The Sustainable Development Goals in Rwanda
The Sustainable Development Goals are a global call to action to end poverty, protect the earth’s environment and climate, and ensure that people everywhere can enjoy peace and prosperity. These are the goals the UN is working on in Rwanda:
03 February 2021
Rwanda: 1000 hills and a big heart
Education, livelihoods, protection, energy and environment, and health show progress and promise. The one-year mark of the Global Refugee Forum (GRF) held in Geneva, allows us to reflect upon the nine pledges made by the Government of Rwanda to improve the lives of refugees hosted here. The GRF was the largest consultation in the history of UNHCR, with more than 3,000 registered participants, four Heads of State, 90 officials at the ministerial level, 70 refugees, 300 international organizations, NGOs, academic institutions and 130 private sector representatives. In all, 770 pledges and USD 5.5 billion USD in commitments over the next four years, were made in support of refugees and their hosts. Rwanda had made eight commitments at the High-Level Segment on Statelessness in October 2019; and together, this makes 17 pledges, the highest in the East, Horn of Africa, and Great Lakes region. There are approximately 146,000 refugees mostly from Congo and Burundi, residents in Rwanda, and some 260 evacuees from Libya at the Emergency Transit Centre (ETM) in Gashora. The ETM has often been described as an “African solution to an African problem” and it is with the same generosity of spirit that the Government of Rwanda made impressive commitments through the pledges that focus on education, livelihoods, protection, environment, energy and health. The pledges build upon earlier commitments made at the Leaders’ Summit in 2016: (i) graduating camp-based refugees out of assistance programs and increasing formal access to work opportunities as part of a joint livelihoods strategy; (ii) ensuring that 100% of refugees are in possession of valid refugee identity cards issued by the Government (NIDA); (iii) integrating 100% of refugee students in secondary school and 50% in primary schools into national education systems; and (iv) ensuring that 100% of urban refugees will have the opportunity to buy into national health insurance systems. Energy and Environment is a new pledging area but is a top priority for the Government which is committed to clean energy and a green future. The banning of plastic countrywide and the banning of firewood for fuel are important steps towards this goal. Working together with the Ministry of Environment, visits were made to all six refugee camps, to assess environmental damage and the impact of hosting refugees on local host communities. Impressive progress on the 2016 commitments – more than 90% of refugee students are integrated into national education systems; 68% of urban refugees were enrolled in the Community Based Health Initiative (CBHI)— form the foundation for the pledges made at the Global Refugee Forum (GRF). Despite the challenges of COVID-19 –an unprecedented pandemic, all nine pledges have on-going activities. Donors such as the World Bank, IKEA Foundation, the EU, and the Danish Government are supporting UNHCR, the Government of Rwanda and its partners on initiatives such as classroom construction, linked to the pledge on education; agricultural projects linked to the livelihoods pledge, and on a feasibility study on ravine rehabilitation in the camps for environment preservation. In addition, broad support for the GRF pledges is ongoing with the World Bank as part of its funding to the country. Rwanda is determined to fulfill its pledges, assisted by UNHCR, donors, and other stakeholders. One of the key objectives of the GRF was to expand funding sources, to support countries like Rwanda who are making an inclusive and laudable effort to help refugees access national services. In keeping with the pledge to integrate refugees in the national hepatitis programme in Rwanda, mass screenings for Hepatitis C & B took place in Mahama camp covering nearly 80% of refugees there For the remaining refugees in all camps, hepatitis screening and treatment are being progressively integrated into regular health activities. The pledge on protection capacity focuses on early birth registration and marriage registration in addition to documentation of refugees; all activities are on-going. The challenging area of livelihoods has also seen good progress. As part of the Government’s pledge on livelihoods to promote joint agriculture projects between refugees and host community households, nearly 100 hectares of land has been identified for cultivation in the two districts of Nyamagabe and Gatsibo. Considering the mountainous terrain of Rwanda – known as the Land of a 1000 Hills— it shows the resolve of the government to do its best to fulfill pledges made. The concept note for the project was inspired by the Misizi marshland project that provides employment to 1,127 local community farmers and 300 refugee households. The proposal for the development of two new marshlands was submitted to the Government of Denmark, who have agreed to fund the 3-year project (Sept 2020—Aug 2023) for USD 1.6m We hope this will inspire more donors, the private sector, and other stakeholders to support our pledges. While energy and environment present a huge challenge, both in terms of funding and the scale of projects, small steps have been made. Tree planting in refugee camps in partnership with nursery cooperatives, construction of retaining walls, and water drainage facilities is ongoing. Nearly half of all refugee households have access to clean cooking fuel (LPGs and brickets). A Joint Concept Note/Road Map on the Implementation of GRF Pledges in Rwanda remains our blueprint. We are committed to fulfilling the pledges made at the GRF and beyond—for this, we appeal to donors and all stakeholders for their generous support and acknowledge our deep gratitude to many who are already helping to build a better tomorrow, for Rwandans and refugees.
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03 February 2021
UN Rwanda and partners launched a joint Disability Inclusion Initiative
On 30th November 2020, the One UN Rwanda, the UNDP, the National Council of Persons with Disabilities (NCP), and other partners, in partnership with HVP Gatagara launched a disability inclusion initiative to promote innovative learning for children with disabilities. The initiative aims at empowering persons with disabilities in Rwanda for them to achieve their full potential. The launch of this initiative took place at HVP Gatagara which is the main rehabilitation Center in the Country. It is part of the celebration of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities celebrated every December. The initiative echoes this year’s theme “Building back better: toward a disability-inclusive, accessible and sustainable post-COVID-19 world.” Introduction of smart boards and internet in HVP Gatagara schools On the occasion, UNDP partnered with Liquid Telecom to provide 10 smart boards to HVP Gatagara schools as well as free internet as a way of scaling up the smart classroom* promoted by the Government of Rwanda. The Director of HVP Gatagara, Frere Kizito Misago said that smart boards and internet connectivity are of great importance for both the children with disabilities and their teachers. “As technology advances, people with disabilities should not be excluded. We are appreciative of this support because the internet will help children and teachers to do research on various subjects and stay connected,” said Kizito adding that “When teachers use a chalk-board, children, especially those with mental health problems are distracted; the smart boards are the right tools do tackle this issue for students will be more attentive and curious to follow their teacher.” Frere Kizito commended the continued support of UN agencies, especially UNDP to promote disability inclusion and ensure that rights of persons with disability are respected and protected. Speaking at the occasion, Mr. Maxwell Gomera, the UNDP Resident Representative in Rwanda echoed Frere Kizito’s statement on how these innovative tools are going to positively impact on education of children with disabilities. “Being connected can make a difference in the lives of Rwandans living with disabilities in the way they access broadband, they access the education materials. So, I am pleased that together with Liquid Telecom, we are committing to provide access to the benefits of the internet to children at HVP Gatagara,"said Mr. Gomera. With the support of the Rwanda Education Board, the smart boards will enable easier access to national curricula online modules hence ensuring equitable access to education for all particularly students with disabilities. Children with disabilities require not only adapted learning tools but also ensuring that these children basic needs are duly catered for. Therefore, through the disability inclusion initiative, UNFPA Rwanda handed over 3000 sanitary pads to HVP Gatagara to ensure adequate menstrual hygiene and improved access to sanitation for young girls with disabilities. Overall, the disability inclusion initiative calls on different stakeholders mainly the public sector, the private sector, civil society organizations, development partners and the UN in Rwanda to contribute towards decent living conditions for persons with disabilities. It is also calling for innovative partnerships bringing together the comparative advantage of each actor to find sustainable solutions for the empowerment of persons with disabilities. The UN Resident Coordinator Dr. Fode Ndiaye commended the Government of Rwanda and National Council for People with Disabilities for remarkable efforts in promoting inclusion. He reiterated UN’s support to ensure that disability inclusion is promoted trough all development sectors, national policies and strategies. “I strongly believe that this could build better citizen, making sure people have access to equal opportunities and contribute better to social and economic development of their country. We will continue to work with the government and support the required frameworks to ensure that the rights of people with disabilities are respected and promoted,” said the UN Resident Coordinator, Mr. Fode Ndiaye. Globally, persons with disabilities constitute around 15% of the population which should not be left behind to achieve the Agenda 2030 for sustainable development. * A smart classroom is a technology-enhanced classroom that foster opportunities for teaching and learning by integrating learning technology, such as computers and interactive screens, specialized software, audience response technology, assistive listening devices, networking, and audio-visual capabilities. In a smart classroom, a black/green chalk-board is replaced by an interactive white screen on which teachers and students write using a specific pen or a finger.
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03 February 2021
FAO delivers Rulindo’s first solar-powered irrigation system
Some farmers do need adequate water for irrigation. However, vegetable growers in Yanze catchment, Ngoma sector in Rulindo district face the challenge of access to water from Yanze River whose water is also shared by Rwanda’s capital Kigali for domestic use. “The water we use for our crops we shared it with Kigali City. Water and Sanitation Corporation (WASAC) gives us water sometimes at night or very early in the morning. We have to wake up at night to irrigate. At times the water is not even enough for the crops,” Jean Pierre Mbarushimana, a vegetable farmer. he Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is currently implementing in the district the project “Knowing water better: towards a fairer and more sustainable access to natural resources - KnoWat” with the financial support from the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture. The project is working with the local government of the Rulindo district and communities to address water allocation and productive water uses in the Yanze basin which provides part of the water supply of Kigali city. Solar-powered irrigation and water management In order to support efforts in place as regards to water management, FAO through the KnoWat project supported the district with solar-powered irrigation systems. Three ENOS/Sunlight solar pumps and accessories have been delivered to farmers grouped under the Yanze Horticulture Production Cooperative (YAHOPROC) of vegetable growers in the Yanze catchment. The cooperative was formed in 2015, with 199 members – 131 women and 68 men – at present. They sell most of their produce to Kigali city buyers. This is the first time solar-powered irrigation system has been introduced in Rulindo district. Apart from increasing productivity of the crops, the technology will reduce the heavy work load related to irrigation for farmers especially women. “We’re excited to use the sunlight solar pumps. The natural solar energy used is easy to generate from the sun. Secondly, unlike other irrigation equipment like motorized pumps, farmers don’t have to incur expenses to buy fuel to run the solar irrigation system,” said Olive Uwizeyimana, a vegetable farmer. “We’ve been using treadle pumps that require at least three people to peddle and irrigate. This has been a challenge for women to peddle the treadles, as it requires a lot of energy. Sometimes you have to wait for a man to help you peddle to be able to irrigate. The solar-powered irrigation is easy to use, you just turn it on and start irrigating. I can even irrigate my crops without the help of the man,” said Marie Chantal Akingeneye. Solar-powered irrigation is reliable, affordable and climate-friendly as the energy is produced from the renewable source. The system also caters for water productivity. The Vice Mayor of Rulindo district, Prosper Mulindwa, said the introduced solar-powered irrigation system is a model for the district with respect to small scale irrigation. He urged the farmers to ensure maintenance of the equipment for sustainability, adding that the farmers will learn new skills in the use and management of this technology. The farmers were given basic training on using this technology. The KnoWat project has contributed to the creation of the Yanze catchment Water Users committee and trained the members on proper water management. The project also constructed dams to store the water for irrigation. The solar-powered irrigation system handed over to the farmers, each has a capacity (total dynamic head) of 40 meters, the discharge of 40 liters per minute, and the panel can collect up to 500 watts per day. The system can irrigate in a distance of more than 4 kilometers from the dam.
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22 July 2020
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