FXBVillage economic and community development programs in Rwanda

Program start 1995
Impacted population 65,000

FXB conducts three Economic and Community Development FXBVillage programs for 2,000 children and adults living in Kigali and the Muhanga and Rubavu districts.

Context

Rwanda is still affected by the 1994 genocide, during which nearly one million Tutsis were massacred. The democratically elected Rwandan Patriotic Front gradually restored order, security and then civil service and ensured the stability of the country.

Rwanda was one of the few countries that had been able to achieve most of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. Substantial progress has been made in poverty reduction, education and HIV prevention. Despite these successes, Rwanda is still a poor country, ranked 158th out of 189 by the latest UNDP Human Development Index in 2018. It faces significant development challenges. Chronic malnutrition, poor infrastructure, lack of access to electricity, early childhood development, child mortality, the quality of education and the prevention of violence against children all require sustained attention.

Our action

Rwanda’s poorest people face a variety of complex challenges. It would be a mistake to address only the issue of income! Partial aid, addressing only one cause of poverty, is not a sufficient solution to overcome it.

Thus, our Economic and Community Development model FXBVillage provides in a three-year period a comprehensive and integrated approach to poverty alleviation by addressing simultaneously the predominant causes of poverty. It is also about fighting gender discrimination and balancing gender relations so that women, who are more exposed to poverty, have access to the same economic and social opportunities.

1 – Developing the socio-economic capacities of families 

  • Establishment of Savings, Credit and Support Groups to provide services to beneficiary families who do not have easy access to formal financial services. The Saving, Credit and Support Groups help create social bonds, provide space to share challenges and solutions and foster participants’ entrepreneurial spirit.
  • Comprehensive training in financial management and entrepreneurship.
  • Training of participants in the creation of more productive and sustainable agricultural systems, notably through the creation of Farmer Field Schools where they learn ecological practices and Adaptation to Climate Change (ACC). 
  • Donation of a seed capital of $150 to each family in order for them to start an economic activity in agriculture or another field of their choice. 
  • Accompaniment of families to develop, diversify and ensure the sustainability of their economic activities.

2- Ensure their food security and eradicate child malnutrition

  • Emergency nutritional support is given to families during the first nine months of the program to help them regain a satisfactory state of health.
  • Creation of individual vegetable gardens for the production of fruit and vegetables for the families’ own consumption.
  • Care for children under 5 years of age and pregnant or nursing women suffering from malnutrition.

3- Promoting their access to health care and disease prevention

  • Registration of families with a health insurance company. They are referred to a health centre in order to benefit from adequate health care.
  • Training in families’ health management and diet, sexual and reproductive health, and the prevention of endemic diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, including facilitated screenings.
  • Psychosocial support to help families deal with the consequences of poverty and the various forms of violence encountered.

4 – Improve their living conditions

  • Sanitation and equipping homes with solar lighting, improved cooking stoves, latrines, showers, and hand-washing stations.
  • Training in recycling and Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH).

5 – To provide schooling for children, vocational training for adolescents and young adults, and community capacity building.

  • Collaboration with schools and teachers to enable school-aged children and young adults to be (re)enrolled in school.
  • Vocational training for teenagers and young adults.
  • Training related to early childhood development, children’s and women’s rights, gender-based violence, family planning or natural disaster preparedness to enrich skills and build resilience.

FXB provides ongoing coaching and mentoring throughout the three years of the program to ensure that participants develop the confidence and ability to take action and acquire the economic and social skills necessary to successfully move out of extreme poverty. 

Since 2015, FXB has been promoting the cultivation of biochar (organic fertilizer), which is a coal derived from biomass, used to capture carbon, enrich the soil with nutrients and reduce water consumption. This method, brought by FXB to Rwanda, increases yields by between 4% and 189%, depending on the crops and soil quality. Evaluated by the Rwanda Standard Board (RSB), tests have shown that biochar allows a clear improvement of soils in Rwanda.

Our FXBVillage programs in Rwanda are carried out thanks to the support of our partners: the Augusta Foundation, the City of Paris, UNIBRA, Fonds Comptoirs de Méditerranée, Valais Solidaire and the Canton of Valais.

Program impact

FXB has already developed 92 Economic and Community Development FXBVillage programs in the four provinces of the country, lifting 65,000 adults and children out of extreme poverty.

External Evaluations

This evaluation shows that 100% of children have access to a quality education, 100% of beneficiaries living with HIV/AIDS have access to adequate health services (7.6% of participants versus a national HIV prevalence of 3%), adherence to treatment is very good and cases lost to follow-up are rare. 0% of cases of malnutrition were found and 80.5% of families maintain the cultivation of a vegetable garden, notably for self-consumption, beyond the duration of the project. The survey conducted among People Living With HIV (PLWHIV) beneficiaries revealed a very high level of satisfaction with the support provided by FXB teams for their economic development.

Read the full evaluation in french.

  • In 2015, using baseline and end-of-project data from the FXBVillage programme monitoring and evaluation system, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard University compared the status of beneficiary households before and after the programme implementation.

The study includes data from 20 Community Economic and Community Development programs FXBVillage operating between 2009 and 2012 in Rwanda and Uganda, representing more than 1,500 families. The evaluation results conclude that FXBVillage programs have led to significant improvements in economic security, health and nutritional status, water and sanitation, psychosocial well-being and school participation.

Read the study.

  • An external evaluation of the FXBVillage program conducted by the Human Sciences Research Council (South Africa) in 2007 showed that 86% of beneficiaries are still living above the poverty line four years after leaving the programme. 97% are still operating their original income-generating activity. Their children go to school regularly, longer and perform better than their peers.

Read the summary of the evaluation.

 

Testimonial

Thanks to the FXBVillage economic and community development program, I feel more independent, I'm proud of myself and I believe in what the future has to offer.

Anita, 19 years old