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Rwanda map
UNICEF photo: children laughing © UNICEF Rwanda/2019/Serge Muhizi Children laugh at the Ebola prevention road show in Burera District. Thousands of people attended each of UNICEF's 23 road shows across all 15 of Rwanda's high-risk districts.

Rwanda

In 2020, UNICEF and partners plan for:
20,000

health workers receiving a complete set of supplies for Ebola preparedness

20,000

refugee children receiving essential child protection services

30,000

refugee children and adolescents accessing formal or non-formal education, including early learning

2020 requirements: US$8,000,000

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Snapshot

Total people in need: 6.2 million9
Total children (<18) in need: 3.1 million10

Total people to be reached: 2.2 million11
Total children to be reached: 1.1 million12

Since August 2018, the Democratic Republic of Congo, a neighbouring country of Rwanda, has been facing a large-scale Ebola epidemic in the eastern provinces of North Kivu and Ituri. Since the outbreak began in August 2018, there have been nearly 3,200 reported Ebola cases and over 2,100 deaths.1 Rwanda is one of the most densely populated countries in Africa, bordering the Democratic Republic of the Congo and possessing high-quality transport infrastructure. The country is therefore Priority 1 at highrisk for the rapid spread of Ebola infection. In 2018, the Government of Rwanda activated Ebola preparedness mechanisms to minimize the risk of importation or cross-border transmission. Although Rwanda remains Ebola-free, 15 districts2 are at risk of cross-border spread.3 In addition, Rwanda is home to some 150,000 refugees.4 Many refugee children face a range of protection concerns, including violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation.5 Most refugee-hosting schools lack the adequate infrastructure, teachers and supplies to respond to high influxes. Many teachers recruited and trained by partners are not yet integrated into the national systems.6 With the coming presidential elections in Burundi scheduled for May 2020, an estimated 30,000 additional people could take refuge in Rwanda by June 2020 and require critical humanitarian assistance.

Humanitarian strategy

2020 programme targets

Health and nutrition

  • 15,000 refugee children under 5 years vaccinated against measles
  • 20,000 health workers receiving a complete set of supplies for Ebola preparedness
  • 40 partner staff and frontline health workers oriented on Ebola-related nutrition

WASH

  • 40,000 refugees accessing a sufficient quantity of safe water for drinking, cooking and personal hygiene
  • 535 health facilities and points of entry equipped with essential WASH services for infection prevention and control

Child protection

  • 5,000 child protection workers trained on Ebola preparedness and mental health and psychosocial support
  • 20,000 refugee children receiving essential child protection services13

Education

  • 30,000 refugee children and adolescents accessing formal or non-formal education, including early learning
  • 5,000 teachers and members of parent-teacher associations and school management trained on Ebola preparedness

Communication for development

  • 2,000,000 people reached with key Ebola preparedness messages through trainings, community dialogues and community mobilization

In line with the National Ebola Plan III and the Inter-Agency Plan, UNICEF will continue to support Ebola preparedness in Rwanda, leading on risk communication, community engagement, community health and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH). The response will reach all of Rwanda, with a special focus on the districts bordering Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Tanzania. UNICEF will also respond to the humanitarian needs of refugees from Burundi in and outside of camps in Rwanda, working closely with the Government and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to provide critical services, including health, WASH, child protection and education to children and adolescents. UNICEF will also support the Government to address the needs of refugees by improving access to national social services for up to 50,000 people. As part of its social policy work, UNICEF will closely monitor resource allocation to the social sectors and continue to advocate for access to essential social services for child survival and the protection of children and women in Rwanda, including refugees.

Results from 2019

As of August 2019, UNICEF had US$1.8 million available against the US$3 million Ebola preparedness requirement (60 per cent funded).7 UNICEF achieved results in communication for development, health, WASH, education and child protection; addressed the needs of refugees in and outside of camps; and supported the implementation of the National Ebola Preparedness Plan in 15 high-risk districts. Over 24,000 refugee children accessed education services, 20,000 were vaccinated against measles and 10,000 received critical child protection services. UNICEF equipped all hospitals, health centres and points of entry in the 15 high-risk districts with initial training and critical WASH supplies to prevent and control Ebola. Some 155,000 people gained knowledge on Ebola signs, symptoms, modes of transmission and prevention, and channels to refer Ebola-related concerns. Ebola remained at the centre of public discourse, with 6 million people reached through mass media. UNICEF also helped train and supervise some 20,000 community health workers.8 Supplies were procured to protect community health workers from Ebola and support effective Ebola identification at the community level. Lack of funding for the refugee response limited service provision across sectors inside the camps. When possible, UNICEF used regular programmes to provide services outside of camps through national systems.

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Funding requirements

In line with both the National Ebola Preparedness Plan and the 2020 Burundi Regional Refugee Response Plan, UNICEF is appealing for US$8 million (US$5 million for Ebola preparedness and US$3 million for the refugee response) to meet the needs of children in Rwanda in 2020. Without timely and adequate funding, UNICEF will be unable 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 preparedness nationwide.

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1 Nearly 30 per cent of cases are children, a larger proportion than reported in previous Ebola outbreaks. World Health Organization (WHO), 29 September 2019.
2 The Government of Rwanda is also currently expanding preparedness activities to the remaining 15 districts with a minimum package of interventions.
3 The 15 high-risk districts are concentrated along Rwanda’s western and northern borders: Rusizi, Nyamasheke, Karongi, Rutsiro, Rubavu, Nyabihu, Musanze, Burera, Gicumbi, Nyagatare, Bugesera, Nyanza, as well as the capital Kigali’s three districts of Kicukiro, Gasabo and Nyarugenge. This includes six districts bordering the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda; and one district that has air links to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
4 Half of whom fled Burundi following civil unrest in 2015 and subsequent humanitarian crisis. UNHCR, 2019.
5 United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, 'Rwanda Country Refugee Response Plan 2019–2020', UNHCR, 2018.
6 'Rwanda Country Refugee Response Plan 2019–2020'. In addition, since 2015, the refugee population in urban areas has increased following the influx of Burundian refugees. Hence, education needs also increased to ensure that all urban refugee children are enrolled in different national schools in and out of Kigali.
7 In addition to the funds received in 2019 for Ebola preparedness activities through the Eastern and Southern Africa appeal, UNICEF allocated US$700,000 from the Emergency Programme Fund, a loan mechanism, to address critical gaps in the response and bridge needs until funding arrives.
8 This is critical to ensuring that health workers immediately report all alerts to health facilities, so these alerts can be investigated promptly.
9 This includes 6 million people for Ebola preparedness in targeted high-risk districts that will be reached in collaboration with WHO through mass media campaign (UNICEF Strategy in Case Management/Infection Prevention and Control Technical Working Group, 2019) and 150,000 refugees in camps (UNHCR, 30 June 2019). UNICEF will continue to focus on the most vulnerable and hard-to-reach communities using community dialogue and sensitization targeting 2 million people. Fifty per cent are women and 55 per cent are children. In the event of a worst-case scenario Ebola outbreak, an additional caseload of people will be in need of response interventions. ‘Rwanda Country Refugee Response Plan 2019–2020’.
10 This includes 3 million children for Ebola preparedness (UNICEF Strategy in Case Management/Infection Prevention and Control Technical Working Group, 2019) and 75,000 refugees in camps (UNHCR, 30 June 2019). In the event of a worst-case scenario Ebola outbreak, an additional caseload of people will be in need of response interventions. ‘Rwanda Country Refugee Response Plan 2019–2020’.
11 This is based on the highest coverage target under communication for development: 2 million people targeted for key Ebola preparedness messages + 150,000 people targeted for the refugee response. Fifty per cent are women and 55 per cent are children. The total people to be reached includes 15 per cent persons with disabilities, according to the 2011 WHO/World Bank estimate.
12 This includes 1 million children targeted for Ebola preparedness and 75,000 children targeted for the refugee response. This includes 10 per cent children with disabilities, according to the 2011 WHO/World Bank estimate.
13 Mostly through existing national child protection services. The reason for the decrease in targets is due to the shift from a camp response to a community-based child protection response – a humanitarian/development strategy supported by the Government.
14 This includes early childhood development.