Where We Work - Rwanda

Save the Children in Rwanda

Rwanda stands out as one of few countries in the world on track to achieve the Millennium Development Goals of cutting maternal and child mortality. Despite extreme poverty and the legacy of the 1994 genocide, Rwanda has already halved the number of deaths of children under five and is now driving through an ambitious program to save even more lives. We're a vital part of this process.

Our projects in early childhood care, health and protection help thousands of children and provide a model of what could be done in other places. Nearly 1 million Rwandans were killed in 100 days of genocide in 1994. In the aftermath, we reunited 40,000 children with their families. Today we’re providing access to good quality healthcare for 700,000 people in rural Rwanda. 2,400 three- to six-year-olds attend our early childhood care and development centers. We're reaching 50,000 people through our community child protection networks, stopping abuse and exploitation.

Our Results in Rwanda

  • We kept 6,846 children safe from harm.
  • More than 2,948 children got the opportunity to learn.
  • In times of crisis, 6,399 children received emergency relief.
  • More than 3,200 children had a healthy start in life.

Challenges for Children in Rwanda

  • Twenty years after, the effects of Rwanda’s genocide are still profound. In 1994, nearly a million people – a tenth of the population – died in three short months, while millions fled the country. Many people are still traumatized today. But this terrible legacy is not the only challenge for Rwanda’s children.
  • Poverty is high, with chronic malnutrition so pervasive that 44% of children are stunted. Abuse is common – both within the home and in hazardous labor, where 175,000 children work. Many children have lost their parents to HIV and are at risk of violence and exploitation.
  • Yet Rwanda’s government is driving through an ambitious plan to provide healthcare and education even in the most remote areas. Save the Children is playing a pivotal role, creating a better healthcare system, putting early childhood development on the national agenda, and building a national child protection system.

Child Survival

Rwanda aims to cut child deaths further, and to make substantial reductions in maternal mortality. In two of the country’s poorest rural districts, Burera and Gicumbi, we have built, refurbished and equipped health centers and maternity clinics, and trained thousands of community health workers. In 2012, we helped 700,000 people get better healthcare.


In each area where we work, we’ve set up child protection networks, with demonstrable effects. Rwanda’s government has endorsed the child policy we helped to develop – a policy that will protect tens of thousands of children at risk of falling victim to violence, sexual abuse or trafficking. In 2012, 50,000 more parents, community members and military cadets learned about children’s rights, thanks to our training.

Facts and Statistics

  • Population: 12,337,138
  • Child Death Rate: 55 in 1,000 live births
  • Life Expectancy: 59.3 years
  • Underweight Children: 11.7%
  • Human Development Rank: 151 out of 187 countries
  • Maternal Death Risk: 1 in 54 women
  • Girls' Education: 10.2 years
  • Income per capita: 600 (USD)


Unless otherwise noted, facts and statistics have been sourced from Save the Children’s 2014 State of the World’s Mothers report.You can access detailed data here.

Other sources as follows: Population and Life Expectancy: CIA World Factbook 2014; Human Development Rank: United Nations Development Programme 2014; Underweight Children: World Health Organization Report 2014

Last Updated December 2014

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