ACT Appeal Rwanda - Relief & Rehabilitation - AFRW-22

Originally published


Appeal Target: 1,035,746
Balance Requested from ACT Network: US$ 859,533

Geneva, 21 August 2002

Dear Colleagues,

The return to Rwanda in 1996 of over 600,000 refugees from the DRC and over 340,000 from Tanzania created new problems for the "old case load" returnees who had occupied the homes of people who fled the country after the 1994 genocide. The government reforms on the return of the refugees from the DRC and Tanzania were that the returnees could regain control of their properties (homes) meaning that those occupying homes of returnees had to surrender the homes to the owners. This rendered the "old caseload" of about 3,500 people homeless. In desperation, the newly displaced group settled temporarily in Gishwati forest where they encountered many problems including Tsetse flies, mosquitoes, lack of shelter, food, water, and health services. The government later relocated the IDPs to Kirazi camp in Gasiza district. The impoverished and hard conditions in the camp were difficult for the people comprising mainly women and children.

Furthermore, the high insecurity since 1997 in the north west part of Rwanda including Gisenyi, Ruhengeri, and Kibuye as a result of rebel infiltration from the DRC had been responsible for the displacement of over 191,844 families according to government sources. The attacks caused many civilians to flee and abandon their fields and homes. Many of the IDPs took shelter in schools which were subsequently vandalised and rendered unusable. During this period of insecurity the IDPs living in the north west received hardly any assistance, except for the little the churches and ACT members were able to provide such as basic food items and plastic sheeting. Now that the situation has improved, the government of Rwanda and church leaders have requested members of ACT working in Rwanda to assist the people with the rehabilitation of water supplies, schools, housing, health, sanitation, education, and training the communities and local church organisations in emergency preparedness and response. During the month of August 2002, the ACT members carried out the first assessment focussing on rehabilitation needs of the area. A total of 10 communities with a population of over 90,000 were identified for assistance in the north west part of the country.

The following ACT members propose to respond in the various sectors; Christian Aid (CA) - rehabilitation of schools; Protestant Council of Rwanda (CPR) - capacity building of local churches to respond to emergencies; Lutheran World Federation / Department of World Service (LWF/DWS) - shelter, transport and logistics support to other ACT members, education and capacity building of the local community structures and local churches; Norwegian Church Aid (NCA) - water and sanitation, and capacity building of the communities to manage their own water resources; Rwanda Women’s Network (RWN) - assistance to women afflicted by the HIV/AIDS pandemic, and health training.

Project Completion Date:

CAID - 28 February 2003
CPR - 28 February, 2003
LWF/DWS - 31 May 2003
NCA - 30 December 2002
RWN - 28 February, 2003

Summary of Appeal Targets, Pledges/Contributions Received and Balance Requested

Total Target US$
Appeal Targets
Less: Pledges/Contr. Recd
Balance Requested from ACT Network

Please kindly send your contributions to the following ACT bank account:

Account Number - 240-432629.60A (USD)
Account Name: ACT - Action by Churches Together
PO Box 2600
1211 Geneva 2

Please also inform the Finance Officer Jessie Kgoroeadira (direct tel. +4122/791.60.38, e-mail address of all pledges/contributions and transfers, including funds sent direct to the implementers, now that the Pledge Form is no longer attached to the Appeal.

We would appreciate being informed of any intent to submit applications for EU, USAID and/or other back donor funding and the subsequent results. We thank you in advance for your kind cooperation.

ACT Web Site address:

Ms. Geneviève Jacques
WCC/Cluster on Relations
Thor-Arne Prois
Director, ACT
Robert Granke
LWF/World Service

ACT is a worldwide network of churches and related agencies meeting human need through coordinated emergency response.

The ACT Coordinating Office is based with the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) in Switzerland.


  • Christian Aid - UK
  • Council of Protestant Churches
  • Lutheran World Federation/World Service
  • Norwegian Church Aid
  • Rwanda Women’s Net


Christian Aid (CA) started operating in Rwanda in 1972. Since 1994 it has carried out emergency activities such as rehabilitation of houses as well as of infrastructures such as schools and distribution of food and non-food items.

This application is proposing a project which will be implemented by a long-standing partner of Christian Aid in Rwanda- EER Shyira. EER Shyira is one of the 9 dioceses of the Anglican Church of Rwanda (Eglise Episcopal au Rwanda - EER). It is a member of the province of the Episcopal Church of Rwanda (PEER) and the National Council of Protestant churches of Rwanda (CPR). Christian Aid has worked directly with the Diocese of Shyira, on two emergence distribution projects (1998/9) in the commune Cyeru in Ruhengeri prefecture, which were highly successful. The Diocese of Shyira offices are based in Ruhengeri town but cover the Prefectures of Ruhengeri, Gisenyi and Kibuye. EER Shyira has already completed (in 2001) a rehabilitation project for four primary schools with the support of Christian Aid.

The Protestant Council of Rwanda (CPR) is the National Council of Protestant Churches established in 1963 and now comprises 12 churches and 2 Christian Associations. The role of CPR is to promote the unity of the churches and to facilitate them in becoming more effective in serving their members and the people of Rwanda. CPR has implemented emergency activities since 1972 including distribution, water supply, shelter construction and rehabilitation.

The following CPR member churches are working in the north-western provinces of Gisenyi, Ruhengeri and Kibuye:

  • The Presbyterian Church in Rwanda (EPR): With its Head Office in Kigali, EPR church is present in Gisenyi, Ruhengeri, and Kibuye.

  • EER/ Shyira: The Episcopal Church is represented in the Northwest by the EER, Diocese of Shyira.

  • The Evangelical Church of Friends (EEAR)

  • The Association of Pentecostal Churches in Rwanda (ADEPR)

  • The Association of Baptist Churches in Rwanda (AEBR)

  • The Seventh Day Adventist Church (EASJR)

  • The Nazarene Church in Rwanda (ENARWA)

  • Free Methodist Church in Rwanda (EMLR)

  • Union of Baptist Churches in Rwanda (UEBR)

Lutheran World Federation/World Service (LWF/WS) has been operational in Rwanda since 1994 and has implemented extensive emergency programmes on behalf of ACT including shelter, water, schools, emergency preparedness and distribution. LWF has also played a key role in the co-ordination of ACT activities in Rwanda. In this appeal, LWF will implement its components through Eglise Episcopal Rwanda (EER) and two other church partners.

ERR Shyira Diocese was established in 1984 in the Northwest section of Rwanda and operates in the provinces of Gisenyi, Ruhengeri, and Kibuye. It currently operates numerous educational facilities plus one hospital and one health centre. EER has experience in implementing projects in the areas of distribution, water, health, shelter, and the rehabilitation and construction of schools.

Norwegian Church Aid (NCA) re-started its activities in Rwanda in 1995 through CPR and RWARRI first and opened its Office in Kigali in 1998. As far as emergency programs are concerned NCA is mainly involved in water supply, shelter, rehabilitation of health centres and primary schools and distribution of food and none food items.

Implementing partner: Association Rwandaise pour l’Aménagement et la Sauvegarde des infrastructures (ARASI). This local Association is based in Ruhengeri and it is specialised in water supplies since 1998.

Rwanda Womens Network (RWN) is an offspring of Church World Service (CWS), an international NGO that started to work in Rwanda after the 1994 genocide. The Church World Service program started with the intention of transforming the organisation into a local organisation after two years, thus the birth of RWN. RWN has been involved in shelter construction and rehabilitation plus emergency preparedness.


Background of Emergency:

Over two million Rwandans fled the country in response to the genocidal war that raged from April to July in 1994. Prior to this disaster, large numbers of Rwandans had also fled their homeland in 1956, lived in exile in neighbouring countries, and were referred to by UNHCR as "old case load" refugees. After the 1994 war, many "old case load" refugees returned to Rwanda. Many families that had been living in exile in the DRC resettled in the Northwest region in areas that were formerly inhabited by those who fled to the DRC during and after the 1994 war.

In 1996, the instability in Zaire instigated the return of approximately 600,000 refugees to Rwanda with a second influx of approximately 340,000 returning from Tanzania later in the year. During the 1996 government reforms on repatriation of refugees, it was decided that refugees repatriated would regain control over their property. This resulted in "old case load" returnees surrendering the properties they had occupied and thus, became homeless. In desperation, the group settled temporarily in Gishwati forest where they encountered problems including Tsetse flies, coldness, and lack of food, shelter and medical services. As this settlement in the forest was causing deforestation and land degradation, the government later decided that they should be relocated and Kiraza Camp was established.

Kiraza Camp is located in Gasiza District in a mountainous area near a government owned tea estate. The camp has approximately 3,500 inhabitants - many of the families are headed by children or women. Nearly all of the families are still living in this harsh climate in improvised shelters made of plastic sheeting reinforced with mud and bits of wood.

The insecurity caused massive displacement of the population (in October 1998 the IDP numbers, stood at 400,000 people in Ruhengeri prefecture alone). Many of the IDPs occupied schools causing damage to the buildings and furniture. School desks, windows, and doors were used for firewood for cooking. Maintenance work was neglected leading to deterioration of the structures. In the fighting, many school buildings were destroyed.

Current situation

Since 1997, infiltration from the DRC into the Northwest part of Rwanda including the provinces of Gisenyi, Ruhengeri, and Kibuye has been experienced. The attacks caused many civilians to flee and abandon their fields and homes. Many of these homes have now been destroyed together with surrounding schools, health centres, and churches.

During this period of insecurity in Northwest Rwanda, the area was understandably neglected with only the occasional provision of basic support of food, plastic sheeting and kitchen sets implemented by different ACT partners and local churches. It simply was not possible to develop long-tem interventions to assist in sustainable development for the communities.

Currently, thousands of people are still living in camps or camps-like settlement - many of them since 1994. The latest survey from September 2001, carried out by the Government of Rwanda in co-operation with the donor community and the UN, showed that 191,844 families are still in Rwanda, living in makeshift shelters, out of these 113,593 families are in the 3 provinces of the Northwest.

Although ACT partners together with local churches were involved over the past years in some rehabilitation work on schools and water supplies, only now that the security situation has improved can work carried out without major interruptions.

The government of Rwanda and church leaders from the Northwest have requested members of the ACT Network to use this opportunity to work with them and assist with the rehabilitation of water supplies, schools, housing, health, sanitation, education, and training in emergency preparedness and response.

The ACT partners and local church partners in the North have carried out the first assessments in August that focussed on the rehabilitation needs of this neglected area. Kiraza Camp and other sites were visited. A total of 10 communities with a total population of over 90,000 have been identified in the Northwest portion of Rwanda.

Together with church partners, it is hoped to assist up to 658 families in housing, and to construct or rehabilitate schools, and water systems for up to 10 communities. Health and sanitation education through mobilization and training is also planned. Training in emergency response in order to build the capacity of local partners will also be an additional point of focus.

After the erruption of Mount Nyiragongo Vulcano on 17 January and the continuing tremors in Goma and the neighbouring areas including Gisenyi, different CPR member churches reported damages to schools and houses in the north west of Rwanda. The Rwanda ACT partners are currently reviewing these damages and will try to include some of the damaged schools into this appeal.

Impact on Human Lives and Description of Damage

The genocide of 1994 followed by the war between infiltrators from DRC and government forces in the Northwest section of Rwanda from 1996 up to 1999 has left a trail of destruction leaving thousands homeless without the most basic of infrastructure to provide them with support. Presently, there are still many sites in the Northwest where vulnerable returnees live under temporary shelter with no schools or health clinics.

Location of proposed response

The Northwest area of Rwanda has been neglected due to lack of security since1997 and therefore this region is in great need of rehabilitation. ACT members, together with their implementing partners, will focus on the north west area including the provinces of Gisenyi, Ruhengeri, and Kibuye in the Rwanda Appeal 2002.

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