Rwanda at a glance

Key socio-economic indicators

Political and economic context

Situation of Children

UNICEF Country Programme

Key achievements


UNICEF Country Programme

UNICEF Rwanda/2014/Muellenmeister
© UNICEF Rwanda/2014/Muellenmeister

The UNICEF Rwanda Country Programme is fully integrated with the One UN UNDAP, and is also focused on supporting the social transformation pillar of the National Strategy for Transformation. UNICEF’s work takes an integrated approach across the continuum of a child’s life, from pregnancy through adolescence, and in the context of a strong and loving family environment. The new Country Programme cycle is from July 2018 to June 2023 to align with the Government of Rwanda’s fiscal year.

The programme has seven main components:

Child Health

The Child Health programme supports the Government of Rwanda’s efforts to reduce child mortality by increasing use of improved high-impact health and HIV interventions by young children, adolescents and women. UNICEF interventions will focus on:
  • Strengthening health systems to ensure that young children, adolescents and women have equitable access to essential health services.
  • Improving access to HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care services.
  • Accelerating health interventions with low coverage, including intrapartum care and management of sick newborns, postnatal care of healthy neonates, complete antenatal care, and paediatric HIV.
  • Supporting the Ministry of Health to establish innovative web-based patient management systems.

The Nutrition Programme supports the Government to rapidly scale-up effective utilisation of a core package of high impact multi-sectoral interventions which address the immediate and underlying causes of child under-nutrition, particularly stunting. Focus is on the following areas:
  • Strengthening health facility staff capacity to promote the “first 1,000 days” social and behaviour change initiative.
  • Building technical skills to prevent and manage maternal and child under-nutrition cases, integrate child stunting management, and provide supportive supervision to community health workers.
  • Supporting districts to plan, coordinate, implement and monitor nutrition-related activities.

Early Childhood Development

The Early Childhood Development (ECD) programme is based on the premise that “you cannot divide a child,” acknowledging that the needs of children must be addressed holistically. UNICEF therefore uses an integrated approach to ECD programming that combines interventions from multiple sectors. Programming focuses on:

  • Parenting education
  • Promotion of play-based learning
  • WASH, health, and nutrition
  • Cross-cutting efforts in social protection and child protection.


UNICEF is working closely with the Government of Rwanda to implement its Education Sector Strategic Plan (ESSP), with a focus on three key areas:

  • Increasing access to education for vulnerable groups;
  • Quality of education;
  • Increasing access to quality pre-primary education.
There is also a consistent focus on ensuring gender equity and inclusion in all efforts.

Child Protection

Efforts are dedicated supporting the Government to build and maintain a system that safeguards children from violence, abuse, exploitation and neglect, and that mitigates major risks to children in both regular and emergency settings. Focus is on the following pillars:

  • Building and supporting strong coordination mechanisms among child protection partners
  • Ensuring availability of quality, decentralized, multi-sectoral child protection services
  • Strengthening capacities of CP service providers
  • Supporting the Government to generate and use child protection data to formulate policies.
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)

The WASH Programme aims to ensure that more Rwandan households and communities, particularly in rural areas, have access to safe and sustainable WASH services, and children and their families practice key hygiene behaviours. Focus is on:
  • Strengthening monitoring to improve evidence-based decision making.
  • Developing sustainable financing for WASH.
  • Ensuring more families use basic sanitation services and practice handwashing with soap.
  • Ensuring more families access and use safe, sustainable and reliable water supply services.
  • Improve WASH in schools, including menstrual hygiene management.

Social Policy

Work in this area aims to ensure that children are prioritized during budget allocation processes so that their needs are adequately addressed, and that there is sufficient capacity to develop and implement policies that deliver quality services for children and their families. In partnership with the Government, UNICEF works to improve equity-focused programming in three critical areas:

  • Child-sensitive social protection
  • Child-friendly policies and budgeting
  • Applied research, evaluation and evidence generation, with a focus on reducing poverty and disparities among children.



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