During the 1990s Rwanda experienced a civil
war, which culminated in the genocide of 1994. Since then, the country
has been on a slow road to recovery. Millions of dollars have been channelled
by the international communities - for reconstruction, and access to water,
food and health programmes. However, thousands still live in makeshift
homes, without enough water or food.
Rape was one of the weapons used in the war, and consequently many survivors or orphans of the genocide are now living with HIV/AIDS. Many women, some with AIDS, have become head of their families, and are forced to turn to commercial sex work to earn an income. This, along with the continuous movement of displaced people, contributes further to the spread of the disease.
By the end of 2002 nearly all of the 25,000 refugees who fled to Tanzania during and after the genocide had returned to Rwanda voluntarily. Those suspected of taking part in the genocide will join the thousands currently being tried by Rwanda's traditional justice system Gacaca, the legal process aimed at establishing the truth through public confessions and accusations.
Christian Aid has worked with local partner organisations in Rwanda since the mid-1960s. Work focuses on agricultural rehabilitation, providing low-interest loans for small businesses; health education (focusing on HIV/ AIDS); emergency relief, and promoting peace and human rights.
The Anglican Church in the dioceses of Byumba and Kigeme, WIHOGORA (an association of widows and others made vulnerable by the genocide) and the Baptist Church in Rwanda are all involved in a large food project which has achieved encouraging signs of increased food production.
Partners CLADHO and ARDHO have been actively encouraging ordinary people to participate in the grassroots court system - Gacaca.
AVEGA works with widows of the genocide. Christian Aid supports its counselling training and rehabilitation of houses project.