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World Relief Rwanda Programs

World Relief Rwanda’s integrated programming model, called Church Empowerment Zones (CEZ), focuses on working in geographic areas of around 75,000 people and 50-75 local churches.  In these zones, World Relief implements and integrated package of capacity building activities focused on improving local churches’ ability to implement holistic ministry.  This includes general capacity building of the church and providing them with specific skills related to economic empowerment, working with children and improving health. The programs we have operating within zones are:

Local Church Empowerment and Mobilization (LCEM)

Approximately 90% of the Rwandan population attends church thus giving churches the ability to have tremendous potential to impact their communities, starting at the grassroots level. What is built through these faith communities is more readily integrated into Rwandan life, is culturally adapted, and is cost effective. World Relief’s Church Empowerment & Mobilization (LCEM) team lead efforts to bring churches together in Church Empowerment Zones (CEZ) and play a critical role in seeing churches equipped with new skills and methods for serving the most vulnerable.  The purpose of the Local Church Empowerment and Mobilization project is to foster unity and collaboration of the churches in the church empowerment zones to achieve their calling. The desire is to see the local church body experience a transformation of mindset regarding its biblical calling and relationship with the most vulnerable, to build the capacity of the local church body so that it has the organizational ability and foundational skills to serve the most vulnerable which results in the transformational impact on the most vulnerable in its community with an ultimate capability of carrying out its work on a sustained basis, and to also bring about the empowerment of local churches outside of empowerment zones.

HIV/AIDS: Mobilizing for Life (MFL)

World Relief empowers the church to help prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS through methods based on biblical values, and holistically care for those living with HIV/AIDS. The heart of MFL’s implementation strategy is to build the capacity of local churches to develop teams of volunteers to carry out and promote holistic church based HIV/AIDS ministries in a sustainable fashion.  The focus is to equip volunteers at various levels in the church with technical skills they can use to care for people living with AIDS and to promote behaviors which will prevent new infections. At the center of the program’s strategy is the objective of building ministries within local churches to build ministry teams focused on promoting HIV/AIDS prevention methods.  Building the capacity of the local churches ensure spiritual development will be integrated in to messages and promotes sustainability of the program by ensuring they have skilled volunteers to carry out the work and systems in place to manage the program.  Additionally, efforts focused on equipping churches to advocate on behalf of and care for people living with HIV/AIDS will be conducted.  The care component will focus on equipping churches to improve the nutrition of people living with AIDS and the role churches should play in supporting the physical, social and spiritual needs of people living with AIDS. MFL uses a 3-6-40 mobilization strategy for maximizing transfer of training messages through local churches; three district facilitators train team of 6 volunteers from each local church, volunteers training at least 40 people in communities.

Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC)

The OVC program seeks to empower local churches to share the love of Christ through word and deed with most vulnerable children in ways that lead to physical, social and spiritual transformation. The program equips churches with skills and knowledge to empower them to care for the most vulnerable children in their communities.  This includes techniques that churches with few financial resources can do to provide for physical needs such as housing and lack of access to nutritious food as well as helping churches improves skills for counseling and advocating for vulnerable children.  At the foundation of this work is equipping churches to help bring spiritual restoration through a relationship with Jesus Christ to children who have experienced great suffering and loss in their lives. World Relief facilitates a process of helping churches find ways they can impact the lives of vulnerable children with the resources they have available to them.

Child Development

Because World Relief knows that churches are better positioned than any institution in Rwanda to care for the physical, social and spiritual needs of children, the Child Development program looks to empower local churches to understand and address the developmental needs of children in the community so that these children realize their God given potential. The program focuses on building the capacity of existing children’s ministries in churches then equipping church volunteers with skills and techniques they can use to reach out to the community to care for children and share the message of Jesus Christ through care groups, clubs, parental education and workshops.  Overtime the churches adopt these methods and are able to sustain them and continue with these ministries.

Savings for Life (SFL)

World Relief’s Savings for Life™ program empowers the most vulnerable in communities that lack access to even the most basic financial services. Savings for Life™ makes access to savings and loans possible for the most poor and vulnerable – those individuals (largely women) where traditional microfinance loans are even too large.  But this impact extends beyond access to finance, and through Savings for Life™ group members discover that they already have the resources necessary to advance their lives and those of their children; basic money, time, and group management skills are extended throughout the entire community; members are helping other members set money aside for emergencies; and when World Relief leaves, these groups continue to meet for years to come.  Developed from the popularized Village Savings and Loan Association methodology, the Savings for Life™ program implements best practices in order to create self-sustaining Savings Groups that make a holistic impact in the lives of their members.

The Water Project

This project works in partnership with local churches to improve the health of vulnerable people through clean water initiatives by increasing access to improved water sources and improving the quality of water through filtration. The water project focuses on two communities in Rwanda, Masaka and Gahanga. The focus is placed on building the capacity of local churches to provide for their communities’ needs of clean water and to have better access to water. Rainwater harvesting systems are built at churches to provide ways to provide water to community members. Churches also equip volunteers to implement the filter program, constructing, caring for, and following-up with the water filters along with giving health and hygiene trainings. To promote greater sustainability of the project, efforts are made to promote ownership among churches.  Local churches are mobilized in project participation through pastors and church leaders serving as the project patrons, supervisors of volunteers, helping deliver key messages related to health and hygiene to congregations, and through identifying filter beneficiaries.

 Tangiraneza ‘Start Well’ Innovation Child Survival Program (ICSP)

The Tangiraneza ‘Start Well’ ICSP is a project to support the Ministry of Health in Rwanda in implementing community health interventions related to nutrition in Nyamagabe District. “Nutrition Weeks” is the intervention designed to promote behavior change. These weeks are to provide a hands-on time for learning and practicing ideal (and new) maternal behaviors. During the first 1000 days of life (conception to two years pregnancy), all mothers will get together for “Nutrition Weeks” to learn and practice ideal feeding and health practices.  Nutrition weeks will include all pregnant women and mothers with children less than two years. The social nature of the learning experience will reinforce application of the behaviors via community support. These weeks give the opportunity for practice, questions, honest discussion about barriers to change, and having trustworthy information available to them.  Strong community mobilization will accompany the “Weeks,” engaging community leaders, other men, and other community groups to support participation.  The social nature of the learning experience will also help to reinforce application of the behaviors via group support from the community; the best way to change one household is to change all of them together. Fathers are invited to be involved as well.