Children in Rwanda play the human knot game 
Rwanda experiences a number of unique challenges resulting from the aftermath of the 1994 genocide.  As such, activities drawn from Right To Play resources like Red Ball Child Play, which promote peace building and collaboration, are crucial to providing development support to a generation growing up with the legacy of the genocide.  The nation is also dealing with the devastating effects of the HIV and AIDS pandemic that is sweeping the continent.  Right To Play resources, such as Live Safe Play Safe, are used to promote awareness and prevention of the virus among children and youth.

Due to the consequences of the war and genocide of 1994, all the development sectors, in particular the education sector is still being reconstructed. The rate of children dropping out and repeating classes is high. The Rwanda currently has one of the lowest enrolment rates at secondary school level in Sub Saharan Africa. Training, recruiting and retaining teaching staff, the supply side constraints and schooling capacity in terms of classrooms, sport and play infrastructure and adequate textbooks and learning materials in order to achieve the targets are big issues[1] .

Concerning the youth in non formal education system , the challenge of limited access to employment opportunities is a barrier to their positive growth and development. Although the HIV prevalence is being stabilized (3% since 2005), the behavioural change as a means of AIDS control is too slow.  AIDS awareness among the youth is equally low (51% among women and 54 % among men), the rate of condom use during the first sexual intercourse also remains very low among youth (7% among women and 12% among men). Regarding gender-based violence, women are affected by 31%[2].

 The Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture outlines quite well that the situation of youth and challenges that they face in various fields: the management of the direct and indirect impact of 1994’s genocide, poverty, unemployment, STIs and HIV /AIDS, illiteracy, lack of access to useful information, poor education and lack of other basic social services, are currently the main impediments for Rwandan youth. However, the Rwandan youth is considered as an invaluable asset and a great potential for the development of the country and is regarded as great hope for the reconstruction of its social capital destroyed by war and genocide. [3]

[1] Education Sector Strategic Plan, August 2008

[2] DHS, 2005

[3] National Youth Policy

Right To Play began operating in Rwanda in 2003 as part of its strategy to expand the reach and focus in Africa.  Beginning as little more than a volunteer-run operation in the capital, Kigali, the Rwanda project has undergone a nationwide expansion.  In 2009, Right To Play launched programs in the Bugesera district of eastern Rwanda, with the support of a small foundation that has since been integrated in to the recently expanded Play To Learn program, supported by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).

The goal of Right To Play’s programs in Rwanda is to create a safe environment, conducive to learning for all children and youth, particularly girls. Right To Play seeks to provide sport and play activities that will improve the country’s level of basic education and contribute to the effective development of life skills.  It is also critical that programs incorporate capacity building work with parents and older community members.  Furthermore, Right To Play will support children and youth in their pursuit of leadership skills, and help enable them to actively participate in the community and to secure a better future for themselves and their peers. The expected results of Right To Play programs in Rwanda include: a reduction in violent behaviour and increased cooperation among children, as well as an increase in healthy behaviour in relation to HIV and AIDS prevention.

In 2011, Right To Play plans to reach: 70,005 children and youth (50 per cent female); 1,082 coaches, leaders and teachers (45 per cent female); 88 schools; 8 community centers

Partners: The Rwanda Scouts and Guides Association; The Sport for Peace Foundation; SOS Children’s Villages; Centres for Street Children; and Vision Jeunesse Nouvelle.  Sports For Peace Foundation ; Health centers of Ruhuha, Ngeruka and Kamabuye; Associations of PLHWA; Ministries of Education, Gender and Family promotion; The National AIDS Control Commission; local ministries of youth and sport; CARITAS; Centre presbytérien d’Amour des Jeunes (CPAJ)


Participating in sport and play activities like the human knot pictured above, help children to work as part of a team.

Follow us on: