Following the launch of the USAID Twiyubake program in the district of Karongi, village chiefs of the sectors Ruganda and Murundi, and representatives in charge of social affairs of the villages in Murambi sector, attended on January 20th and 21st, 2016, a training on the assessment of Most Vulnerable Children (MVC) hosted by USAID Twiyubake, and its Rwanda Partner Organization Eglise Presbytérienne au Rwanda (EPR), which is implementing the program in the district.

In his opening remarks, the Executive Secretary of Ruganda, Cyriaque Niyonsaba, appreciated the United States’ initiative to improve the livelihoods of households with the most vulnerable children in 12 districts of Rwanda. He urged village officials to perceive the new program as entering into a partnership, by working together with the USAID Twiyubake program implementers in the roll out, dissemination of messages and creating awareness as behavior change is key in improving livelihood. “Village chiefs play a crucial role in the development of the country as all activities are starting in the village. For the USAID Twiyubake program, the household is the core of the program, lifting-up its surroundings”, explained Cyriaque Niyonsaba.

During the training, village representatives acknowledged receipt of the MVC lists of their villages registered at the National Commission for Children (NCC). They agreed to assess them within four working days, using the taught scoring system of the guidelines for selection and identification of Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC), which is taking into account parental situation, employment, education, malnutrition, and issues related to protection as child abuse, need of alternative care or children living on the street which will be prioritized and receive immediate support.

Children not mentioned on the list, but in need of support, will be added for NCC consideration and later support. The lists, signed by the village representatives and approved by the sectors’ Executive Secretaries, will return to USAID Twiyubake for final review prior to reaching out to the targeted families for enrollment.

Participants appreciated the new program. Speciose Mukabarisa, village chief of Kalirinda stated: “I am very supportive of this program. In our village they are many children who need assistance because they are malnourished. In addition, children drop school because their parents cannot afford to buy them school materials, for this reason they are looking at an early age for jobs. In my opinion, the children who need assistance is exceeding the one on the provided lists”.

Sengabo Athanase, Social Affairs Representative of Murambi village in Kabaya cell, is grateful for the new program as it is supporting children and their families. His only concern is how to make the village dwellers understand that not every child will be selected for support.

Following the signature of sub-agreements with three local Rwandan NGOs for USAID Twiyubake, Global Communities hosted a one-day orientation workshop on October 21, 2015, with representatives from Young Women’s Christian Association of Rwanda (YWCA), DUHAMIC ADRI and Eglise Presbytérienne au Rwanda (EPR).

In his opening remarks, Milton Funes, Global Communities Country Director, stated: “This workshop is an occasion to connect to colleagues and establish relationships. Global Communities is looking for performance and quality for the deliverables. We will build on a strong partnership and we will continue building your capacities”.

USAID Twiyubake is building on the former USAID Higa Ubeho program. The program will identify and assist 50,000 vulnerable households (around 250,000 children, youth and adults), reduce their economic vulnerability, empower parents to make investment to meet the unique needs of young children and adolescents, and provide health promotion and clinical linkage services to 12 administrative districts. The program efforts are concentrated in districts with high level of children vulnerability and HIV/AIDS prevalence.

The geographic coverage has been determined in consultation with the Government of Rwanda, following the Most Vulnerable Children (MVC) data base from the National Commission for Children (NCC), HIV prevalence and the existence of other USAID funded programs in districts. Once the children will be identified, the entire household will have access to the program as needed.

The program will be focusing on health promotion, clinical-community linkages and referrals, providing a comprehensive HIV/AIDS prevention, care and treatment package in line with individual needs. Global Communities will be using a cascading approach for the broad outreach to rural communities. With support of the program, vulnerable households could become resilient within a two-year period, although some households may need long term support.

The program will use geographic information technology like Global Positioning System (GPS) to collect rural household data and map out their geographical location. USAID Twiyubake is implemented by a consortium of four international NGOs, which are Partners in Health, Plan International, AVSI and Global Communities, bringing together their expertise in the different program areas. 

The youth of Rutsiro celebrated the launch of a new saving product, locally known as Iteganyirize Rubyiruko, developed by Global Communities Ejo Heza in partnership with COOPEC INKUNGA, at the International Saving Day held at Mucyebera Stadium, Gihanga Sector, on October 28, 2015. This year’s theme is “Saving, make it a culture”.

Among speeches from representatives of COOPEG INKUNGA, MINECOFIN, the Mayor of Rutsiro and Global Communities Ejo Heza, the youth of Rutsiro promoted the new product, a culture of saving and building income generating activities through dances, songs, poems and drama play.

Iteganyirize Rubyiruko is designed to connect youth in rural areas to formal financial services and to support them in business development in line with Rwanda’s second Financial Sector Development Program (FSDPII).

The initiative started in August 2015 and mobilized already 756 young people between 14-35 years in 30 different saving groups in Rutsiro and Karongi districts. COOPEC INKUNGA, a regional microfinance institution operating in the Western Province of Rwanda will expand the new product in all its regions of operation.

On October 16, 2015, Global Communities Rwanda signed sub-agreements with three local Rwandan NGOs for USAID’s PEPFAR funded Rwanda Improved Services for Vulnerable Populations (ISVP) program, locally known as “Twiyubake”.

The sub-agreements, renewable each year upon successful performance, have been granted to Young Women's Christian Association of Rwanda (YWCA), DUHAMIC ADRI and Eglise Presbytérienne au Rwanda (EPR).

The three local NGOs have already been implementers of the Global Communities former USAID PEPFAR funded Higa Ubeho program, which successfully improved livelihood of more than 75,000 households in 23 of the 30 districts in Rwanda.

USAID Twiyubake is building on the former USAID Higa Ubeho program. The program will identify and assist 50,000 vulnerable households (around 250,000 children, youth and adults), reduce their economic vulnerability, empower parents to make investment to meet the unique needs of young children and adolescents, and provide health promotion and clinical linkage services to 12 administrative districts.

The program will create linkages and referrals between health centers and community based services and work on HIV prevention, focusing on the communities, to achieve PEPFAR’s ambitious goal towards an AIDS free generation.

Global Communities will be using a cascading approach for the broad outreach to rural communities and on the long haul build the capacity and competitiveness of the local NGO.

Milton Funes, Global Communities Country Director, revealed to the signing partners: “While you will be implementing USAID Twiyubake Program activities, we will continue building your capacities. Following successful implementation of the program, the aim is that you become direct recipients of USAID funding towards the end of this project.

Global Communities will award contracts to three additional local NGOs to cover the remaining districts in which the program will be rolled out.

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