The coalition of 4 organizations namely: Strive Foundation Rwanda (SFR), Rwanda NGOs Forum on HIV/AIDS and Health Promotion (RNGOF on HIV/AIDS & HP), Health Development Initiative (HDI) and Ihorere Munyarwanda Organization (IMRO) with funding support from the European Union (EU) met on 22nd June 2020 at G.S KAGUGU to launch a project on Improving the lives of Vulnerable Populations including LGBTI Community, Sex Workers, Young mothers, vulnerable families with children under 5 years with emergency supply of food and hygiene materials to survive the lockdown by COVID-19 in Rwanda.
The project comes to further the governments’ stringent measures, in the wake of COVID-19, to combat the spread of the pandemic by ensuring all vulnerable populations who are staying at home and whose daily survival was threatened by the pandemic are provided with food and sanitary materials.
The four organizations are aware that children of vulnerable populations under 5 years without proper nutrition increased in the communities during COVID-19. After realizing that COVID-19 aggravates the situation of vulnerable populations living with HIV and TB since they are unable to get essential commodities for their wellbeing as well as sanitary materials increasing their likelihoods to get infected by COVID-19.
The initiative also aims at upholding the CSOs role in contributing to improved lives of vulnerable populations at the community level through advocacy and service delivery.
In the Joint project supported by the European Union, the Coalition of four organizations: Strive Foundation Rwanda (SFR), Rwanda NGOs Forum on HIV/AIDS and Health Promotion (RNGOF on HIV/AIDS & HP), Health Development Initiative (HDI) and Ihorere Munyarwanda Organization (IMRO) will implement the project in the City of Kigali, Rwamagana district and Rubavu district targeting 2000 vulnerable populations and commit to do the following:
1. Distribute food and sanitary materials to 2000 Vulnerable Populations including LGBTI Community, Sex Workers, Young mothers, vulnerable families with children under 5 years worst hit by the COVID-19 lockdown.
2. Improve on nutrition of the vulnerable groups in the City of Kigali, Rwamagana and Rubavu Districts within the next three months.
3. Raise awareness among the targeted beneficiaries on methods to prevent new infections of COVID-19, HIV and TB co-infections.
The coalition of 4 organizations have been working together since 2010 to improve the legal environment of Key population especially in decriminalization of Female sex workers and MSM from the Rwanda Penal code; and currently trying to end stigma and discrimination faced by the key population at the community level.
In response, the coalition has been contributing to the government’s call to support vulnerable populations affected by COVID-19 with food items to survive the lockdown.
The coalition also has been disseminating relevant information on social media channels (Whatsap groups, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube) sensitizing communities on COVID-19 symptoms and prevention.