The journey so far

What we have achieved and how we have developed

Rwanda Action was founded in 2008 by David Chaplin under the name Rwanda Aid, which reflected the needs of the community at that time.

By working closely with the community, and listening and learning, we are developing the most effective ways of relieving poverty. We are placing increasing emphasis on rigorous monitoring and evaluation. That way we can demonstrate value for money and we are also well placed to encourage the community and government to adopt and run with our initiatives. This is the best way of ensuring scale and sustainability.

From the start our purpose was to relieve the burden of poverty and suffering in the south west region of Rwanda.

Providing Homes

In the aftermath of the earthquake in 2008 we re-housed over 50 families.

Farm Training

Recognising that in this area the majority of families survived on subsistence farming, we developed a training programme designed to help the families farm their small plots of land more productively.

To date we have trained over 2,000 families who are now able to eat better, afford health insurance and equip their children for school.

We have encouraged the development of livestock and have given over 900 animals, the first offspring of which are passed on to other families.

Tree Nurseries

We saw the importance of encouraging the growing of trees to provide fruit, timber, firewood and fodder, as well as prevent erosion and enrich the soil.

To date we have supported 130 tree nurseries and given over three million tree seedlings to over 23,000 beneficiaries.


Important as these interventions have been, we shared the Rwandan government’s conviction that this small, hilly, densely populated country could not depend simply on an economy based on agriculture.

We determined to support quality education for all.

To date we have built 72 new classrooms to the UNICEF child friendly standard. We replaced old, wooden structures with brick-built airy classrooms.

With these classrooms we have built 14 toilet blocks and washrooms. We replaced unsanitary toilets with safe facilities and improved provision.

Teacher Training

Whilst accepting the importance of well-appointed and well-equipped classrooms, it is vital that these are staffed by good quality teachers. This is why we have initiated and developed an in-service training programme.

To date we have trained 250 school-based mentors benefiting over 750 teachers and over 35,000 schoolchildren.

Vocational Training

We have also promoted vocational training by building a centre on Nkombo Island and sponsoring over 1,000 students.


Determined to help students convert the knowledge and skills they have acquired into income generation we have supported over 30 enterprise groups with 880 beneficiaries.

Street Children

In all that we do we have been determined to include those on the margins of society.

We built and ran a centre for street children called Baho Neza Mwana, which is Kinyarwanda for a good life for children.

The centre supported 214 boys on a short-term residential basis, 85 boys on a “day” programme and 118 girls with training until its closure in December 2020. We have built on the success of this approach and our emphasis is now on identifying vulnerable families and working with them in their communities to avoid children having to live on the streets.


We have supported a centre for children with disability, which has provided residential support for over 400 children many of whom have been able to access mainstream schooling.

The Future

Whilst we are very proud of all that has been achieved, and very grateful for the amazing support that has made it possible, we are always looking to learn and improve.

The recent lockdown has provided us with the opportunity to think very carefully about what we are doing.

One decision we have reached is to change the name of the charity from Rwanda Aid to Rwanda Action. We feel this better reflects the way in which we work in partnership with the community and the government, and delegating day-to-day work to our excellent team of Rwandan managers.

Our focus will remain on empowering people to help themselves.

Finally, we are only prepared to consider interventions that are backed by substantial, rigorous evidence. This allows us to demonstrate beyond doubt the efficacy of our programmes. There is no better way of persuading the community and government to adopt and run with our initiatives and thereby ensuring scale and sustainability.

To explore our current and future projects, please click here

Formerly Rwanda Aid, we are a charity that is empowering communities to reduce poverty in Rwanda

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