The social services for vulnerable people programme, commonly known as Usaid/ Higa Ubeho, (Be Determined and Live), yesterday, concluded its activities after five years operating in the country.
Initiated in 2009, the five-year programme, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (Usaid), aimed at building resilience among the most vulnerable populations in Rwanda, through interventions at the household, community, and civil society levels.
The ultimate goal was to mitigate the impact of HIV/Aids on orphans and vulnerable children, the Country Director for Global Communities, Milton Funes, said in his closing remarks.
“Through stronger households, communities and civil society ourganisations, children have a chance to lead better lives. The programme brought a global approach to resilience through strengthening households by reducing vulnerability to economic, social, and environmental shocks,” Funes said.
The Executive Secretary of the National Commission for Children (NCC), Zaina Nyiramatama, said the partnership between Global Communities and the government has already contributed toward empowering communities.
She, however, challenged organisations to ensure sustainable exit programmes for continuity when their terms come to an end.
The programme’s activities were conducted in 23 districts and reached over 75,000 households that comprised 137,000 individuals, according to officials.
Through these households, 2,661 savings groups received financial support, about 50,000 vulnerable children got scholastic materials, health kits, and education subsidies, while 6,000 youths attained a one-year scholarship in vocational training.
Eric Habimana, 25, one of the beneficiaries of the project from Nyarugenge Sector, Kigali, had dropped out of school shortly after his senior two.
His family was unable to support his education, and the young boy resorted to ferrying people’s luggage, in various market places, around Kigali city.
However, he said, the project sponsored his High School studies. He later won a government scholarship at the University of Rwanda’s College of Medicine and Health Sciences (Formerly Kigali Health Institute).
“Higa Ubeho programme was my turning point,” Habimana said.
Habimana was among the maiden graduates of the University of Rwanda, last year, with a Bachelors degree in Prosthetics and Orthotics.
He is currently doing internship at the HVP-Gatagara, Kicukiro District, a reference centre for the rehabilitation of disabled persons in the country.