Pathway 4 - Economic

Pathway 4 - Economic

This pathway contributes to change by:

Promoting the economic security of households containing OVC. This will include:

  • Access to savings and credit;
  • Vocational training;
  • Skills in enterprise development;
  • Facilitation of cooperatives;
  • Ensuring equitable distribution of the benefits of economic activity within the household.

  See below for the specific sections of this pathway. For further information on each section please refer to the attached document.


This pathway aims to have an impact on all OVC, because poverty is a driving factor of other forms of vulnerability.

All OVC are targeted through their care-giving households, while OVC over 12 are also targeted directly. Experience in Rwanda shows that this is the age when they start becoming economically active. The approaches used to work with OVC allow them to combine this with going to school.

  • The Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, being the main ministry that occupies itself with the country’s economic situation and elaborating and managing policies and strategies that affect the pathway.
  • The Ministry of Trade and Industry, including its Rwanda Cooperative Agency which provides capacity building to cooperatives. VSL members who set up cooperatives can benefit from this to improve their economic situation.
  • The National Bank of Rwanda (BNR), which oversees all micro-finance institutions (MFIs) and banks, and gives input to others on how to work with MFIs. Their policies also affect the pathway.
  • AMIR, a national network of MFIs, They focus on capacity building and advocacy for the MFI sector, and ensure liaison between MFIs.

CARE Rwanda’s work on this pathway is informed by the Government of Rwanda’s policy context. Of specific importance to this pathway are:

  • The National Microfinance Policy (MINECOFIN, 2006) identifies standards for MFI services, and gives the political framework that regulates informal VSL groups.
  • The National Financial Education Strategy (MINECOFIN), under development) identifies needs for financial skills for different segments of the population, depending on the type of their economic activity. It provides the basis of CARE Rwanda’s financial literacy program.
  • The Cooperative Law (Minicom & Minecofin, 2007) identifies the rules and regulations around the establishment and functioning of cooperative organizations.
  • The Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) Development Policy (MINICOM, 2010) has as its mission “to stimulate growth of sustainable SMEs through enhanced business support service provision, access to finance and the creation of a conducive legal and institutional framework” and pays specific attention to youth.
  • The Labor Law (2009) allows children from 16 to work at limited scale.

In order to achieve change in the economic situation of OVC, CARE Rwanda targets both OVC above 12 directly, as well as any family that contains OVC. Especially when OVC are young and/or in school, the focus will is on their parents or care-takers rather than on the OVC themselves. CARE ensures that all activities that target OVC directly are age-appropriate.

  • The Village Savings and Loans (VSL) Model. The VSL Model involves the voluntary formation of groups of 20-30 self-selected participants who make regular savings contributions.
  • Access to financial services. Since OVC under 18 are not allowed to sign contracts or take loans, this approach focuses on parents and adult caretakers of OVC. Access to financial services (including saving, credit, insurance, etc.) is a critical enabling condition for pro-poor economic growth and improved livelihoods for poor people.
  • The Child Mentorship Model. It provides OVC with an adult mentor to help them in all kind of areas in their lives. The participating children choose adults they trust to serve as their volunteer mentor.
  • Advocacy. Through their work, CARE Rwanda and its partners collect a lot of evidence around the (economic) situation of OVC, which can be used for advocacy.

CARE expects this pathway to contribute to an improvement in OVC’s food security and nutrition in combination with the other pathways of Domain of Change 1. Therefore, impact is measured at the level of the Domain of Change (DoC) rather than at the level of this pathway. This pathway contributes to change on the following DoC-level indicator:

  • % of HH containing OVC that own durables
  • In CARE Rwanda’s previous COSMO project, OVC were assisted to set up a small-scale, agriculture-based income generating activity. This included providing them with small livestock (typically a goat) and assisting them setting up kitchen gardens. 1,029 OVC households in Musanze District benefited from this support.
  • Within COSMO and NIPS projects, 1,177 OVC have accessed vocational training or apprenticeships. 827 of them subsequently organized themselves into cooperatives, facilitated by the projects.
  • Kuraneza (Community-based ECD)
  • NISU (Nkundabana Initiative ScaleUp)
  • KGAS (Keeping Girls at School)
  • COSMO (Community Support and Mentoring for Orphans and Vulnerable Children)
  • NIPS (Nkundabana Initiative for Psychosocial Support)

CARE Rwanda is committed to learning to continuously improve the relevance and quality of its work. In relation to the economic strengthening of households containing OVC, it poses itself the following questions:

  1. How can the current, successful VSL model be adapted to work with OVC, taking into account their specific challenges and without compromising their going to school?
  2. How can policies allow OVC to access financial services and job opportunities, while at the same time protecting them from (exploitative) child labor?