Japan and UNICEF sign agreement for US$ 7.5 million to rebuild Rwanda's earthquake affected western province

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Kigali, 30 January 2009: The Government of Japan and UNICEF signed an agreement today for US$ 7.5 million to rebuild the earthquake affected western province of Rwanda.

"This funding is a gesture of goodwill from the people of Japan to the people of Rwanda. I sincerely wish that the communities can recover rapidly from the impact of this natural disaster and that services such as education and health are quickly established in order to let children continue to learn and eventually accomplish their individual dreams," said HE Shigeo Iwatani, the Ambassador of Japan.

Rwanda was hit by a series of earthquakes in February 2008 that killed 37 people and injured 646. A joint government-UN assessment at the time found that 45 schools sustained damage, depriving 27,000 students of the chance to continue their learning.

This grant of US$ 7.5 million will be used to reconstruct 15 of the most heavily damaged schools and the three health centers in Rusizi and Nyamasheke districts, as well as to empower communities in the two districts to undertake their own development projects, including responding to the needs of affected women, children and youth and maintaining and managing newly-built facilities, latrines and water points.

"The United Nations is committed to supporting the government of Rwanda in rebuilding the communities in these districts affected by the earthquake," said UN Resident Coordinator to Rwanda, Aurélien Agbénonci. "This project will not just rebuild these schools and health centres - it will improve them to ensure that they are earthquake resistant and meet the quality standard for child-friendly environments that have become the norm in Rwanda today," he added.

Attending today's signing ceremony were high ranking officials from the Ministries of Health, Education and Internal Security, as well as the representatives from the two affected districts.

The United Nations in Rwanda improves the lives of all Rwandans by supporting the Government and its citizens to promote economic growth, fight poverty, enhance good governance, reduce the prevalence and impact of HIV, curb population growth, protect vulnerable groups, empower women, enable children to complete a basic education, preserve the environment and promote human rights, peace and security.


UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world's largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

For more information, please contact:

Misbah M. Sheikh, UNICEF, +250 08300731 Email:

Kensuke Ishii, Embassy of Japan in Kenya, +254-20-2898000 Email: