Since 2005, SOS Children’s Villages Rwanda initiated the Family Strengthening Programme. The community empowerment programme aims to support vulnerable families in their capacity to protect and care for their children. The program prevents family separation which is among the root causes of child abandonment and strengthening the safety nets for vulnerable children and their families within the community.
Vulnerable families are strengthened economically through activities such as entrepreneurship training, income generating activities, Village Saving and Loan Associations (VSLA), kitchen gardens, animal husbandry, a rotational cow distribution scheme and environment protection.
They also receive psychosocial support and are trained on positive parenting skills, conflict management and child rights. Facilitating legal marriages is one of the activities around child rights advocacy contributing to the reduction of family conflict and is usually associated with birth registration of children.
Furthermore, the program offers youth vocational training and adult literacy and facilitates access to existing social services in the community.
The family strengthening programme, funded by German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) is implemented in the districts of Gasabo, Gicumbi, Kayonza and Nyamagabe.
Since June 2020, SOS Children’s Villages Rwanda extended the family strengthening program to the districts of Kamonyi, Kicukiro and Bugesera. In addition to support vulnerable families with economic empowerment and positive parenting skills, the program supports teen mothers, child headed households and builds capacity of community-based child protection structures and child protection actors.