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Trócaire’s work in Rwanda helps people to deal with the consequences of the 1994 Genocide and to develop sustainable livelihoods and accountable governance.

Vestine Uwizeyinana and Claudine Tuyishimire sorting grain at Muhanga Food Processing Industries.

Vestine Uwizeyinana and her colleagues sorting grain at Muhanga Food Processing Industries. Muhanga was set up by Trócaire partner COCOF, a cooperative established in 1994 by and for women farmers, many of whom were widows following the genocide. Photo: Alan Whelan/Trócaire

Key Facts

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Trócaire started working in Rwanda after the genocide in 1994. Since 2002, we have focused on reducing poverty, promoting peace and reconciliation, and accountable governance

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People have benefitted from Trócaire's programmes in Rwanda in the last year

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Food and Resource Rights, Women's Empwerment, Humanitarian Response

Trócaire's Work in Rwanda

Trócaire started working in Rwanda just after the genocide in July 1994. Initially focused on humanitarian work post-1994, the country programme transitioned towards development interventions with a focus on country’s most vulnerable people to improve their livelihoods and resilience.

Since 2002, the country programme in Rwanda was focused on reducing poverty, promoting peace and reconciliation, and accountable governance.

Today, Trócaire works to transform the lives of those who do not have secure access to food or basic needs, and those who are discriminated against, marginalised, and vulnerable to exploitation.

From 2016-2020, Trócaire Rwanda is focused on supporting resilient and sustainable livelihoods, humanitarian preparedness and response, and women’s empowerment.  

Trócaire currently works in seven of the 30 districts in Rwanda contributing to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Rwanda.  The districts of focus are Nyaruguru, Nyamagabe, Nyagatare, Gakenke, Rulindo, Nyanza and Kirehe.

The programme also supports work at a district and national level to complement community level interventions with a view to influence policy.

Our programme work in Rwanda focuses on three key areas:

1. Food and Resource Rights

Our livelihoods programme aims to create more stable and lasting livelihoods for Rwandans.  In line with our country strategic plan, Trócaire Rwanda is now focused on management and use of natural resources particularly land and water, this includes advocacy engagement on related policies.

Since 2014, we have supported communities to adjust to and mitigate against climate change challenges. Trócaire in Rwanda works with partners to do this by improving access, use and management of water supplies, as well as promoting an ‘agroecological’ approach to agriculture and supporting diverse crop and livestock activities.

In a project co-funded by the European Union, ​Trócaire and three of its implementing partners, supports small-scale farmers and civil society organizations in the development, implementation and monitoring of agricultural policies and strategies. As women in Rwanda constitute 66 per cent of the agricultural work force (EICV 4),  the project is empowering small scale farmers with a focus on women, by increasing their knowledge and awareness of agricultural policies and strategies, existing structures for citizen engagement and the benefits of engaging. More details can be found in the project brief by following this link.

2. Women’s Empowerment

This programme aims to promote the participation of women in decision making at all levels in formal and informal decision making spaces and community structures. The programme also focuses on reducing violence towards women and protecting women’s rights in Rwanda.

We work on raising awareness and knowledge about gender-based violence (GBV) and women’s rights in communities as well as promoting the implementation of laws and policies that support gender equality. We also work with partners and communities to identify specific issues for policy engagement.

Men and boys are also targeted in order to address some of the gender norms that can be barriers to changing attitudes and behaviour. In addition, we work to reduce women’s vulnerability to abuse by helping them become more economically independent.

3. Humanitarian Response

Since June 2015, Trócaire Rwanda, in collaboration with Caritas Rwanda, has provided emergency support to Burundian refugees hosted in Mahama camp in Rwanda, especially vulnerable groups, namely elderly people, new and single mothers, people with disabilities, people with incurable diseases and new arrivals relocated from transit sites.

Over 50,000 refugees live in Mahama Camp, and about 3,450 of most vulnerable among them benefit from food supplement provisions, and psychosocial and protection support provided by the Trócaire Programme.

Trócaire engages with the National Platform for Disaster Management in Rwanda and works closely with other humanitarian partners under the coordination of the Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugees to respond to disaster affected population were appropriate.

Trócaire is committed to strengthen the capacity of local organizations in the preparedness and response in humanitarian emergencies, and is supported by the European Union Aid Volunteers initiative to do so, as well as through funding from the Irish public.

Download the Rwanda programme overview 

Our Funders in Rwanda

The following organisations are generously funding Trócaire's current programmes in Rwanda: 

Updates from Rwanda

Rwanda Resources


WATCH: Let the Devil Sleep: Rwanda 20 Years After Genocide

WATCH: Trócaire worker Mary Sweeney shares memories of her field work in the aftermath of the genocide in Rwanda in 1994.

Mary Sweeney on Rwanda

WATCH: Enhancing Participatory Governance and Accountability in Rwanda.

Rwanda: Country Context

Rwanda is one of the smallest and most densely populated countries in Africa with an estimated 11.5 million inhabitants.

It is classified among the world’s poorest countries, ranked 163 out of 188 countries according to 2015 Human Development Index report, with 63% of the population below income poverty line of $1.25 USD a day and 34.6% in severe poverty.

The genocide perpetrated against the Tutsi in 1994 resulted in over one million deaths, with a large number of people still suffering trauma. Over the last 22 years, the country has made tremendous progress in terms of rebuilding its economy, peace and reconciliation. However, the country still faces significant challenges. 

Agriculture is the main source of income and livelihoods, with 87% of people relying on rain-fed farming to feed themselves. Such farming is becoming more difficult as rains have become erratic due to climate change.

Also, much of the country’s agricultural land lies on hill slopes, increasing the risk of soil erosion and damage. Another challenge is high population growth (2.75% per year) and lack of non-agricultural farm livelihood alternatives which increase pressure on land (average land size is 0.5 hectare per family of 5 members), and natural resources such as water.