Rwanda Red Cross food, nutrition and livelihoods activities vary greatly depending on the context.
Spanning from relief, recovery, and rehabilitation to development the activities intend to combat both transient and chronic food and nutrition insecurity.
Responses to disaster
In the aftermath of disasters, Rwanda Red Cross seeks to save lives with immediate response activities but at the same time integrating risk reduction measures in order to build resilience of affected communities from day one.
Linking the relief, recovery, rehabilitation, and development phase in the aftermath of disasters in a way that they flow into one another is thereby in the centre of the Rwanda Red Cross community resilience approach.
Rapid response interventions include food distribution, seeds and tools distribution as well as cash and livelihood distribution. However, as it is very important to protect and/or restore people’s livelihoods, interventions such as de-stocking and restocking of livestock, terracing, erosion control and income-generating activities are also part of the RRC’s activities in all three phases to address food and nutrition security, depending on the context, the type of disaster, and the capacity of National Societies and volunteers.
Preparedness and risk reduction with long-term programmes
Chronic food insecurity and malnutrition remains a key obstacle in the development agenda.
In order to improve chronic food insecurity and malnutrition, the National Society has been employing sustainable integrated solutions.
Supporting communities where necessary and try to find context specific solutions to the problems of the affected community with community-based initiatives for improving the availability, accessibility and utilization of food.
They also foster awareness raising and knowledge enhancement on food, nutrition and livelihoods to improve the living conditions of food insecure and malnourished communities.
Factors such as recurrent droughts, conflicts, chronic poverty, HIV/AIDS and its impact on labour forces, unemployment, lack of agricultural infrastructure, water scarcity, pest invasion or environmental degradation and the impact of climate change are thereby taken into consideration while developing the projects and programmes.
The Rwanda Red Cross Society uses a community-based approach in all the services it provides. As an auxiliary to government, the Society relies on two approaches to improve the livelihoods of the vulnerable population. These include “Performance contracts” and “Model Villages”.
Model village approach towards community resilience
The Rwanda Red Cross Society uses a community-based approach in all the services it provides. As an auxiliary to government, the Society relies on an important approach to improve the livelihoods of the vulnerable population. The “Model Village”.
The communities and households among the selected villages are supported in model village in order to meet the resilience criteria as per IFRC definition (community knowledgeable and healthy, organized, connected, with appropriate infrastructure and services, exposed to economic opportunities, enough skills for managing its natural assets).
RRCS defines and develops clear guidelines and tools of the model village approach, train volunteers to increase the capacity of communities to access and manage safe and adequate water, sanitation and hygiene at household and community level.
RRCS improves health and socio economic conditions of target HHs and villages based on defined standard criteria through nutrition promotion, malaria prevention, family planning, HIV/AIDS & other STDs prevention, Reinforcing Immunization Campaign, and food security promotion.
Essential to the Model Village approach is the fact that solutions are devised by and for the community in question. Local people are involved from the start, supported by Rwanda Red Cross volunteers to assess their community’s strengths and weaknesses, and define their own needs and priorities.
Informed by a national classification, the community collectively selects the families that are most in need of receiving specific support. The aim is to improve living conditions for the most vulnerable individuals, and in so doing increase the whole community’s resilience.
Community members take responsibility for the areas of action that have been defined, also participating in the monitoring and assessment of developments.
Promoted model village approach towards community resilience
- Define and develop clear guidelines and tools of model village approach.
- Increase the capacity of communities to access and manage safe and adequate water, sanitation and hygiene at household and community level
- Improve health and socio economic conditions of target HHs and villages based on defined standard criteria
- Strengthen capacity of communities to address climate change resilience and implement specific environment management interventions
- Enable model villages to transfer developed best practices to other villages and increase the coverage.
Rwanda Red Cross develops and expands social projects aiming at supporting orphans and other vulnerable people throughout the country.
The program’s activities are achieved through diverse sectors amongst others are Health, Education, Psychosocial support, socioeconomic support and capacity building.
Rwanda Red Cross has recently initiated two new social projects of nutrition and protection.