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Moving Forward: Implementing the 'Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children'

CARE Rwanda's Nkundabana Programme

Focus 4: Protection and support for child-headed households

Christian Action Research and Education (CARE) Rwanda’s Nkundabana approach provides a community-based solution to the overwhelming problem of child-headed households. Challenged by the impact of civil war, genocide and HIV/AIDS, Rwanda is confronted with one of the highest percentages of orphans in the world. Communities already overburdened by social fragmentation, loss of labour from the HIV/AIDS pandemic, and crippling poverty are unprepared to provide care for the children left behind. Even the capacity of extended family members to absorb orphaned children often reaches its limits; and frequently children are left to their own devices.

The Nkundabana model mobilises adult volunteers from the community – Nkundabana – to provide guidance and care for children living in households without adult support. Trained and supported by CARE in counselling, active listening, and life skills instruction, these volunteers provide the best alternative for children with no adult family members available for guidance and care. By making regular visits, Nkundabana has supported children to attend school or seek medical assistance, as well as provide an important emotional outlet in the form of psychosocial support.

Learning from the project suggests the Nkundabana model provides a foundation for establishing economic and food security and a basis from which advocacy and child protection functions can be initiated.  

For more information see:Lessons Learned: a model for community-based care for orphans and vulnerable children – Nkundabana

International Social Service, Oak Foundation, SOS Children's Villages International, unicef, ATD Fourth World, Better Care Network, Family for every child, ngo group for the crc, PEPFAR, RELAF, Save the Children, USAID