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Sustainable Livelihoods in Rwanda

Cooperative members in seedling nursery (Credit: Aurelie Marrier d'Unienville / Oxfam)

At a glance

Improving livelihoods for smallholder farmers through engagement with government and private sector.


Launched in 2015, this five-year programme is based in Rwanda, supporting small and medium enterprises. Using a value chain approach, the programme aims to  improve household income and to create more opportunities for smallholder farmers. Through the adoption of agricultural technology and a favourable policy environment,  the programme will enable value chains to increase both incomes and scale.

The programme is focusing on nine districts:  Kirehe, Nyagatare (Eastern province), Rulindo, Musanze, Gakenke (Northern province), Rubavu (Western province), Kamonyi, Muhanga, Nyamagabe (Southern province). The programme implements activities through local partners including private enterprises, local civil society organizations, universities, youth associations and groups, and others. At the national level, the programme works with various stakeholders from the public sector, donor community, private sector and district authorities. 


Over five years, the sustainable livelihoods programme aims to achieve the following main outcomes:

Growth of small and medium-sized enterprises that increase income and employment for poor women, men and youth

through mobilizing enterprises to adopt successful business models and improved agricultural techniques/approaches, and training women and youth in entrepreneurship and financial literacy.

Enhanced enabling environment for inclusive market-based livelihoods, agricultural and small and medium-sized enterprise development, benefiting the poor, especially women and youth, through working with allies and supporting authorities to enable women entrepreneurs to benefit from certification. This includes supporting the Rwanda Standards Board to develop locally affordable Ethical Standards Policies.

Government is more accountable and responsive to citizens and civil society, with more bottom-up decision making on agricultural development. The programme will increase awareness of existing laws that protect the rights of women, and of international and regional protocols on women's rights. Poor women and girls will be supported to speak out on their rights and be able to hold their leaders accountable. Specific legislation/policies that will be targeted include the Cooperative Business Model Reform and the Agricultural Planning Framework and Participation of Small Farmers.

Women are effectively engaged and empowered in economic activities and in making decisions on the creation and use of household resources and income. The programme will train women and men on these issues using a community-led empowerment methodology developed by Oxfam. Recognizing the unequal burden of unpaid care work on women compared to men, the programme will also develop business solutions to address women's time poverty.

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