CARE in Rwanda

CARE in Rwanda

In 1984, CARE was formally invited by the Government of Rwanda to open an office and establish a comprehensive development program in the country. In the 1980s, even more so than now, the majority of the population was rural and dependent on subsistence agriculture. In addition, Rwanda was at the time hosting many refugees. One of the side effects of this was that forests were being rapidly cut down for energy consumption, thus increasing land erosion and contributing to rapid land degradation.

Since 1984, CARE International in Rwanda has focused on four areas of programming—each meeting the changing immediate needs of the most vulnerable. The early years focused on Reforestation and Environmental Protection, followed by Emergency, Reconstruction and Rehabilitation programming from 1994 – 1999. Our strategy then prioritized HIV/AIDS and Orphans and Vulnerable Children programming, followed by Economic and Social Empowerment, Women’s Rights from 2005 until 2016.

In 2017, CARE launched its new Rwanda programme strategy, identifying women and girls aged 10-59 years (in categories 1 and 2 of Rwanda’s Ubudehe poverty ranking) as the target group where it can have the most impact. Development programming is complemented by emergency programming addressing the needs of disaster-affected populations—particularly refugees.


Such an approach builds on our strengths in Rwanda as:


  • One of the few international NGOs leading in gender justice;
  • Developer of transformational intervention models;
  • Convener of a committed and capable civil society;
  • Collaborator with alliances, social movements, government, private sector and civil society.


CARE International currently works in 24 of Rwanda’s 30 districts, and in the 2016/17 financial year, worked with nine national partner organizations to directly reach 550,000 people through 18,500 Village Saving and Loan Association (VSLA) groups—75% women—as well as supporting 9,092 out-of-school, and 54,000 in-school girls.


For further information, please see our Press Releases page for CARE Rwanda's 25th Anniversary Publication.

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