Rwanda has made remarkable economic progress since the 1994 genocide. Per capita incomes rose from US$140 in 1994 to US$343 in 2007. Rwanda’s macroeconomic performance has been good in recent years, despite major constrains. Between 2001 -2008, growth averaged 6.8 percent annually. However, food insecurity remains a significant threat in Rwanda, which is a low-income, food-deficit and least-developed country, ranked 167 of 182 countries in the 2009 UNDP Human Development Report.
High population density and growth have led to deforestation, soil erosion, landscape and decreased agricultural productivity. At least 22 percent of households (2.2 million people) are food-insecure, and another 24 percent are highly vulnerable to food insecurity. Food utilization is also a problem, as reflected in high levels of maternal and child malnutrition in many parts of the country. Over 50 percent of children are chronically malnourished, while one child in four is underweight.
The Government of Rwanda, through the Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS) for 2008-2012, gives high priority to the creation of improved safety nets for the poorest and the most vulnerable people. The Government plans to launch a national school meal programme, which links directly to the Education Sector Strategy (ESSP). In the recent finalized retreat, food security and nutrition are among the twelve priorities identified by the government for 2010.
Rwanda is one of eight pilot countries for the One UN “Delivering as One” initiative. The ONE UN programme focuses on five strategic thematic areas: governance; health, HIV and population; education; environment and sustainable growth and social protection.
WFP is working to connect farmers in Rwanda to markets through the Purchase for Progress initiative. Learn more
In 2010, WFP is targeting around 540,000 people for food assistance across Rwanda. Last year, WFP reached 535,000 people with food supplies.
In 2009, WFP provides food assistance to 58,000 refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as 10,000 Rwandan refugees returning home. Food-for-work projects for badly affected communities also help to create vital assets such as terraced land, dams, new tree plantations and improved roads and housing.
WFP also supported 6,000 malnourished pregnant and lactating women for six month before and after delivery under MCHN programme and 17,000 malnourished children under 5 years through a supplementary feeding programme. A project to provide rabbits to health centers is designed to improve protein levels in daily diets. Kitchen gardens established at health centers contribute to improve household dietary diversity and built food security to reduce dependency on food assistance. To ensure improved adherence to anti-retroviral treatment by people suffering from HIV/AIDS, WFP provides patients with corn-soya blend (CSB), oil and sugar, to be served as porridge.
Every school day, 300,000 primary school students receive a hot lunch in 300 schools dotted around the most food-insecure parts of the country. WFP is working to strengthen government capacity in managing the Rwanda’s school meals programme. WFP will gradually hand over school meal responsibilities to the government with a full phase-out expected by 2012.