NYAMASHEKE-Catholic Relief Services (CRS), this week celebrated 50 years of operations in Rwanda,
The event was hosted at Muyange Parish, Nyabitekere Sector in Nyamasheke District.
Cyangugu Diocese hosted the celebrations because of the successes CRS projects have registered in the area.
“We wanted to celebrate with participants and partners who assisted in making these projects a success,” said Jennifer Smith Nazaire, CRS country representative.
The NGO runs a chain of projects in Nyamasheke and Rusizi districts including; AIDS Relief; providing counselling and HIV related services at 20 local partner treatment facilities, and Justice and Peace projects.
Others are Great Lakes Cassava Initiative, a scheme that improved agricultural techniques and helped vulnerable farmers to improve productivity, hence increasing the quantity and quality of food, offering healing and conflict management training for Cyangugu clergy members.
“We owe a lot to CRS; like extending HIV counselling and testing services to 19 health centres from the original three,” stated Nyamasheke Mayor, Jean Baptist Habyarimana.
At Muyange, one of the health centres CRS operates, there has been an increase in the number of HIV positive individuals on ARVs.
The organisation has also helped build the capacity of medical staff at the health centre. Equipment to control HIV and ICT instruments were also donated. Over 100 vulnerable HIV patients received free health insurance. A total of 30 volunteers follow up on HIV positive people routinely.
“Since the earthquake, the Catholic Church has been instrumental in the rebuilding process. Partnerships between the government, civil society and donors are good for development and aid,” said Celestin Kabahizi, Governor of the Western Province.
The Bishop of Cyangugu Diocese, Jean Damascene Bimenyimana, told residents that bearing Christian fruits starts with a perfect soul in a healthy body.
The dignitaries visited a CRS-built settlement, Muyange health centre, before holding a mass at Muyange Catholic Church.