Pathway 5 - Access to markets

Pathway 5 - Access to markets

This pathway contributes to change by:

Facilitating OVC and households containing OVC to set up enterprises and access markets, as such supporting the role of OVC as market actors in their own right, and promoting responsible private sector engagement.

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


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.
  • The Kigali Institute of Technology (KIST), which will be an important partner in terms of research on appropriate technologies, development of training modules, providing technical support, etc.

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.

This pathway builds on pathway number 4, which provides access to savings and credit as well as basic opportunities to invest this money in income generating activities and small businesses. CARE Rwanda aims however at further strengthening the economic situation of households containing OVC through increased market access. Again, due attention is given to make sure that any activities targeting OVC directly are appropriate to their age. For those OVC how are young and/or in school, our approach focuses on targeting their parents or adult care-takers.

  • Vocational Training. Vocational training is a key road towards (self-) employment for youth. CARE provides OVC of 12 years and older with relevant vocational training and start-up kits that enable them to access employment opportunities or start their own small business.
  • Business in a box. Through ‘business in a box’, OVC and their caregivers are assisted in setting up a small business. The ‘box’ provides the new entrepreneurs with the material that they require to start up, such as an initial stock of required materials, marketing materials and guidance on marketing and pricing strategies.
  • Links to private sector. Based on the business opportunities that are identified under the ‘business in a box’ approach, CARE Rwanda identifies private sector partners and seek mutual beneficial ways for cooperation between them and our impact group.

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

CARE Rwanda’s main experience on economic empowerment has been within the Vulnerable Women program. Economic empowerment of OVC and the households containing OVC is a relatively new area. Nevertheless, some achievements have been realized, including the following:

  • In CARE Rwanda’s previous COSMO project, OVC were assisted to set up a small-scale, agriculture-based income generating activity.
  • Within COSMO and NIPS projects, 1,177 OVC have accessed vocational training or apprenticeships.
  • 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 this pathway, it poses itself the following questions:

  1. To what extent does spreading new or improved technologies in rural areas and facilitating OVC’s access to these technologies actually allow them to use these to improve their livelihoods?
  2. How can the ‘business-in-a-box’ approach and the establishment of links with private sector be applied in a way that is favorable to OVC?
  3. How can policies allow OVC to access financial services and job opportunities, while at the same time protecting them from (exploitative) child labor?