Global Communities Rwanda signed on February 5, 2016, contract agreements for USAID’s PEPFAR funded Rwanda Improved Services for Vulnerable Populations (ISVP) program, locally known as USAID Twiyubake.

The contract agreements signed for a 15-months period renewable have been granted to Caritas Rwanda, African Evangelistic Enterprise (AEE) and Francois-Xavier Bagnoud Rwanda (FXB), which will be implementing the program through a cascading approach in 9 administrative districts: Rutsiro, Nyamasheke, Gicumbi, Kamonyi, Nyarugenge, Kicukiro, Gasabo, Musanze and Burera.

Prior to the signature of the contract agreements, Global Communities Rwanda signed sub-agreements with Young Women's Christian Association of Rwanda (YWCA), DUHAMIC ADRI and Eglise Presbytérienne au Rwanda (EPR) for its cascading program implementation in 3 administrative districts namely Kayonza, Huye and Karongi.

Global Communities Acting Country Director, John Ames, stated that this new contract agreements follow a successful partnership experienced with Caritas Rwanda and African Evangelistic Enterprise (AEE) with Global Communities previous USAID Higa Ubeho and current USAID Ejo Heza program for which the partners received funding under sub-agreements. He also welcomed Francois –Xavier Bagnaud Rwanda as a new partner on board. 

Deputy Chief of Party of USAID Twiyubake and Director of Economic Strengthening explained that the 3 civil society organizations have more experience in implementing PEPFAR and Orphans and Vulnerable Children programs compared to other local civil society organizations in country. Quoting B. C. Forbes “the bargain that yields mutual satisfaction is the only one that is apt to be repeated”, he encouraged the partners to continue to demonstrate their leadership through this entered contract agreements. Global Communities Rwanda is committed to support and build their capacity for future USAID funding competitions.

Dr. Father Anaclet Mwumvaneza, General Secretary of Caritas Rwanda, is grateful that Global Communities Rwanda appreciated their efforts and experience. He welcomes USAID Twiyubake’s guidance in the program implementation which will help them accomplish their mission and be more competitive in future to compete for USAID funding.

USAID Twiyubake hosted from January 26-29, 2016, a training of trainers on Adolescent Reproductive Health and Rights for program managers and field officers of its Rwanda Partner Organizations, namely Young Women's Christian Association of Rwanda (YWCA), DUHAMIC ADRI, and Eglise Presbytérienne au Rwanda (EPR).

According to the Rwanda HIV and AIDS National Strategic Plan 2013-2018, adolescents are among key populations at higher risk of acquiring HIV/AIDS.

In his introductory remarks, USAID Twiyubake Acting Chief of Party, Juste Kayihura, emphasized the importance of increasing knowledge about Adolescent Reproductive Health and Rights among youth, which is aligned with the World AIDS Day 2015 theme “It’s everyone’s responsibility to prevent and treat HIV among our children and adolescents”, a call to prevent new HIV infections through community mobilization.

Adolescents are facing a lot of physical and psychological changes when transitioning from childhood to adulthood and therefore it is important to provide them with accurate information on Adolescent Reproductive Health and Rights, which community based volunteers, trained by field officers, will be communicating in different community and school youth clubs.

In addition, campaigns and workshops are planned with different stakeholders such as local leaders, church leaders, health center staff, and adolescent representatives in existing and new youth clubs.

From January 19th- 22nd, 2016, USAID Twiyubake hosted a training of trainers on Early Childhood Development (ECD) attended by the Rwanda Partner Organizations Eglise Presbytérienne au Rwanda (EPR), DUHAMIC ADRI and Young Women Christian Association (YWCA).

In alignment with Rwanda’s ECD policy approved in 2011 and currently under review, USAID Twiyubake is supporting through its cascading approach the expansion of ECD centers, and building the capacity of community volunteers, parents or care givers and facilitators at ECD centers.

Interventions in the early years of life are crucial for a child’s development and growth and provide young children with better outcomes in education, physical growth and health, and productivity. Early Childhood Development starts from the conception until the children age of 6 years.  

The USAID Twiyubake ECD program component includes antenatal care, nutrition support, playgroups, child protection, pre-primary education, and related topics such as positive parenting, gender-based violence (GBV) prevention and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH).

The training closed with presentations of action plans created by the attended Rwanda Partner Organizations. Forthcoming ECD field activities will start with mapping the existing ECD centers, followed by identifying community volunteers, and training of volunteers and ECD committees.

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.

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