Rwanda at a glance

Key socio-economic indicators

Political and economic context

Situation of Children

UNICEF Country Programme

Key achievements


Situation of Children

UNICEF Rwanda/2007
© UNICEF Rwanda/2007

In 2015, the people of Rwanda had a lot to celebrate: Rwanda was one of a few countries in Africa that achieved each of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). While a few targets were missed, meeting each of the goals was a great achievement. The MDGs have provided a global benchmark for the country’s social and economic policies over the last 15 years and sharpened the focus of national efforts aimed at addressing poverty and inequality.

According to the most recent census, which was conducted in 2012, almost 50% of Rwanda’s population consists of children under 18 years of age, with 15% under five years. In addition to being young, Rwanda’s population is still largely rural, with 83.5% of children living in rural areas.

One of the critical unmet targets relates to the reduction of stunting and the eradication of poverty. While stunting rates are gradually decreasing, they remain stubbornly high at 38% (49% for children in the poorest quintile) according to the Rwanda Health Demographic Survey 2014-15.

Despite this, Rwanda has seen a dramatic decrease in under-five mortality rates, from 152 (per 1,000 live births) in 2005 to the present rate of 50.

According to the Integrated Household Living Conditions Survey (EICV4, 2013/14), economic inequalities have been reduced. The Gini coefficient dropped from 0.51 in 2000 to 0.45 at present.

In the critical area of education, primary school attendance rates have increased steadily over the last 15 years. There have also been improvements in secondary school enrolment. However, figures for pre-school attendance lag and there is a significant urban bias: 44% of urban children attend pre-school as opposed to only 28% in rural areas.

The issue of protection remains a challenge: 40% of Rwandan women aged 15-49 have experienced violence. One in five of those experiences was classified as sexual violence. 



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