Two children smile as they look at a large book together.

Zero Out-of-School Children Project in Rwanda

Save the Children is honored to partner with Educate A Child (EAC), a program of the Education Above All (EAA) Foundation, and the Ministry of Education of Rwanda (MINEDUC) on the Zero Out-of-School Children Project. This project aims to improve access to and retention in equitable primary education for all Rwandan girls and boys, including children with disabilities and refugee children. Currently, there are approximately 177,119 out-of-school children in Rwanda and we will work together to ensure that no child misses out on primary education.

In 2019, Educate A Child (EAC) embarked on a journey to fight against exclusion and accelerate progress on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development through its Zero Out-of-School Children (OOSC) approach. EAC works with governments to provide access to education for some of the most under-resourced and marginalized OOSC globally.

EAC has three Zero projects in Djibouti, The Gambia and Zanzibar. Rwanda is the fourth Zero project and will be implemented by Save the Children in collaboration with the MINEDUC.

Save the Children, MINEDUC, and their consortium partners—Humanity & Inclusion and the National Union of Disability Organizations of Rwanda (NUDOR)—will deliver a comprehensive, coordinated intervention to address the gaps and needs relating to out-of-school children and drop-out rates at the primary grade level in Rwanda. The project design has a particular emphasis on support to children with disabilities as they represent just .6% of the children enrolled in primary school but represent 8.3% of the total population.

The project will directly contribute to achieving universal primary education in Rwanda by:

  • Strengthening the identification, enrollment, attendance and retention of out-of-school children at the school-level;
  • Empowering communities and families to promote identification, enrollment, attendance and retention of out-of-school children; and
  • Strengthening policies, data and feedback management systems on and for out-of-school children.

Consortium partners will address the financial, physical, structural/technical and social barriers preventing children from enrolling or remaining in primary school. This will include removing hidden fees attached to education, improving access to schools and the inclusiveness of school infrastructure, enhancing the capacity of education authorities to identify out-of-school children, supporting school enrollment and retention and fostering positive changes in attitude and norms to support the prioritization of basic education for all children.

These interventions will build upon partners’ extensive experience in delivering gender- and disability-sensitive education programming, lessons learned from years of implementation in Rwanda, as well as global research and evidence-based best practices.

Key outcomes of the Zero Out-of-School Children in Rwanda Project include:

  • All remaining out of school children will be enrolled in primary education (approximately 177,119 over 5 years)
  • New classrooms constructed: 540
  • Individuals trained: 10,858
  • OOSC supported with scholastic materials: 44,000 yearly
  • Schools that receive additional school feeding grants for enrolled OOSC: 3,691
  • (Based on findings from the baseline assessment, some targets might be adjusted)

The barriers that out-of-school children face include:

  • High associated costs of schooling
  • Gender discrimination
  • Lack of inclusive educational settings
  • Over-age children
  • Refugee status

To mitigate these challenges, we will implement the following activities:

  • Advocating for Head Teachers and local leaders (District, Sector, Cell and village leaders) to set in their performance contracts indicators related to enrolling and retaining OOSC. 
  • Enacting national enrollment campaigns.
  • Implementing Social Behavioral Change communication strategies. 
  • Providing the poorest families of OOSC with household solar kits.
  • Strengthening the School Data Management System (SDMS) to include additional tools to track enrollment, attendance and retention including real-time monitoring and reporting on absences.
  • Training selected teachers and school focal points on psychosocial support in the school context (identification and referrals of cases to health services when required)
  • Conduct learning diagnostics to assess the learning needs of newly-enrolled OOSC and decide on levelled and tailored support and pedagogical placement.
  • Providing guidance on how to create teaching and learning materials that are fully accessible to children with different abilities.
  • Providing school feeding and scholastic materials support for those enrolled OOSC who are in need.
  • Providing assistive technology and disability-adapted and disability-sensitive materials to selected schools and children with disabilities.
  • Equipping selected schools with resource rooms to facilitate the learning of children with disabilities, and training teachers on how to use them.
  • Involvement and engagement of parents, teachers, local leaders, key stakeholders and the wider community. 
  • Supporting the confidence of over-age children.
  • Sharing of best practices and lessons learned through closed user group communication. 


Thank you for signing up! Now, you’ll be among the first to know how Save the Children is responding to the most urgent needs of children, every day and in times of crisis—and how your support can make a difference. You may opt-out at any time by clicking "unsubscribe" at the bottom of any email.

By providing my mobile phone number, I agree to receive recurring text messages from Save the Children (48188) and phone calls with opportunities to donate and ways to engage in our mission to support children around the world. Text STOP to opt-out, HELP for info. Message & data rates may apply. View our Privacy Policy at