Project #8757

strengthen hand washing to 800 children in Rwanda

by Rwanda Village Concept Project(RVCP)
teaching session with volunteers
teaching session with volunteers


Amazi ni isoko y’ubuzima is a Kinyarwanda sentence “mother tongue of Rwandans” which mean “water is the source of life”.This is a sentence that is well recognized by many Rwandans during different education sessions
and campaigns related to Hygiene, water and sanitation practices and their importance on our daily life.

The sentence is also retained by MATYAZO primary school students at the completion of their hygiene and sanitation education sessions during the academic year of 2012 where the activities of Hygiene, water and
sanitation program of Rwanda village concept project were working as a target group for its project of Hygiene and sanitation education among primary school students.

During the academic year of 2012, Volunteers from RVCP at MATYAZO primary school which have around 1,000 students, covered different topics on hygiene practices promotion. Among these topics we have hand washing
practices promotion among primary schools students, body hygiene, home materials hygiene (dishes,jerican,..),school materials and class hygiene, latrines cleaning, water management and respiratory hygiene practices. Students also learned how to share information and skills gained among their family
members and other children from their villages in order to become ambassadors of hygiene, water and sanitation promotion practices.

Different methods were used to educate students on those different topics. Printed materials to provide children information on hygiene and sanitation, posters, flayers, songs and group discussions on topics covered.
Nowadays students are in their final exams to end their academic year and activities at the target group are now closing and they will start the academic year in January 2013 where the project will start the new primary school as a target group.

All things have not gone well during the activities implementation in this academic year. Normally the academic year of all students from Rwanda started in January of each year and end in starting November but now it changed for universities and colleges where they ended the last academic year in July 2012 and start the new 2012-2013 academic year in September 2012 which disturbed the way activities conducted as volunteers from RVCP who
implement hygiene, water and sanitation activities are national and international university students. To resolve the challenges the organization is preparing how the implementation of different sessions and topics to be
covered in different classes at the next new target will be marched with the academic year of volunteers and the target primary school students.

“Clean hands with soaps save live”

Alex, Lucien, and I after an education session
Alex, Lucien, and I after an education session

While I lived in Rwanda for 8 weeks, having the most incredible experience of my life on GlobeMed's GrassRoots Onsite Work Internship, I was fortunate enough to visit the Hygiene Program with the program's director, Lucien Nzayirata. In addition to being a student studying Agriculture at the National University of Rwanda, Lucien is in charge of ensuring that the Hygiene Program runs smoothly throughout the year. As he described to us, the Hygiene Program strives to educate local villages about proper and healthy hygiene, choosing one primary school per year where volunteers in the program will help to teach education sessions about hygiene. Volunteers in the Hygiene Program also visit the homes of many of the children's families and conduct at home education sessions. At the end of the academic year, RVCP volunteers select four families from those they visited and build a toilet at each home, giving the family the chance to have a happier, healthier, and more hygienic home. 


I accompanied Lucien to a local primary school to observe an education session. The children, whose ages ranged from about 7-12 years old, were very enthusiastic to learn and to respond to what Lucien was describing. Lucien spoke energetically and did a fantastic job of engaging the children about various topics, such as how to properly store water, how to handle foods to be cooked, and how to maintain proper personal hygiene with regards to Rwandan etiquette. The Hygiene Program at large develops a manual of information to disseminate amongst its volunteers who teach education sessions so as to standardize and regulate the information given to the students and their families.


I was very impressed both by how well Lucien's messages seemed to be received by the kids and also by how great of a teacher Lucien was. By reaching out to rural primary schools, actively engaging these children at a young age to follow proper hygenic practices, and attempting to spread hygenic knowledge and capacity to their families, RVCP is truly making a difference in the lives of rural Rwandan families through its Hygiene Program.

Lucien teaching primary students about hygiene
Lucien teaching primary students about hygiene


the project activities which are teaching sessions at primary schools on hygiene,water and sanitation especially on hand washing at critical moments,home and school hygiene,body hygiene,cloths ...are the main topics which are covered in each class for student in order to maintain the good hygiene standards and health in general.

the project have finished teaching sessions at nyanza primary for 2011 academic year where volunteers discussed the hygiene and sanitation with about 800 students including 2012 academic year the project will continue to educate hygiene ,water and sanitation at the other schools up to october at the end of academic year ,the teaching sessions had begin in january at the beginning of the academic year 2012 .

students,staff and parents of students from MATYAZO PRIMARY SCHOOL which is the new school where the teaching sessions are being done are very happy for the initiative of volunteers from hygiene,water and sanitation program who will be with them for this period of the 2012 academic year while increasing the awareness on hygiene and sanitation,"we will learn more on hygiene and sanitation from you" said the headmastress of the school.

Over the last few months, we have been unable to continue this project due to lack of funds. Our ultimate goals are to provide an educational program for a total of 2400 children that will teach them proper hygienic techniques for hand washing and maintaining clean water and to install water systems in the three schools that will improve the children's access to clean water. We are also currently undergoing a change in the leadership of this project so establishing a secure, more permanent system for those in charge of this project has been our top priority over fundraising.

We are hopeful that over the summer, when the Grassroots Onsite Work Interns from GlobeMed at the George Washington University arrive, we will be able to work with them in order to assess what else can be done to bring back more awareness of our project to the George Washington University and the United States at large. During the time in which the Grassroots Onsite Work Interns are in Rwanda, we are also planning on learning more about social media networking so that we can better spread our message and goals through sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and Wordpress. We will also be learning about grant writing opportunities so that we can maximize the potential for fundraising and get this project off of the ground.

School sanitation and hygiene education at Nyanza primary school

Responsible assigned: pacifique NDAYISHIMIYE (hygine, water and sanitation director/RVCP 2011)

Participant: hygiene, water and sanitation members, BVDA volunteers,GLOBEMED volunteers,rike

Place: Nyanza primary school (Huye sector, huye district:

Date: 2011

5.2.1. Activity overview

Nyanza village is a small village in the Huye district of Rwanda. The population is 627 and there are 155 houses in the village. Of these, about 70% are made up of women and children only. The only water source for the village is a stream, which is situated 3km outside of the village and, as the majority of the villagers do not own any means of transport, they have to walk this daily to collect water.

This means that often families do not have enough water therefore practicing good hygiene is difficult. This leads to a prevalence of hygiene related diseases, especially intestinal diseases such as diarrhoea. The village coordinator has a family of 6, and he told us that in the past year every member of his family had suffered from diarrhoea.

Furthermore, as a large proportion of the population are female and children, whom are typically responsible for collecting water, many hours are spent collecting water, which could be devoted to more productive activities such as education or work.

Nyanza primary school which is located in Nyanza village has 594 pupils and 10 staff at the school, and potentially the 627 people in the nearby Nyanza village. The activities of hygiene and sanitation teaching sessions was targeted to students from 4th year to 6th year of  Nyanza primary school where they made 12 classes because 2 classes for each year and then times 2 because some come in the morning and others in the afternoon.

The activities of hygiene teaching session in schools are done each year on one school chosen depending n the vulnerability of the school. As said before Nyanza primary school has 594 pupils and 627 people where most of them are children. The school does not have clean water which make the student to not practicing the hygiene. The teaching sessions which we covered at school are personal hygiene, hand washing with clean water and soap, respiratory hygiene and home hygiene. This was so difficult teaching sessions because the school did not have water at school where student used to walk about 6km a day to fetch water to clean their classroom and latrines but to wash their hands it was difficult to find water which marked the teaching sessions to be complicated because there was no necessary manual while educating. During the teaching sessions we used different methods where RVCP members and IPs for the time where they are there, educating them on different topics that we talked befor,distribution of posters of hygiene education related, using songs of hygiene education related and games.

The teaching session was done each Wednesday of each week means that it is once a week except the holidays. After identifying that Nyanza primary school do not have water and that this problem can be one that limit to meet hygiene standards ,we tried to collect all data and we written a funding proposal to provide clean water to the school so that students ,staff from the school will benefit from it to ameliorate the hygiene and sanitation ,but not only members of the school will benefit because Nyanza villages will also benefit from the water which the school will be obtained .the fundraising for the activities of water provision have to be started soon(December 2011). 

5.2.2. Inputs: -money for transportation of volunteers to nyanza primary school for teaching session

           -posters to use while teaching students

           -Teaching manuals on different topics covered during teaching session.

           -Transportation while collecting information and data to write proposal on water for nyanza primary school, this done in nyanza village and at nyanza primary school and online research on hygiene and sanitation.

5.2.3. Outputs:

-Increase of knowledge and skills on hygiene, water and sanitation for 12 targeted classes during the period of implementation.

-students gained the importance of washing hands at 3 criticl moments.

-Information have been collected on hygiene and sanitation situation in nyanza village and specifically in students from nyanza primary schools.

-the funding proposal was written

-in coming years there will be the reduction of low hygiene related diseases like diarrhea, dysentery.. For participants of the sessions and their family in general.

-Clean water will be provided to the nyanza primary school for hygiene improvement.


5.2.4. Challenges:                    -poor communication between RVCP members and IPs and lack of communication between students, teachers and IPs.

-          Holidays which meet with the period of project implementation.

-          Low teaching materials, not updated and few teaching materials to give to students after the teaching education sessions.

-          Insufficient fund to implement directly what we seen that have to be improved and this lead to stop by there without corrected because lack of means.

-          Time table of exams and courses which correlate with the time of the activity and miscommunication between RVCP members and IPs.

5.2.5. Risks:-Time of activity and exams happen at the same period.

           -Lack of students because not been communicated before.

5.2.6. Suggestions:

-improve the communication between RVCP members and school learders.

-increase the training of RVCP members and IPs.

-prepare teaching materials at time and discuss it to all members and IPs during internal meetings.

-Increase the number of partners to help RVCP conduct different activities that identified at the field while conducting normal activities in the program.

-conduct the evaluation of activities to assess the sustainability of the program.



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Organization Information

Rwanda Village Concept Project(RVCP)

Location: Huye, Southern province - Rwanda
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Huye, Rwanda

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