Rwanda appeal 2002-2003 (01.11/2002)

Originally published


2002 CHF
20031 CHF
1, Disaster Preparedness
2. Health and Care
3. Humanitarian Values
4. Organizational Development


The history of Rwanda is characterized by inequality, poverty and turbulence and continues to reflect the history of the Great Lakes Region as a whole. The legacy of the 1994 genocide exerts a major influence on regional and national events. Following the establishment of the current government the main challenges have been to reintegrate old and new returnees, promote reconciliation and establish stability. Immense problems continue to exist in Rwanda but it is indicative that, although there have been recent incursions by interahamwe opposition, most of the country continues to enjoy internal peace and stability despite turbulence elsewhere in the region.

Rwanda is a poor country (70% of families below the income poverty line [World Bank 1998] and it is 164th out of 174 on the UN's Human Development Scale) and in terms of economics is characterized by:

  • A fragile economy based on a mainly subsistence agrarian rural economy vulnerable to negative environmental impact resulting from pressure on the land.
  • Regular food deficits in some provinces (Gikongoro, Umutara, Kigali Rural).
  • Low level of industrialization, low wages and insecure, daily-paid labour.
  • a dependence on imports and having to contend with being landlocked.
  • Low per capita income.
  • Low level of private sector investment.
  • High government debt.

Socially, Rwanda is characterized by:
  • Large numbers of returnees from a variety of social backgrounds.
  • High population density and resultant pressures on housing and land.
  • Continued potential for "ethnic" tensions.
  • Lack of basic services.
  • Large numbers of orphans (circa. 400,000), including child-headed families. Under-15s comprise 49 percent of the population.
  • Women outnumber men (5:4); there is a large number of single parent headed families (estimated at 440,000) of which some 77 percent are headed by women
  • 34 percent of women are widowed heads of households.
  • A large number of handicapped/mutilated persons, estimated at 300,000.
  • 130,000 prisoners.

Despite improved security within Rwanda, the wider regional problems threaten potential insecurity and turbulence. In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) the Lusaka peace agreements have so far failed to bring an end to conflict and the continued presence of interahamwe and Rwandan Armed Forces (FAR) groups in DRC threaten Rwanda's internal security and western border. In Burundi, despite the Arusha initiatives, ongoing insecurity persists on Rwanda's south western borders, while the threat of turbulence in Burundi has prompted concern of displacement of people into Rwanda.

National society priorities

All activities are implemented by the Rwandan Red Cross Society (RRCS) and programme focus is consistent with the Federation's main policy document Strategy 2010, as well as the African Red Cross Red Crescent Health Initiative 20101 (ARCHI 2010) and the Ougadougou Declaration of African National Societies charting continental partnership to address the major challenges facing Africans, such as HIV/AIDS. During 2001 the RRCS has been further encouraged by its partners to take greater responsibility for its own organizational development and local fundraising, a trend which will continue through 2002 and 2003. A successful outcome would contribute to a more confident and independent National Society able to focus its programmes on meeting the needs of the most vulnerable in Rwanda. It will also contribute towards a more stable and sustainable framework within which to partner assistance through the Federation, ICRC and bilateral participating National Societies (PNS).

Priority Programmes for Federation assistance

The Federation has continued to refine its presence over recent months and there has been greater regional involvement during 2001. The delegation now reports to the regional delegation Nairobi (RDN), and is scheduled to be fully integrated into the RRCS by the end of 2001, supporting the RRCS at senior management level but with the ability to call upon regional technical delegates as required.

Programmes in 2002/2003 are designed to build on the strong basis put in place over recent months and are in close alignment with Strategy 2010. The main activities to be supported through this Appeal include:

  • Disaster preparedness.
  • Health and care including HIV/AIDS.
  • Humanitarian values.
  • Organizational development.

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1 These are preliminary figures for 2003, and are subject to revision in the course of 2002.