the Tutsi, 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.

At present, Save the Children has Programmes in Child Protection, Child Rights Governance, Education, Humanitarian Relief and Health and Nutrition. In 2017, Save the Children in Rwanda directly reached 395,079 children and 127,633 adults. Currently, SC Rwanda Program coverage reaches 30 districts of Rwanda.