The Secure Livelihood Program seeks to empower and build the capacity of women, girls, and orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) by improving their socio-economic conditions through a secure livelihood program which includes the following projects:

Giving Hope

Giving Hope focuses on building the capacity of youth (12-25 yrs old) who have become the primary caregivers of their households. The project uses an empowerment methodology designed to enable youth to develop confidence in their own ideas and skills while finding spiritual, psychological, and physical strength by uniting with others in the same situation.

The Giving Hope methodology utilizes working groups which are made up of OVC heads of households. These function as psychosocial support networks where they are able to set up mutual support systems and savings and credit cooperatives. In Plans/Dreams Drawing for the Future, OVCs are encouraged to take control back of their lives by creating a plan for the realization of their dreams and goals. Trainings that directly correspond to activities identified by group members in their group plans are provided to working groups. This training is provided to OVC group leaders for sharing and dissemination amongst the other group members.Through income generation initiatives, the Giving Hope Program provides seed grants to individual working groups to use as a base from which microloans are administered to support individual household income-generating activities. With loans ranging from 25 USD to 75 USD, OVC heads of households can finance small businesses such as growing/selling produce, raising livestock, tailoring clothes, and the manufacture of handicrafts. Reforming community bonds, Giving Hope strives to reintegrate orphans and vulnerable children from the margins of society back into the mainstream by registering their groups with local governments, as well as with any existing banking/finance structures, cooperatives and training institutes. Advocacy, on-going sensitization and mobilization are provided to leaders and community members to respect OVC’s voices and ideas as equal and productive members of the community; and to engage community leaders in the identification of community resources that can contribute to the realization of OVC group and household plans. Self-Sustainability, The ultimate goal of the OVC Giving Hope Program is to build the capacity of the working groups to the point at which they are self-sustainable and no longer need the support of Church World Service. More experienced members train new members themselves and the communal micro-finance fund continues to grow along with the working groups as the interest collected on the small business loans cycles back into the fund.


The USAID funded HIGA UBEHO (Be Determined and Live) Project started in 2009 in order to build resilience among the most vulnerable populations of Rwanda. Through interventions at the household, community, and civil society levels, the ultimate aim is to lessen the impact of HIV and AIDS on orphans and vulnerable children, resulting in greater prosperity and stability for Rwanda. The project supports orphans and vulnerable children (OVCs), helps Rwandans to respond to needs of their communities, empowers households, and promotes civil society organization to deliver services in a transparent and effective manner. In 2013 YWCA Rwanda joined Global Communities, Catholic Relief Service and the local partner organizations in the implementation of the HIGA UBEHO Project. YWCA Rwanda started the implementation of the HIGA UBEHO Project in Kayonza District in August, 2013 and operates in the four sectors namely Mukarange, Kabarondo, Ruramira and Nyamirama.

The project has three main components including: economic strengthening: 175 integrated saving and lending groups (ISLGs) are formed with a total membership of 4,254 with nearly 80% of members are female and for facilitating the program’s activities, 44 community volunteers, both male and female, were selected and trained to facilitate ISLGs; food Security: YWCA Rwanda has formed 41 Farmer Field Schools (FFS) with a total of 1217 beneficiaries who receive information and training about different Bio-Intensive agriculture techniques to help them enhance food capacity in households supported by the program; then nutrition component with which over 620 members benefit from nutrition interventions. Through forming “Positive Deviance Health” groups, over 2,500 children under five have been identified as direct beneficiaries due to the increased knowledge of nutrition and support that families receive through this initiative. 141 students from Abahizi households have been given TVET scholarships.

Sweet potato Action for Security and Health in Africa (SASHA)

YWCA Rwanda is implementing SASHA Project since 2010 in partnership with International Potatoes Center (CIP), Catholic Relief Services (CRS), Rwanda Agricultural Board (RAB), Urwibutso Entreprise to support 12 groups of farmers focusing on promoting the varieties of sweet potato enriched with vitamin A, for purposes of lessening the vitamin A deficiency. SASHA Project is a Sweet Potato Action for Security and Health in Africa which has the main objective of developing a sweet potato value chain based on farmer group formation, with farmer selling roots, partially processed or fully processed products by SINA enterprise or other outlets. We work in Southern zone especially in Muhanga and Kamonyi where we have 12 farmers groups which have 262 farmers as direct beneficiaries among them 184 are women and 78 are men.

This Project started in 2011 to end in 2014. We have reached 4786 farmers as indirect beneficiaries by giving them vines. For the moment, our farmers are able to produce good quality of vines by using Net tunnels. The methodology components include farmers’ groups formation, farming skills trainings (primary sites, tunnels/multiplication, farming, harvest), linkage to processor, processing methods and nutrition education.

Youth Employability in Informal Sector (YEIS) project

YWCA Rwanda is implementing Youth Employability in Informal Sector (YEIS) project. It is a project funded by European Commission that aims to contribute to the elimination of poverty amongst youth (16-30 years) dependent on the informal sector in Rwanda. This is a four year project and it started in February 2015 and it will be phased over in February 2019. The objective of the project is intended to be achieved by conducting evidence-based advocacy for a more appropriate legal and policy framework and its efficient implementation.
The project targets to improve the situation of 8,000 youth (70% women) in the informal sector by increasing their technical, financial and entrepreneurial skills, ensuring access to information and financial and business services, facilitating beneficiaries to unite in Voluntary Savings and Loans Associations (VSLAs), cooperatives and trade unions, and enabling them to take steps towards the regularization or formalization of their activities. We work in western zone in NYABIHU, RUBAVU and NGORORERO from where we have 137 VSLA groups composed of youth between 3429 and 4110 as direct beneficiaries among them 70% are women.

The project will also build the capacity of youth in informal sector, increasing their finance, linkage with MFI, facilitating in creation of cooperatives and also assisting in the flow of formalization of their businesses.


Young Women’s Christian Association of Rwanda (YWCA Rwanda) in partnership with Catholic Relief Services and SNV is implementing the “USAID Gikuriro Program” in Ngoma District from September 2016. The USAID Gikuriro Program is a five year project that aims to improve the nutritional status of women of reproductive age and children under five with an emphasis on the 1,000 day window of opportunity from pregnancy until a child’s second birthday.
USAID Gikuriro Program components are mainly: Nutrition through the implementation of CBF&NP and Village Nutrition School approach, agriculture through Farmer Field Learning Schools (FFLS), economic strengthening through Savings and Internal Lending Communities (SILC), hygiene and Sanitation through the implementation of CBEHPP and behavior Change activities.
In Ngoma District implementation is in the 14 sectors that make up the District but the first year of implementation began with four pilot sectors namely Zaza, Rukumberi, Sake and Jarama with a target of scaling up to the ten remaining sectors.