Community Support and Mentoring for OVC Project

Community Support and Mentoring for OVC Project

Community Guidance for Youth

One approach to mitigate the risks to orphans, vulnerable children, and youth (OVCY) is the use of mentors. Mentoring programs have been used successfully in the United States to enhance school attendance and achievement, diminsh risk-taking behaviors, and improve psychosocial wellbeing among at-risk youth (Sipe, 2002). Adult mentors have been used in Rwanda among youth-headed households to effectively promote psycho-social well-being. 

CARE Rwanda initiated the Nkundabana Initiative for Psycho-social Support (NIPS) project, in 2003, as a community-based approach to mobilize adult volunteers or mentors to provide guidance and care for children living in child-headed households or those without sufficient adult guidance (e.g., households with chronically ill caregivers etc). NIPS was implemented in three districts in the southern province of Rwanda (Kamonyi, Muhanga, and Ruhango districts). Based on feedback from program stakeholders, it was recommended that the program should be expanded to include vulnerable children more broadly, including single-orphans, youth living in impoverished families, and youth in households affected by HIV/AIDS. Thus, in late 2006, this model was extended to vulnerable children in Musanze district in the northern province under the Community Support and Mentoring for Orphans and Vulnerable Children (COSMO) project, while efforts to strengthen the Nkundabana model continued in the southern province.


In accordance with the seven priorities of Rwanda's National Plan of Action for Orphans and Other Vulnerable Children (2007), COSMO seeks to contribute to the fulfillment of child rights with particular emphasis on two national strategic objectives:

  • To provide protection, care and support to OVCs by establishing and strengthening family and community-based support structures.
  • To ensure access to essential services for OVCs including shelter, education, health and nutrition, social protection, water and sanitation and birth registration including development linkages and referral across services. 


For further information, please see the attached document. To learn more about the models used for this project, please see the Models page.

Project Achievements


COSMO's achievements were mentioned in a research review done on the project during its progress.

Nkundabana perceptions of program implementation, outcomes, and their own issues related to vulnerability were captured using a survey among Nkundabana mentors in Musanze district in February 2010. Potential respondents were selected from program files containing the names of all 242 active Nkundabana in Musanze district. From these files, 100 Nkundabana were randomly selected.


Project downloads

Project Info

  • Start Date: 2006 January
  • Donor: UNAIDS
  • Program: Orphans and Vulnerable Children Program
  • District: Kamonyi, Muhanga, Musanze , Ruhango
  • Number of beneficiaries: 3000
  • Partners: ARCT- Ruhuka and Haguruka


Models used:

  • Nkundabana Model