A fast-changing country
Small, landlocked and with a population of nearly 12 million people, Rwanda is a densely populated east African country. Most people are farmers, and agriculture is the mainstay of the country’s economy. The population of Rwanda is rural and young – about 43% of its people are under 15. Nurturing and inspiring this new generation is vital. The current Government has focused on political stability and economic growth. This has seen substantial improvements for the people, but more still needs to be done.
In the last 20 years, political instability has led to over 150,000 people leaving these countries and settling in refugee camps in Rwanda. The Rwandan Government and aid agencies work to provide basic services for people in these camps, but everyday life is still a struggle and access to electricity is scarce.
Our work in Rwanda focuses on energy that transforms and farming that works, drawing from our experience supporting energy access for people in refugee camps and our international work.
Practical Action launches new phase of Renewable Energy for Refugees project in Rwanda
Our change ambitions in Rwanda
Energy that transforms
Lack of access to energy stops refugees from being able to rebuild their lives and keeps them reliant on aid. The average displaced household will spend at least $200 per year on fuel, which amounts to $2.1 billion each year worldwide.
We’re working with local partners and the Rwandan Government to help refugees access finance, training, technology and expertise to facilitate renewable energy that can power homes, schools, health clinics and businesses. This clean, renewable energy is powering lighting, cooking and power tools and appliances, allowing entrepreneurs to flourish and move from reliance on aid to economic independence.
In Rwanda, we’re working with 50,000 refugees in five refugee camps. These refugee communities have fled the civil war and internal conflict. In three years’ time, we expect there to be total energy access within the refugee camps and surrounding host communities.
Farming that works
Agriculture is a primary economic activity in Rwanda and one of the most strategic sectors for the country’s development. Drawing from our expertise in sustainable farming that works for the people and the planet, we aim to support food security and generate better incomes for smallholder farmers in rural communities, which compose 70% of the population engaged in the sector.
This year, we will be developing and implementing a strategy that brings together our experience working with communities in Rwanda and the learnings from our offices in Africa, Asia and Latin America. We will be working on viable and scalable agro–ecological options that will support smallholder farmers to increase income from on and off-farm enterprises while improving food security for the majority of the households.
We’ve been awarded the Zayed Future Energy Prize in recognition of our pioneering approach to renewable energy and sustainability.
Funding partners for our work in Rwanda include:
- IKEA Foundation
- People’s Postcode Lottery