Rwanda: Red Cross Movement scales up to prevent spread of COVID-19 in communities

07 May 2020

The Rwanda Red Cross Society as an auxiliary to the Public Authorities, with the support of International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC); and National Societies, partners (Japanese Red Cross, Belgium Red Cross_FR, Belgium Red Cross_FL, Spanish Red Cross and Austrian Red Cross) are scaling up to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in communities across Rwanda.

"Everyone has a part to play in making Rwanda free of COVID-19," said Apollinaire Karamaga, the secretary-general of the Rwanda Red Cross. "We want to make sure that people are empowered with accurate information to protect themselves and their families from the virus.

The Rwanda Red Cross volunteers and field staff are working in all districts to share information with communities on how COVID-19 is spread. These efforts are complimented by a mass media campaign on Rwandan radio networks and banners, posters, and leaflets distributed nationwide. 1800 hand washing stations will be set up in public places and in two refugee camps, Mahama and Nyabiheke respectively.

In addition, 70,000 protective equipment materials (masks and gloves) will be provided to the Rwanda Red Cross staff and volunteers across the Country to facilitate and ensure a level of safety in their work within communities.

"The impact of COVID-19 in Rwanda is still unfolding and we are committed to working with our partners at the Rwanda Red Cross to curb the spread of the disease, while also ensuring that the work that we did together prior to the outbreak can continue safely," said François Moreillon, the ICRC's head of delegation in Rwanda.

"COVID-19 will affect everyone, but the most vulnerable will suffer its effects most. A rapid and collective response is urgently needed to halt the spread of this virus. The IFRC remains fully committed to supporting the Rwanda Red Cross community-based response," said John Roche, the IFRC's head for East Africa.

The decreed lockdown left behind enormous consequences and disturbed the livelihood of communities. Rwanda Red Cross with the support of its partners is distributing food items to these communities in need. 8900 households have already received this kind of aid. After this phase, we expect to reach more than 5,000 households.

The ICRC and RRCS are committed to continue supporting separated families through restoring family contacts and reassuring their loved ones especially during this difficult period, without putting the community, our staff and volunteers at risk.

For more information, contact:

Niyitegeka Placide, Head of Communication Unit, Rwanda Red Cross +250788534612

Karungi Linda, Communication Manager, ICRC Rwanda +250 788314782,

Euloge Ishimwe, Communication Manager, IFRC Africa +254 731 688 613

Stephen Ryan, COVID-19 Communication Coordinator, IFRC Africa +353 85 725 4114