“KEEPCARE Rwanda focuses on four (4) principal programme to support its mission”
- Socio-economic empowerment
- Social protection
- Research and advocacy
- Socio-economic empowerment Programme
KEEPCARE Rwanda aims to increase the economic productivity of vulnerable teenagers in the community and improve their livelihoods through sustainable income generating activities. It involves providing entrepreneurship development and capacity building activities to the vulnerable teenagers in the community; rehabilitating teenagers involved in prostitution, drug abuse, unwed teen mothers, and adolescent infected and affected with HIV/AIDS and preventing others from engaging in such risky behaviors. Key programme activities include vocational training skills and support for other business income generating activities (IGAs).
This programme focuses on adolescent girls because they struggle with widespread poverty, limited access to education or low performance due to barriers created by gender based violence. Adolescent girls are among the most economically vulnerable groups, significantly more so than adult women or adolescent boys.
Adolescent girls typically lack access to financial capital and have more limited opportunities to gain the education, knowledge, and skills that can lead to economic advancement. Adolescent girls often lack social support, and community social norms can create barriers to their economic advancement. Economic empowerment can be a critical lever for change in adolescent girls’ lives, helping them to gain financial independence, establish good saving habits, and improve their future prospects for participation in the labor force. It can also provide girls with more mobility, promote their confidence, strengthen their social networks, and improve their health outcomes. As adolescent girls’ lives improve, so does the well-being of their families and communities.
The following figure shows the way intervention is done to improve the lives of vulnerable girls.
- Psychosocial programme
KEEPCARE Rwanda provides psychosocial support to place and maintain vulnerable teenagers (Unwed teen mothers, teen infected and affected with HIV/AIDS and survivors of violence) in stable and supportive family and community environments. Psychosocial care and support activities for vulnerable teenagers follow the principles of child and lifespan development. The factors of poverty, illness, conflict, neglect and abuse can all affect a teenager’s psychosocial wellbeing. In addition, as a result of HIV and AIDS, teenagers may experience multiple mental disorders such trauma, depression and so on. Most of the vulnerable teenagers lost their parents, other experienced violence and exploitation, stigma and discrimination, isolation and loneliness, and lack of adult support and guidance. KEEPCARE Rwanda through this programme provides counseling and psychotherapy to help the adolescents overcome these problems and restore life and self- esteem.
KEEPCARE Rwanda provides the following psychosocial Support Activities:
- Support families to effectively meet teen mothers, teenagers affected and infected with HIV/AIDS and GBV survivors’ psychosocial needs and care for them in their own communities.
- Integrate psychosocial support activities into community and foster support groups for parents, families, community opinion leaders and caregivers.
- Support mentorship programs for teenagers affected by HIV/AIDS. Mentorship programs can lessen grief and positively affect psychological outcomes, especially for teenagers without an adult caregiver.
- Address specific psychosocial support needs of teenagers.
- Strengthen social welfare services and promote community prevention protection and support strategies for teenage pregnancy and sexual gender based violence.
- Develop an evidence base of psychosocial support interventions that support unaccompanied teenagers.
3. Social protection Programme.
KEEPCARE Rwanda creates conditions to enable vulnerable teenagers to realize their aspirations and rights and allow them to thrive. It focuses primarily on:
- Individual vulnerabilities within the household,
- The introduction of human resource-intensive components, coordination and alignment of various forms of social support in the public and private sphere,
- New opportunities to rethink and redesign programs to maximize the inclusion and empowerment of teenagers, particularly the most excluded and invisible, such as unwed teen mothers, affected and infected with HIV/AIDS, unaccompanied and those ones with disabilities and albinos.
KEEPCARE Rwanda operates into the following 4 forms of intervention to deliver and ensure social protection:
- Social assistance for teen mothers, teenager affected and infected with HIV/AIDS, albinos, unaccompanied and disabled teenagers;
- Income enhancement through activities including life skills, vocational and entrepreneurship training for teenagers, and access to credit through microcredit opportunities;
- Transformative addressing of social inequity and exclusion through awareness campaigns, stigma reduction campaigns, and policies and laws to prevent and protect vulnerable teenagers;
- Preventive measures to avert poverty such as shelter and nutrition issues, and safeguard health, including sexual and reproductive health, HIV/AIDS and sexual gender based violence against girls.
KEEPCARE Rwanda‘s interventions recognize the importance of education, gender equality (prevention of sexual Gender based violence), rights and protection of vulnerable teenagers.
KEEPCARE Rwanda ensures that vulnerable teenagers, especially those in poor households and unwed teen mothers, complete primary and secondary education and includes funds to support informal expenses associated with schooling, such as access to food, and a safe, caring and nurturing home environment. This social protection programme ensures the vulnerable teenagers’ right to education; although it recognizes that each individual context may affect her decision to continue her education.
The programme focuses on prevention and response to gender based violence through community sensitizations, increasing the awareness and knowledge on GBV and providing support to survivors. The cultural norms around gender equality also are key factors to cause problem with teenager girls; early marriage, teen pregnancy, school dropout, and of course gender based violence. KEEPCARE Rwanda provides more capacity building to increase the knowledge and skills around gender and behavior change.
Rights and protection
Teenage pregnancy is a big problem; the new born (kids) are sometimes not recognized by the fathers and rejected by their mothers. KEEPCARE Rwanda supports the unwed teen mothers to register their children at the civil status office and get birth certificates. The legal advocacy for recognition of the child by the father is done. Gender Based Violence (GBV) survivors are supported to get legal support and the perpetrators are punished by the law.
4.Research and Advocacy Programme.
The main objective of this programme is to conduct research, surveys and assessments on the life of vulnerable teenagers and the impact of interventions done.
KEEPCARE Rwanda gives a voice of voiceless. KEEPCARE involves policy makers, Opinion leaders, Non government organizations, Government and other Stakeholders through, lobbying, mobilizing and building alliances and networks with them and put in place proactive vulnerable teenagers sensitive policies and strategies that address teenage pregnancy issues and sexual gender based violence.