‘Hoe kijkt coördinator Pascal Habimpano terug op het project

De partner vertelt... van 15 september 2022 door Pascal Habimpano

Elk jaar vragen we onze partner hoe het project is gegaan en welke lessen de partner heeft geleerd.

Context and summary

Describe the original plan/idea for the project. Has the project been executed as planned?
This project came to realize community members' dream to have an early childhood education centre for their children. Initially, Help a Child supported them to establish one classroom then it became overpopulated with children. The parents contributed some money and bought more space around the one room with the hope to increase the enrollment capacity. In 2020, the World Servants set up team visited the area and saw the need for the project which was picked up by one of the World Servants teams. This team of 40 participants were able to travel to Rwanda (one participant couldn't due to a health condition) by August 1st 2022 and departed from Rwanda on August 19th 2022 when the building was almost done. The building was handed over to Help a Child Rwanda to do the finishing, and enroll the first children who are expected to use the facility by October 2022.

Give a (short) general description of the implementation of the project.

The project was implemented by the World Servants volunteers from the elevation of walls to the roofing. A few local masons and helpers were part of the project and stayed on the project to do the finishing. Community members came and worked on the project, first while laying the foundation and second together with the Dutch youth. The project included other components of children program which was done two hours every day (20 hours in total), life skills program for teens which was done three days (2 hours each day) and the football for water done with students in primary and secondary schools for three days (2 hours each day). In addition to these major components, the participants conducted a number of home visits, played a football game with the local team, attended the national harvest day (umuganura), and participated in a traditional dance event organized at the site.

How do you look back on the following topics? How was it arranged, what went well, what could be done better?


Buildings worked on
The main building composed of three classrooms was the focus. Three new classrooms were built from foundation then the old classroom was renovated for office and kitchen use.

Tasks to be done

Help a Child is cleaning up the project and preparing for a full opening of services by October 2022.


Children program
Children did ten sessions and one more closing party. Each session consisted of a theme from which a Bible story and, activities and games were selected. Children learnt facts about the Netherlands, learnt some Dutch songs and words, did coloring, and drawing. A primary school teacher, together with Louis Pascal (World Servants projects coordinator in at Help a Child) helped with translation.

Cultural and touristic outings
The team attended the national harvest day (Umuganura) which was hosted by the local administration office. They also participated in a traditional dance event where they learnt a few dance steps, carrying a basket on the head, drumming and a Kinyarwanda song. The team also played one football match with the local team which was a draw of 1-1. The Sector leader together with a Rwandan who is fluent in Dutch presented a history of Rwanda on one evening, and the World Servants Projects Coordinator at Help a Child (Pascal) presented the work of Help a Child in Rwanda on another evening. The team conducted one safari in Akagera national park on one Saturday. The park was located within a two hours drive. Participants saw most of the BIG FIVE animals and other exciting features. In addition, the team visited Kigali Genocide memorial, the Campaign Against Genocide Museum and Kigali craft market.

Life Skills program and Football for Water (also include the amount of tranings given and the number of people from the community actively involved in training).

The life skills program and the football for water were done on three days and each session lasted for two hours. The life skills program was done by a group of 20 teens (boys and girls) at the site. The footbal for water was done by a group of 30 students but many more people (about 100 people every day) would come to watch and benefited from the information on WASH shared by the World Servants.

Cooperation and involvement

Leadership team World Servants
This project was led by Tjitske Van der Zee, a wonderful lady together with other six leaders. The leadership was very responsive to the needs, collaborative with the Rwandan team. The deliverables were made clear every day and the leaders were quick to adapt the plans whenever changes were inevitable. The Dutch youth demonstrated trust for the team's leadership especially in the last days of the project when many were getting tired and sick.

Local leaders / key persons
The mayor of the District welcomed the team on the arrival, and came to bid goodbye at the handover ceremony. The Sector executive delivered a presentation on the history of Rwanda, and came to visit the participants at the site each week. Other local leaders (the cell leaders and the village leaders) conducted community mobilization especially during activities which involved cultural exchanges such as Umuganda, football game, traditional dance, football for water and life skills program.

The community were very hospitable to this group. They came to help lay the foundation as they prepared to receive the team and came to work together with the Dutch youth the first day of building. Many community members came at the site at other specific occasions (arrival, traditional dance, goodbye dinner, handover ceremony, etc.). The presence of the community members was a big boost to the Dutch youth who felt their contribution was taken seriously by a community that was willing to collaborate and own the project.

Children are the direct beneficiaries of the project. Around 150 children were at the project site each day for 11 days and once the facility is ready for use, about 120 children are expected to be served at the ECD centre every year.

(Local) authorities
The local authorities were present during the project, and their support to Help a Child team was incredible.

Facilitation of the team


The participants slept in classrooms. Double beds were used in both boys and girls rooms which helped to use only three classrooms for beds otherwise the host primary school was new and lacked infrastructure. The bathrooms were built in the each of the classrooms next to dormitories by using temporary sheeting structures. Electricity was installed in most of the rooms before the team arrived. Since there was no clean water at the site, every week a vehicle supplied tap water at the site which was used for cooking, drinking, bathroom and cleaning.

Food was good both in quantity and quality. A local restaurant was hired to provide restaurant services. However, most participants got sick towards the end of the project. The symptoms included diarrhea, vomiting, and lack of appetite. The symptoms would last for one or two days. The leadership team together with Help a Child team conducted an assessment of the cause but direct linkages could not be established between the health condition and any of the WASH services. However, Help a Child staff suspected the water which was fetched from a distance and brought to the site by a vehicle container. The container's hygiene could not be completely verified because the vehicle was only hired on a part time basis.


Help a Child hired two buses to transport the participants from airport to the hotel, from the hotel to the project, from the project to the national harvest day venue, from the project to Akagera national park, and from the project to Kigali as well as other trips in Kigali. On a daily basis, one pick up was hired to be at the project site everyday. The pick up was used to fetch clean water for the kitchen, and to transport participants (those who could not walk) to different venues in the community.


The team was generally safe both at the project site, and at other locations in the country. Safety is generally guaranteed on the Rwandan territory. Transport is safe and at a speed limit of not more than 60km/an hour. Crime rate is very low and theft is not an issue. However, the location of the project was not a suitable one. The dormitories were located just in the middle of the village and there was no fence to separate the team from the community members. Most of the rooms didnot close including dormitories and restaurant. Although the safety has not been an issue in general, two music boxes got stolen during the morning hours, and Help a Child staff couldnot track them. As the search did not reach any positive outcome, it was assumed that they were taken by someone who was employed at the site (cleaners, cooks or security guards).

Lessons learned
This project was well organized by both the World Servants and Help a Child. All major objectives were achieved without any struggle. However, lack of clean water and the poor infrastructure at the host primary school were big challenges. Help a Child had to do too much cleaning of the site which made the expenses to go beyond the budget by a small margin. In the previous projects, similar issues were encountered but it was always possible to bridge the gap because there was overspending on some lines but also underspending on other lines. However, because of the inflation, prices are going higher making the normal budget tighter than ever. In the future, Help a Child will be able to make better plans for facilitation bearing in mind the lessons learnt at Karambo project. The World Servants have transferred the funds in time, and the leaders coordinated the project very well. The support from the World Servants has been very timely and relevant. However, the World Servants might consider to increase the budget of the projects because of the ongoing inflation.