Gimbuka is a USAID-funded project implemented by Caritas Rwanda, its main objectives in eleven districts between 2012-2020 was to improve the nutritional status, to strengthen the wellbeing of orphans and other vulnerable children and their families and to empower Adolescent Girls and Young Women (AGYW) to prevent new infection to HIV/AIDS and Sexual Gender Based Violence through DREAMS initiative.
It was implemented in Gatsibo, Rwamagana, Gicumbi, Kamonyi, Muhanga, Ruhango, Nyamagabe, Nyaruguru, Karongi, Ngororero and Rutsiro districts, and has closed out its activities in 7 of them. It remained in Gicumbi, Kamonyi, Karongi and Rutsiro plus 3 new districts from western province (Rusizi, Rubavu and Nyamasheke).
The project worked and collaborated with the government of Rwanda through the social cluster ministries (MoH, MIGEPROF, MINALOC) and their related institutions RBC, NCC and NECDP and other development partners to implement the holistic interventions and initiatives that improve the nutrition status of pregnant and lactating women and the children under 5 years old; build self-resilient communities; empower women and support the most affected Orphans and Vulnerable Children and their families.
Through its investments, Caritas Rwanda /USAID Gimbuka aims at improving the health and nutritional status of Rwandans in order to accelerate Rwanda’s progress to middle income status and better quality of life through sustained growth and poverty reduction.
The program built the technical capacity of decentralized government structures, the service providers and operationalized different community structures including Internal Saving and Lending Groups, Farmer Field Schools, Community Based Nutrition Schools, Home Based ECD groups to promote nutrition prevention, to rehabilitate moderately malnourished children and to improve household food security and livelihood. Lastly, the program organized safe spaces to empower Adolescent Girls and Young Women (AGYW) to prevent new infections to HIV/AIDS.
The Gimbuka nutrition interventions were focused on strengthening Community Based Nutrition Program activities through Growth Monitoring and Promotion (GMP) of children under 5 years and other integrated activities such as education sessions and counseling to pregnant and lactating mothers, cooking demonstrations sessions using locally foods, rehabilitation of moderate malnourished children (MAM) using 12 days Positive Deviance Hearth sessions and referral of several acute malnourished children (SAM) to health centers for advanced treatment.
The Gimbuka Economic strengthening was oriented on building beneficiaries’ economic resiliency through Internal Saving and Lending groups (ISLGs) that blends attributes of the formal financial system (reliability, systematization, and transparency) and the informal (convenience, localness, frequent small transactions, and flexibility).
Caritas Rwanda continuously engaged its local governments and catholic church partners through joints visits of activities, organizing and holds clusters meetings with all of them for sharing implementation progress, challenges and way forward and participating in JADF meetings and open days.
Gimbuka project joined forces with other Community Health and Improved Nutrition (CHAIN), a platform initiated by USAID for all its funded partners working on Health and nutrition for experience and lessons learnt exchange, sharing success stories and combined efforts throughout the implementation for activities cost effectiveness.
All the achievements are to be maintained so that people can always benefit from them. Some of them are: 273 Farmer Fields School (FFS) and 1370 Internal Saving and Lending groups (ISLGs) established in the 7 districts, 12926 Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) who have been supported with school materials and 70101 pregnant and 105510 lactating women reached by integrated nutrition ECD and WASH messages.
The trained health facilities staff and Community Health Workers will continue to apply the knowledge and skills to tackle malnutrition in all its forms.
The district officials and other stakeholders in the community are advised to continue use for the community interest the trained volunteers in different areas covered by the program but also the decentralized Caritas organs will continue to work closely with local Government authorities to continuously uphold Program initiatives and ensure replication effects within the community.