An ihuriro is a collective community effort to achieve something practical for households. The name derives from the Kinyarwanda verb 'guhura' meaning 'to meet'. Traditional examples are for ihuriro members to work together on each member's land in turn and similar systems for rotational cash saving, transport for sick people, caring for elders or rebuilding a house. Ihuriro are based on the tradional cultural values of reciprocity and solidarity and are self-organised.
ACORD in Rwanda supports the ihuriro in using this tradition to discuss and take collective action on issues such as soil erosion, land rights, HIV and AIDS, gender or conflict. The approach has empowered ordinary citizens to be aware of their rights and exercise them, to interact with local government and shape policies and practices, and above all, to implement livelihoods initiatives in order to achieve food sovereignty. Find out more about the Ihuriro approach by watching the video below produced by ACORD Rwanda!
Areas of focus
ACORD has been working in Rwanda since 1979, implementing a wide range of projects geared towards poverty reduction and challenging exclusion and discrimination. Empowerment of civil society has been at the core of the programming. The current strategy focuses on strengthening the livelihoods of rural populations and their capacity to advocate for their rightsand achieve food sovereignty. To this end, ACORD is implementing the following projects working with 114 ihuriro and local partner organisations across Rwanda combining practical activities with advocacy.
Women`s land rights: improving knowledge and awareness of land rights and policies, supporting women in securing land ownership and increasing production through improved farming techniques, inputs and sustainable land preservation.
Child headed households: building solidarity, care and protection for child headed households within their communities and improving their access to housing, education, health care, space for expression and debate, and safe opportunities to earn money.
Internal and external mainstreaming of HIV and AIDS for ACORD and partner organisations, knowledge exchange and management and lobbying and advocacy activities.
Stop EPAs: raising awareness and campaigning on trade negotiations affecting Rwanda, as part of a project to build the capacity of civil society in East Africa to participate in public policy debates.
Where we work
ACORD works in six districts across the country: Musanze in the North-West, Gicumbi in the North-East, Kirehe in the East, Bugesera in the South, Kamonyi in the center and Ngorerero in the West.
View ACORD in Rwanda in a larger map
Communities in Rwanda tell their stories
Nyirahabimana is a 38-year old widow, and lives in the district of Murambi, province of Umutara. Her husband died in 1994 and left her with 3 children. Working as a policeman for ten years, he had been a member of a social security fund scheme. Nyirahabimana tried to claim the benefits but was unsuccessful. In 2002, ACORD started working with women and girl-headed households and she was among the first people to submit a complaint. A lawyer, hired to follow up the case, assisted her in obtaining the marriage certificate, children's birth certificates, death certificate for her husband, and her husband's work certificate. Afterwards, she accompanied her lawyer to the social security fund offices to deposit her documents. She was successful and is now receiving a monthly benefit of 3,500 francs and her children receive a lifetime benefit of 1,800 francs each. This income enables her to improve her family basic needs.
Our partners in Rwanda
ACORD in Rwanda works in partnership with organisations and groups who share our aims, values and people-centred approach. ACORD has played a key role in the emergence of several of the most active civil society organisations in Rwanda including ARDI, ARAMET, DUHAMIC and CCOAIB. On HIV and AIDS issues ACORD is working in partnerships with CNLS (National Commission for the Fight against AIDS), TRAC, the NGO Forum on HIV and AIDS and the Network of People Living with HIV and AIDS. ACORD has established a coalition on land rights composed of Action Aid, Haguruka, Pro Femme, Reseaux de Femme, RISD and Rwanda Women's Network.
ACORD has received valuable support from international donors, including the Big Lottery Fund (UK), CCFD - Terre Solidaire, Comic Relief (UK) CUTS (Consumer Unity and Trust Society) International, the Dutch Government's FLOW programme and Oxfam.
Photos, videos and publications
Bananas against poverty in Rwanda
Hope for child-headed households
Putting small-scale farming first:
Improving the national agriculture investment plans of Burkina Faso, Burundi, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Tanzania
African women and girls at the grassroots - their say on their world post 2015
Women's voices from citizen-driven workshops on the post-2015 framework held in 13 African countries
How you can support communities in Rwanda
Financial donations and in-kind support to ACORD's Rwanda Area Programme go a long way in providing support to the work with ihuriros, reintegration of child-headed households and community empowerment strategies. These act as crucial capacity building factors for successful implementation of our projects. Commitments and ownership by communities themselves to sustain their own facilities ensures that our programmes have a lasting impact on their livelihoods and their development.