Let’s Play Fair – Rwanda

Why Rwanda

Girl in RwandaIn Rwanda, women and girls are not only deeply affected by the persistence of harmful gender norms, but they are additionally burdened with the residual effects of the 1994 ethnic genocide. During these tragic months, Rwandan women were subjected to sexual and repressive violence on a massive scale, the effects of which still contribute to the country’s pervasive gender gap. Post-genocide recovery efforts still exist today with an emphasis on education, reconciliation and stability.

Kids Play Rwanda Coaches

The Kids Play Rwanda (KPR) team is made up of five men and eight women. Specifically recruited to be caring adult role models, nine of these Coaches are local school teachers across our three partner schools, which helps to seamlessly embed ownership and programming into village life.

Kids Play Rwanda Players

In 2018, Kids Play Rwanda had 146 Let’s Play Fair players per season, on average. Of these players, genders ranged from 60-70 percent girls and 30-40 percent boys. The players participated in 162 sessions and over 324 hours of programming.

Our Impact

“Since joining KPI, my son has taught me how to respect others, cooperate with others, share opinions with others and the importance of focusing on the bright future of my kids.” – Nkzinizaza, father of Khimwe

“Sometimes girls must take risks to get the same opportunity as boys. We need to create a safe environment for girls and women to take risks. KPI is a safe place to practice taking risks.” –KPI participant

KPI has been working in Gatagara, Rwanda since 2012. Each year, participation and impact increases exponentially. While the majority of programming targets girls and boys, we also engage with parents, caregivers, teachers, local leaders and other custodians of behavioral norms.

In 2018:

  • 45 young women received monthly menstrual sanitary pads and over 2000 menstrual health products were distributed
  • 17 players were selected as Youth Leaders in Development (YLD) for 2019 programming preparation
  • 151 players and students received health insurance coverage
  • 75-80 students were given free school lunches throughout the year

Only through such holistic, long-term community engagement can we achieve true gender equity for the next generation of Rwandan girls and boys.

Kids Play Rwanda Programming

Kids Play International has been working in one such rural community, Gatagara, since 2012. Here, in addition to the typical poverty related challenges, girls contend with pervasive gender inequality that permeates all facets of their daily lives. Impeded by negative gender stereotypes, rigid domestic responsibilities and cultural expectations, girls and women lack access to education, reproductive health care, and participation in the country’s growing economic system.

Shifting such deep-seeded norms requires sustained commitment and interaction. Recognizing that there are no shortcuts to behavior change, KPI has elected to work deeply within a single rural community over an extended period of time. Youth from partner schools Kaganza, Mwanabiri and Nyarotovu enter the program at age seven and stay engaged through age eighteen, when they “graduate.” This unique, long-term, and deep interaction has proven to advance leadership skills and build sustainable gender equitable behaviors in participants and the broader community.

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