Kids Play Rwanda

Gatagara, 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 11 Coaches (4 men and 8 women. Specifically recruited to be caring adult role models.  

Kids Play Rwanda Players

 Kids Play Rwanda has 200+ Let’s Play Fair participants. Of these players, genders ranged from 50-60 percent girls and 40-50 percent boys. The players participate in 7, six week seasons with over 324 hours of programming annually.

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.  KPI is a safe place to practice taking risks.” KPI participant

KPI has been working in Gatagara, Rwanda since 2010. 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 programs are delivered in a the rural community of Gatagara. 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.

Let’s Play Fair: A weekly mixed gender program designed to promote inclusion/equity, through, applied learning sports activities, conversation and positive interaction based on our 5 Play Fair skills. Players/coaches spend time together in a microcosm of their community, interacting and learning from one another and when ready take what’s learned inside our program and share it outside; School, Home, Community.

All Girls United: A program for our 13-18 year old girls, that meet for monthly sessions and annual camps to provide additional space/time to delve deeper into key issues of sexual reproductive health, menstrual hygiene management, gender-based violence, negative gender stereotypes, financial literacy, education, and career planning. This program is necessary because girls’ health is often stigmatized and shamed, whereas boys’ health is not. Girls need a space to learn, grow and feel empowered.

Play Fair Community Day: Programming that happens every Sunday from 330-5pm. This gives our KPI youth an opportunity to share what they learned from that week’s program with those youth not in our program. – CD also includes special events that include educational sessions around Health/Hygiene, GBV, Importance of Education, etc. that all community members, especially parents are welcome to join in on. 

Healthy at Home: This newly developed, parenting education program will utilize sport and play-based learning to help parents address mental and behavioural issues, while promoting parent-child communication and relationship building skills. Select joint parent-child sessions will create opportunities for practicing positive parenting behaviours. 

Happy Hours: Weekly drop-in community “Happy Hour” sessions, create a forum for discussing social-emotional issues, past traumas, parenting challenges and accessing counselling services. These drop-in sessions will be open to the community and help us strengthen emotional support and serve as referral pathways to further support for members of the entire community.




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