• 2 million people were reached with key messaging on COVID-19 prevention and access to services.
• Through COVAX facility, UNICEF supported the development and submission of the vaccine request, cold chain equipment application and the National Deployment Vaccination Plan.
• 27,527 refugee children were reached with quality inclusive education • 25,480 children in schools and communities were reached with hygiene promotion.
• 1,884 refugee children were vaccinated against measles.
• Of US$6 million appealed in 2021, UNICEF mobilized US$ 1,3 million, representing 22 per cent of the funding needed to address the urgent needs of women and children.
Funding Overview and Partnerships
In 2021, UNICEF Rwanda has appealed for US$ 6 million to continue delivering life-saving services to refugees and children and families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and its socio-economic impacts, and to maintain its Ebola preparedness and contingency planning.
As of 31 March, UNICEF has raised US$ 1.3 million, 21.6 per cent of the appealed amount, to address the most essential needs of vulnerable children and those caring for them. Without timely and adequate funding,
UNICEF will not be able to scale up its humanitarian action to address the essential and critical needs of refugees – more than half of whom are women and children – in the current context of heightened vulnerability in and outside of camps and foster adequate Ebola and COVID-19 preparedness and response nationwide.
Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs
In 2021, the humanitarian context has not evolved much in Rwanda compared to 2020. The three small-scale overlapping emergencies persist: the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the presence of around 147,000 refugees in Rwanda who require urgent assistance, and the new risk of Ebola outbreak.
Rwanda has registered 21,419 cases of COVID-19, of which 301 deaths (1.4 per cent) and conducted over 1.1 million tests (RBC, 28 March 2021). 348,929 people have received the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine through the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) facility. All confirmed cases of COVID-19 are being monitored and contacts have been traced while restriction measures continue to be implemented to control the spread of the virus.
The Government of Rwanda (GoR) has completely reopened schools after a partial lockdown affecting schools located in Kigali. Since 23 February 2021, all pre-primary, primary, secondary grades in public and private schools have resumed in-person classes, as well as universities, technical and vocational schools.
The 2020-2021 school year is expected to be completed in July 2021 for upper primary and secondary students and in September 2021 for pre-primary and lower primary grades.
In the Nutrition sector, the management of severe acute malnutrition (SAM) among children under five years of age is becoming concerning. A total of 12,332 cases were admitted and treated in 2020, which is almost the double of the cases reported in the previous three years. This may be attributed to the impact of COVID19 on livelihoods and food prices negatively impacting household food security and nutrition. UNICEF’s nutrition program is requiring more funding to upscale the preventive measures, secure the provision of nutrition commodities (ready-to-use therapeutic food, therapeutic milk, micronutrient powder), and strengthen the capacity of all service providers.
Four cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD), including two deaths, have been reported in the North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), neighbouring to Rwanda (European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control). The DRC’s 10th Ebola outbreak in that region lasted for nearly two years and by the time it ended in June 2020, there were 3,481 cases of which 2,299 deaths (66 per cent). The response to the outbreak in that region was particularly challenging due to insecurity.
UNICEF is supporting the GoR to mitigate the secondary effects of COVID-19 on children and families, including in providing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for community health workers and child protection volunteers. UNICEF also continues to support the GoR response to refugees and preparedness efforts to prevent EVD.