Flag of Rwanda
Education iconDisability

Our programmes in Rwanda include education, social inclusion and governance (with a disability focus) and livelihoods and youth. Gender and national volunteering are cross-cutting issues for all our work.

11 000 000
Capital city
GDP per capita
US$1 102
HDI ranking
166 out of 187
Life expectancy
56 years

Welcome to Rwanda, country of 1,000 hills.

Papa Diouf, Country Director, VSO Rwanda With 11 million inhabitants, Rwanda is a fascinating country in the heart of East Africa characterized by a rich culture, charming traditions and breath-taking scenery, known to only but a few.

We've played a significant role in supporting the government of Rwanda get progressively closer to its development objectives since 1998. But much remains to be done. The government’s ambitious vision is to turn Rwanda into a middle income country by 2020.

Children and the young people that represent the biggest segment of the population still need to have better access to quality basic education and skilled development opportunities.

Women and people living with disability are still among the most vulnerable populations.

Want to help us build a knowledge economy in country driven by a daring development ambition? Come join us. Let's pull up our sleeves, share our unique expertise, and build a Rwanda without poverty!

Murakoze Cyane

Papa Diouf
Country Director


Our programmes in Rwanda

In Rwanda, 45% of people live below the poverty line and more than 80% live on less than £2 a day. It is a youthful population, with about 79% aged under 35, and 40% younger than 14. About three quarters of the population depends on agriculture for their livelihoods, whilst nearly a quarter live in extreme poverty, and many more struggle with food insecurity and malnutrition.

Many households are headed by women, children, and/or people with disabilities, who bear the burden of poverty. Although Rwanda has the highest proportion of female MPs in the world (62%), gender equity for ordinary women in rural areas is still a long way off. People with disabilities, who constitute about 5% of the population, are often not considered in decision making and have poor access to services, particularly education and social protection.

But change is happening fast. In order to achieve its Vision 2020, Rwanda has made rapid strides in its Economic Development and Poverty Eradication Strategies (EDPRS) – to which VSO made significant contributions (including making disability a key theme).

VSO believes that in order to transform Rwandan development, we must:

  • Ensure access to quality basic education (early years and primary) for ALL children
  • Improve access to services and participation in decision making for the most marginalised social groups (e.g. people with disabilities)
  • Enhance the skills and employability of Rwandan youth in an inclusive environment  
  • Strategically promote national volunteering to allow young Rwandans to make career choices through volunteering   


VSO Rwanda supports the priorities of the Ministry of Education (MINEDUC) to improve the quality of basic education. The government has successfully increased the number of children attending primary school to about 95%. However, enrolment in pre-school education is still very low, and teacher training at this level is poor.

We recruit education professionals with backgrounds in primary school teaching and learner-centred teaching practices, education management and leadership, to support our work in teacher training, head teacher mentoring, teaching resource development and contributing to national policy dialogue.

Children in Rwanda
Tackling the teacher shortage in Rwanda - read blog 

Social inclusion and governance

One of the impacts of the 1994 genocide was an increased number of people with a range of disabilities, including physical disabilities, visual and hearing impairments and mental health trauma. There is real political and social will to realise the rights of people with disabilities, but resources and technical capacity remain a challenge.

Through VSO Rwanda’s social inclusion and governance programme, we aim to:

  • Ensure disability is mainstreamed into development processes at national and local levels
  • Build the capacity of civil society representatives of people with disabilities to support their members in decision making processes
  • Improve quality of and access to services for people with disabilities

VSO recruits volunteers with skills in advocacy, organisational development, inclusive education and special needs education, and in specialist service areas including sign language, audiology and speech therapy.

Teaching children with disabilities in Rwanda
Changing lives, changing attitudes: A special needs teacher in Rwanda  - read blog 

Livelihoods and youth

VSO Rwanda aims to contribute to improving agricultural productivity and income diversification at household level, primarily in rural areas. In doing so, we will focus on promoting youth livelihoods, particularly of people with disabilities and women across some of the poorest regions of the country.

Our current programme spread is modest. We are targeting cooperatives to pilot and learn from different locally-agreed income generation activities. We have an ambitious strategy to increase our reach and maximise links with our other programme areas. 

National volunteering, gender and climate change   

VSO believes in the value of volunteering to meet development goals. This is particularly pertinent given Rwanda’s strong volunteering culture. We aim to improve the work-readiness of young Rwandans graduating from schools through national volunteering and work experience programmes. We also support the government’s technical and vocational training initiatives to improve youth employability.

Finally, gender analysis and equity are key pillars of our education, disability, governance and livelihoods programmes.

Contact us

If you wish to get in touch with VSO Rwanda, please contact our team at:

VSO Rwanda
Commercial Building N.273, Umudugu, Imihigo village Kimihurura, Gasabo, P.O. Box 4599, Kigali, Rwanda | Plot N.KG 625 Street 12 Office: + 250 788 300 940

Find out about volunteering

By volunteering abroad with VSO you get to put your skills, energy and personal qualities to work helping people break out of poverty. Interested in volunteering abroad?