Rwanda caught in aid dilemma

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Rwanda - Official website /IRIN, 27 October - One of Rwanda's main dilemmas is the belief that the country is no longer in need of humanitarian aid when "many people" still suffer from food insecurity caused by drought or, paradoxically, heavy rains in March and April, the UN humanitarian agency OCHA reported on 30 September.

In its most recent review of the affected population in the Great Lakes area, OCHA reported that heavy rains had destroyed large swathes of crops. As a result, the World Food Programme (WFP) predicted that food shortages would worsen in Gikongoro province. 

The worst rain-affected districts were Nshili, Kivu, Rukondo and Musebeya where over 2,000 ha of potatoes, peas, beans and maize were damaged. In other districts of the province - Kinyamakara, Karama, Karambo and Nyamagabe - "chronic food insecurity, as a result of poor soils, has exacerbated food insecurity", OCHA reported. 

WFP plans a three-month emergency food distribution of 13,000 mt to 267,000 drought affected-people in the south, OCHA reported. 

The plight of children remains a concern for Rwanda where OCHA cited a recent study by the Association for Cooperation and Development Research that found 13 percent of all households are headed by children; some 10 years old. 

They have taken over families of up to six children because their parents have either died or been imprisoned, OCHA reported. Furthermore, girls are often sexually abused while boys often engage in crime.

- HIV/AIDS, the 1994 genocide and the mass incarceration that followed are cited as the main causes of this grave situation, OCHA reported.

The UN development agency (UNDP) has initiated a pilot micro-credit project to reduce the socio-economic effect of HIV/AIDS. The money would, OCHA reported, support 45 low-income organisations run by HIV-infected or affected persons. US$ 60,000 has already been allocated to 19 organisations, it added.

- It is hoped that the grant system will also provide a platform for community discussion and greater analysis on how to minimize the effects of HIV/AIDS, it added, "whilst at the same time bringing together infected and non-infected individuals to help erode the perceived stigma attached to the disease and to seek common strategies on confronting it."


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