Press Release

Policy Forum on Shock-Responsive Social Protection in Rwanda to Strengthen Response to Climate-Related Shocks

09 December 2021

Kigali, 9 December 2021 – Today the Government of Rwanda, through the Ministry of Local Government (MINALOC) in partnership with United Nations in Rwanda through the World Food Programme (WFP), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) are holding a policy forum on shock-responsive social protection, in close collaboration with other Ministries and partners.  

This is the first forum in Rwanda bringing together the sectors of social protection, disaster management and other relevant sectors to discuss opportunities for more climate-sensitive and shock-responsive social protection in Rwanda. This comes at a time when around the world, social protection has been identified as crucial in mitigating disasters and shocks such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rwanda is affected by frequent and unpredictable climate hazards such as heavy rains and long dry spells.  These lead to localized shocks such as flooding, landslides and drought. During 2015–17 alone, Rwanda’s Ministry of Emergency Management (MINEMA) recorded 1,800 localized small-scale disasters.  These small but frequent disasters undermine the resilience of communities, destroy livelihoods and jeopardize household food and nutrition security.  As climate change is predicted to accelerate over the coming decades, shocks are also expected to affect more people. 

Rwanda’s social protection system has expanded significantly in the last two decades with the institution of policy frameworks and programmes to cushion households against poverty and improve their wellbeing. However, enhancing the linkages between the national social protection and disaster management systems has become a priority for the Government of Rwanda to help mitigate the consequences of shocks from climate change and other unexpected events, such as COVID-19. 

Today’s forum will discuss entry points for enhancing the Government’s Vision Umurenge Programme and other social protection programmes’ contribution to resilience and opportunities to enhance emergency preparedness, response, and recovery actions.  The forum also aims to identify possible mechanisms to finance shock-responsive social protection.

“The Government has put in place institutions, programmes and policies to mitigate, prevent, and quickly respond to shocks.  These include the Vision Umurenge Programme (VUP) to protect poor households against livelihood shocks, as well as community-based health insurance, Ejo HEZA, and agriculture insurance,” said Hon. Ingabire Assumpta, Minister of State in charge of Social Affairs, MINALOC.  “We will continue to strengthen mechanisms to prevent, detect, and respond to disasters and shocks, to build institutional capacity for poverty and vulnerability analysis and targeting, and strengthen the capacity of local governments to design and implement disaster risk reduction interventions,” Hon. Ingabire Assumpta added.

The forum builds on an assessment conducted by WFP in 2020, on behalf of Rwanda’s Social Protection Sector Working Group, which focused on opportunities for more climate-sensitive and shock-responsive social protection to minimize the effects shocks have on poverty in Rwanda.

“Social protection plays a central role in managing climate risks – this can include providing support to households during and after climatic shocks as well as building long-term community resilience through better assets and skills to adapt to climate change,” said Edith Heines, WFP Representative and Country Director.  “There is not one blueprint for what shock-responsive social protection means, so it is essential to have this dialogue and agree on priority approaches and investments for the unique Rwandan context. What is certain is that one sector alone cannot deal with the risks and costs posed by disasters,” Edith Heines further added.

The forum is organized in the context of the UN Joint Programme on Social Protection launched in 2020 to contribute to the Government’s current needs and vision for the social protection sector. The joint programme seeks to contribute to achieving the ambitious SDG targets of eliminating poverty and hunger, significantly reducing inequalities while working in a climate-smart manner.



For media inquiries, please contact:

Emily Fredenberg, WFP Rwanda



Resident Coordinator's Office (RCO):

Maureen Twahirwa, 


Policy Forum on Shock-Responsive Social Protection in Rwanda to Strengthen Response to Climate-Related Shocks

Maureen Twahirwa

Maureen Twahirwa

Communication and Advocacy Officer

UN entities involved in this initiative

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
United Nations Children’s Fund
World Food Programme