About Rwanda
Discover this country's culture, history, and more

Communities in this country:


Geography and people Rwanda sits just south of the equator on the African plateau. Although it is the second smallest country in Africa, Rwanda is the most densely populated with more than 900 people per square mile.

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  • Population
  • Land mass
    10,169 sq. mi.
  • Life Expectancy
    64 years
  • Under Age 5 Mortality Rate
  • Literacy Rate
  • School Enrollment
  • Access to Safe Water
  • Average Annual Income (GNI)

US Comparison to Rwanda

Rwanda United States
Land Mass
3,794,083 sq miles
Life Expectancy
64 years
78 years
Infant Mortality
Literacy Rate
School Enrollment
Access to Safe Water
Average Annual Income
Statistics from UNICEF & World Factbook

  • According to UNICEF, there are about 100,000 children living or working on the streets in Rwanda, a legacy of war and genocide.
  • Over 80 percent of the population lives in rural areas and depends on subsistence agriculture to meet their basic livelihood needs. Unfortunately, soil erosion and decreasing agricultural productivity have caused food insecurity among families.
  • 65.7 percent of Rwandan households surveyed indicated experiencing a period during the year when they do not have enough food. This means that only 34.3 percent of Rwandan households have year-round access to sufficient food.

Child Sponsorship

Through sponsorship, World Vision is partnering with families and communities to help meet immediate needs and promote lasting changes that will strengthen communities and move families toward self-reliance.

Each year sponsors receive updates about their sponsored child and their community. Sponsors also learn about the child's continuing activities and new accomplishments so when they correspond with their child, they can encourage them in their education, hobbies and endeavors.

The commitment of World Vision sponsors helps provide children with love, hope, and opportunities for a healthy, productive future. May God bless sponsors as they make a lasting difference in the life of a special child.

World Vision in Rwanda Today

World Vision is committed to partnering with the people of Rwanda to improve their lives today and to help enact sustainable solutions for the future of their children, families, and communities. World Vision’s child sponsorship program plays a vital role in this partnership, with donors from the United States sponsoring more than 28,100 girls and boys. In addition to sponsorship, World Vision operates other programs that benefit communities in Rwanda. Highlights include:

  • Rehabilitating over 1,000 malnourished children and distributing medical kits to various health centers.
  • Distributing school materials and assisting students with school fees, enabling children to continue their education.
  • Partnering with large corporations to increase access to clean water.

World Vision History in Rwanda

World Vision assistance to Rwanda dates back to 1976; an office opened in response to the 1994 genocide.  Since then, some of World Vision’s major accomplishments have included:

  • Partnering with local churches to feed starving and malnourished people and assisting refugees from neighboring Burundi with food, medicines, tents, and blankets in the late 1980s.
  • Helping refugees fleeing from genocide and ethnic violence by providing them with health services, food, agricultural assistance, emergency relief supplies, and counseling since the 1990s.

Geography & People

Geography and people

Rwanda sits just south of the equator on the African plateau. Although it is the second smallest country in Africa, Rwanda is the most densely populated with more than 900 people per square mile.

Known as the “land of a thousand hills,” Rwanda contains grassy uplands and mountain ranges. The climate is temperate and with cooler temperatures in the mountains.

Natural resources include gold, tin and tungsten ores, methane, hydropower, and arable land. Most Rwandans work in agriculture for a living, growing coffee, tea, bananas, sweet potatoes, sorghum, and beans, as well as raising livestock.

The ethnic heritage of Rwanda is 84 percent Hutu, 15 percent Tutsi, and 1 percent Batwa. Although the Hutus and Tutsis are considered two separate ethnic groups and have a long past of ethnic conflict, many similarities exist. They speak the same language, have a history of intermarriage, and share much of the same culture.

The official languages are Kinyarwanda, French, and English, with Swahili often used in commerce.


Belgium took control of Rwanda in 1916 and ruled indirectly, leaving the Rwandan monarchy system in place. In 1959, the Hutus overthrew the Tutsi king, killing thousands of Tutsis and exiling nearly 150,000 more over the next few years. Freedom from European control came when Rwanda won independence from Belgium in 1962.

The Rwandan Patriotic Front, a group of Tutsi exiles, started a civil war in 1990. One of the worst genocides in history happened during the war between April and July 1994. In 100 days, the Hutu-led military and a militia group killed close to 1 million Tutsis and moderate Hutus.

When the Tutsis later defeated the Hutu military, more than 2 million Hutu refugees fled to neighboring countries in fear of retaliation. Nearly all public systems and health services in the country collapsed.

After the genocide, Rwanda restored democratic presidential elections in 2003. In 2009, Rwanda helped the Congolese Army fight Hutu rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Prayer Requests for Rwanda

Please pray for:

Continued improvement in the quality of education.

Abundant harvests so children will have enough food. Currently, 44 percent of children under age 5 have stunted growth due to malnutrition.

Community News

Thanks to the generous support of our sponsors, World Vision was able to work alongside communities to accomplish the following in 2014.

Christian Commitment

  • We partnered with local churches to teach children and their families about the love of Jesus Christ and the importance of caring for others.

Economic Development

  • Community members formed savings groups with our help, providing savings accounts and small business loans for people who otherwise wouldn't have access to basic financial services.

Food and Agriculture

  • We equipped farmers with training, seeds, and livestock to help them grow more food and increase their incomes.
  • To reduce malnutrition, we facilitated nutrition education programs, helped families start gardens, and worked with local health partners to treat malnourished children.


  • Community healthcare workers were trained to identify and treat common illnesses such as pneumonia and diarrhea and to promote maternal and child health.
  • Community care coalitions, health workers, and church leaders were equipped to provide care and emotional support for people affected by HIV or AIDS. We also trained peer educators to raise awareness of HIV prevention among young people.

Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene

  • Together with community members and the local government, we built water systems such as pipelines and water tanks to improve access to clean water for families, schools, and health centers.


  • The most vulnerable children received scholarships for school fees so they could stay in school.
  • Community volunteers and Parent Teacher Associations were trained to strengthen the quality of education and reduce the dropout rate.

Child Rights

  • Child protection committees and children were trained in child rights and how to respond to incidents of child abuse.

If you have any questions or need help with your My World Vision account, please call: 1-800-678-2168