Rwanda: Tougher Approach Needed for Street Children School

Rwanda: Tougher Approach Needed for Street Children School
The New Times (Kigali)

12 June 2008
Posted to the web 12 June 2008


School of Champions, a newly established rehabilitation and vocational training facility for former street children situated in Rwamagana, is already experiencing problems.

Sponsored by a continental NGO – African Evangelistic Enterprises – the project intends to save street children from destitute life. By so doing, the school will also take some burden off the foster homes that feed the school.

Understandably, the challenges the school is faced with in just a space of two weeks are related to indiscipline. It is not even a month after starting and the adapted kids are capable of finding their way out to look for drugs.

A journalist who caught up with the lads and inquired into their short experience was largely greeted by lamentation. They complained bitterly of being underfed, confessing their wish to return to the foster homes.

The school administration refutes the children’s allegations of inadequate food, pointing to their complicated past life as a gripping negative influence they will take time to be separated from.

The director of the school also observed that with the children still able to access drugs, crying for more food is expected. The approach used by the faith-based institution leans heavily on persuasion, with little or no coercion at all.

The kids are preached to with the hope that over time the word of God will penetrate deep enough to cause change of mindset to that which appreciates decent current and future life. The first month has been devoted to such intensive teachings.

Perhaps it is too early to have real fears as to whether the objectives will be achieved. Nevertheless, it still might be reasonable considering a mixed approach even at this early stage, say by tightening the school rules.

Sealing the entrances and exits to control unwanted movement of children and commodities is a thing the administration may want to consider. The school may also take a less defensive position and delve into the alleged matters of insufficient food quantities.

It is our view that even as we make the suggestions above, the unenviable task at the hands of the NGO, given the nature of the engagement, must be appreciated.


Saving the street kids of Kigali

Saving the street kids of Kigali
A Canadian program aims to make life a little easier for street youths in Rwanda
Elaine O’Connor, The Province
Published: Sunday, June 01, 2008

Canadian aid worker Jennifer Kamari is pushing her toddler in a stroller in Rwanda’s capital, talking about the challenges of helping the street kids of Kigali, when she’s suddenly approached by two of them.

A ragged girl and boy bleating for money: "Faranga, faranga!"

They look just a few years older than Kamari’s daughter, Isabella. But Kamari doesn’t offer money. Instead, the 37-year-old gives them what she believes is real help: directions to International Teams Canada Vivante Street Kids Association.

She tells them to look for "Jesus Christ" to get there. Those are the blue-painted words on the roof of Vivante Church that serve as a billboard for the city’s thousands of street youth. In this hilly city with so many vantage points, it’s the best way for barely literate children to find safety.

Rwanda has the highest proportion of orphans and child-headed households in the world, according to a 2005 UNICEF report. Many children lost their parents in the genocide; now AIDS is creating more orphans.

In 2006, Rwanda’s minister of gender and families estimated 1.2 million were orphaned and vulnerable. The majority receive aid from charities or were adopted. But a 2002 UNICEF study estimated 7,000 street children lived in Rwanda, 3,000 in the capital alone. Their lives are bleak. In 2004, UNICEF estimated 2,140 child prostitutes were working in Rwanda’s cities. A 2003 UN report estimated 31 per cent of children aged five to 14 were engaged in child labour.

Human Rights Watch has documented mass arrests of street kids, but the government is starting to change its tactics. It adopted a National Policy for Orphans in 2003, set limits on child labour and founded a few vocational schools and safe houses.

But there are still gaping holes for people like Kamari to fill.

She and her Rwandan husband, Serge, began ministering to street kids (mayibobo in Kinyarwanda) in 2004. They met on Kamari’s trip to Rwanda to set up a program for ITC. She’d been working in Elmira, Ont., directing missions in 40 countries.

Serge, 32, grew up in the Congo in a Rwandan Tutsi family, the second of eight children. At 17 he joined the Rwandan Patriotic Front to fight the genocidal militias and was only demobilized in 2005 after finishing university. He was volunteering with Vivante in Kigali when Jennifer came to visit. They married in 2006.

Vivante started by feeding Sunday dinner to youths loitering around the church. Under the Kamaris, the program grew to dinner for 250 street youth aged six to 25, 20 of them girls. They now do twice-weekly dinners and educate, clothe, house and find identity cards and medical care for the kids.

In 2006, they began intensive work with a group of 10 youths, renting a home, teaching remedial classes, paying for vocational school and helping them find work as carpenters and welders.

"They’re unhappy with their lives, but they feel they have no way to change it," Jennifer says. "Each of them has worth. They have talents, they have skills. But to get them thinking that takes a long time. To see the lightbulbs go off is amazing. When they have self-worth, they can make good choices."

En route to Vivante, Serge drives by youths with rags and jerry cans of water who wash down cars and scooters for a few Rwandan francs. They sniff gas and are regularly caught by police, taken to an old factory in Gikondo (used to hold vagrants and prostitutes) and beaten. In 2006, a Human Rights Watch report found one-third of the 600 prisoners here were children. At least one has died in custody.

Some of the youths who have survived the prison sit on a bench outside Vivante’s kitchen and talk about what brought them there.

Emmanuel Bizimana, 25, was born in Butare and lost his entire family, save two uncles, in the genocide. The uncles put him out at 11 years of age. He slept in the bush and worked as a porter. He used drugs, was arrested, beaten and imprisoned four times.

"It is a very difficult life. You are just scared. You don’t know where to get food. The police come and take you to prison or just beat you."

Two years ago, he came to Vivante for a meal. They taught him to read and write. Now he’s living in a house and graduated from Centre des Formations des Gens trades school. He plans to be a welder.

"It is like a miracle to me," he says.

"I feel a responsibility to them to do what I can to bring hope to their life,"Jennifer says. "It’s our job to give them dreams."

On a precipice above the church in a warren of shacks lives one of the Kamaris’ own dreams — an orphan called Nshutiraguma, 15.

He comes to find them in a foster mother’s home one afternoon. He’s run from his Grade 3 class in search of a pen: The only one he owns has run dry. Nshuti arrived at Vivante in January 2007, not knowing his last name or remembering if he’d ever had a family. He began asking for school fees. He was one of the dirtiest kids Jennifer had ever seen.

"He had absolutely no schooling. He had no idea how to even hold a pen," she recalls.

But he passed Grade 1 exams while living on the street. Impressed, they found him a foster home. Last year, he graduated Grade 2, third of 75 kids.

Jennifer thinks he’ll be the first of the street kids to go to university.

"He dreams of being a pilot one day, which is the biggest dream we have ever heard. Somehow we have to be here to see him through."

How to help

To learn more about International Team Canada’s work or to get involved, visit

Rwanda: 300 Street Kids Attend “Ingando”

Rwanda: 300 Street Kids Attend "Ingando"
The New Times (Kigali)

11 May 2008
Posted to the web 12 May 2008

Godfrey Ntagungira

The Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion in the Prime Minister’s Office on Wednesday picked up 330 kids from Kigali streets and enrolled them on a two-week rehabilitation solidarity camp (ingando).

According to the minister, Dr Jeanne d’Arc Mujawamariya, the street children will attend the solidarity camp then they will be facilitated to go back to school.

She said the children will be taught a number of subjects that will include human rights values and the history of Rwanda.

"At the end of the solidarity camp, the ministry will identify those who can be taken back to primary or technical schools and others will get the opportunity join catch-up classes for a while before sitting for primary leaving examinations," she noted.

Rwanda: Computers for Everyone

Rwanda: Computers for Everyone
The New Times (Kigali)

10 February 2008
Posted to the web 11 February 2008

Paulus Kayiggwa And James Buyinza

Much excitement surrounds the arrival of ten computers at a centre adjoining the Remera Catholic School. Children struggle to be the one sitting in front of the new screens.

They are no teachers or supervisors, just children and computers. The centre which was opened in October last year is part of a project run by the ministry of education, in association with Hole in the Wall Education Limited, an Indian organization.

The scheme was initiated in India a few years ago. The researchers behind the project gave no explanations. They just wanted to see what the children would make of the computers. The learning center is part the ministry of education’s initiative of using information and communication technology (ICT) to draw street children into schools. The computers were donated by MTN. The centre is not part of the school but it has served to attract street children into class, explained Hyacinthe Mukantabana, the director of Remera Catholic.

"Because of this learning center, attendance is stabilizing," she said. Children at Ecole Primaire Remera Catholic School expressed their happiness towards the learning center saying that they are lucky to be able to learn how to use computers outside class. Agnes Uwera, 12, says that she had never even seen a computer but now she is teaching herself how to use one.

The computers offer a number of programmes including lessons on hygiene and sanitation, and the prevention of HIV/Aids. There are also games available. The computers are on offer to anyone, there is no fee and no time limit.

Athanase Mugwaneza, a local resident, says that during his leisure time he walks to the centre to teach himself various computer skills required in this modern era of global computerization. "I never went to school but I am now being given an opportunity to teach myself basic computer skills," Mugwaneza said. "We hope to install more computer kiosks to attract street children and some school dropouts join school," Joseph Murekeraho, the state minister in charge of primary and secondary education said in an interview at his offices.

Murekeraho said the initiative was in line with the government programmes of transforming the economy from agriculture based to a technologically service economy. Education minister, Dr. Jeanne d’Arc Mujawamarya, said that the ministry and the Indian government have embarked on an initiative to put up many computer kiosks in all primary schools located in Kigali slum areas, where the number of street children is high.

She hopes that system would prevent street children from descending into a life of crime. Such basic skills could well be their only way out.

Rwanda: Street Children Get New Basketball/Volleyball Court

Rwanda: Street Children Get New Basketball/Volleyball Court
The New Times (Kigali)

26 November 2007
Posted to the web 26 November 2007

Bonnie Mugabe

Right To Play Rwanda has opened a basketball and volleyball court at CPAJ, a Centre for street children based in Kicukiro, Gasabo district.

Right To Play sponsored the contrsuction of basketball/volleyball court to a tune of over Frw6 millions.

The organization’s Country Manager Gningue Massamba told Times Sport that construction of this basketball/volleyball court is one of their programmes in assisting rehabilitation centers.

‘This court would go along way to help them (street children) realize their life careers as well as feel not displaced in their own country.

‘We hope to give them more assistance to acquire and develop life skills through sports and play programs,’ Massamba said.

According to CPAJ Coordinator, Cyprien Musabwa, this court would help the street children to develop their talents as well as act as a pulling factor to other street children who love sports.

‘The construction of this court was meant to develop the careers of some of the street children in this Centre. There are many children here with an abundance of talent in both basketball and volleyball.

‘We have already trained some few individuals and more are going to be taught the basics of the sport,’ Musabwa added.

He noted that engaging in sports helps the street children to pass their spare time rather than them spending it thinking of bad behaviors which would otherwise ruin their lives.

CPAJ, a rehabilitation and street chidren centre was founded by Presbyterian Church in Rwanda in 1998 in thier mission, ‘Street children is a big challenge for the country as a whole’

The center engages in many activities including: joining children and sensitizing to come to the center, sending children to school, counselling the traumatised children, linking these children with their families, supporting children with self-reliance activities and sensitizing them on how to prevent HIV/AIDS.

The center has got over 260 children; the centre is in partnership with different organisations with Right To Play inclusive.

Rwanda takes ICT to street kids


Rwanda takes ICT to street kids

PANA, photo: Lindsay Stark
Rwanda will launch an extensive campaign aimed at taking Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to street boys in the country, its Minister of Education, Jeanne d’Arc Mujawamariya, announced here Monday.
gorilla_trekking _ Virunga volcanoes_Lindsay Stark31.jpg

The project, initiated in Africa by American computer scientist John Negroponte, is aimed at equipping every Rwandan child with a laptop.

According to the Minister, "it is an ambitious project, which aims at attracting street boys to discover and appreciate the advantages of ICT."

She said the project would also lead to a change of behaviour on the part of the boys, resulting in the reduction in the use of dangerous drugs and vices that can lead to HIV/AIDS.

Although the Minister said the laptops would also be given out to children in all primary schools in the country, she did not say when the project would start or how many laptops would be made available.

During last month’s International summit on ICT, designated "Connect Africa" which was hosted in Kigali, representatives of major computer firms and top government officials set for themselves the goal of ensuring internet access to every African in 2012.

At least US$ 300 million will be invested in projects which will promote Information and Communication Technology in Africa, according to a communique issued at the end of that summit.


Rwanda: ICT to Attract Street Children to Schools

Rwanda: ICT to Attract Street Children to Schools
The New Times (Kigali)

12 November 2007
Posted to the web 12 November 2007

James Buyinza

THE Ministry of Education has started an initiative of using Science and Technology (ICT) to attract street children to school.

Education minister Dr Jeanne d’Arc Mujawamarya has said that her ministry and the Indian government have embarked on an initiative that would use computers to entice street children (Mayibobo) in Kigali City to go to school.

While speaking to journalists at the Prime holdings on Friday, Mujawamariya said that they have constructed two computer kiosks at Kacyiru and Remera Catholic Primary Schools, which are already attracting many street children.

Mujawamariya said that the ministry plans to put up many computer kiosks in all primary schools located in Kigali slum areas, where the number of street children is high to enable them exploit the opportunity they had missed.

She said that would help street children who would have become dangerous to the public attain basic skills for the development of the country.

"Street children are not dull but lack opportunities like this, to be able to engage in development activities," she explained.

The computer packages for these children will include personal hygiene, sensitisation of masses about the dangers of HIV/Aids and prevention, ways of controlling malaria and games.

Dr Mujawamariya explained that there will be a camera situated at the ministry to monitor all the children using these computers.

She added that they would be able to know the statistics of people using that service.

The ministry is expecting a high turn up of street children going to school as a result of the programme, she said.

Rwanda: From Street Child to Professional Marketer and Music Instructor

Rwanda: From Street Child to Professional Marketer and Music Instructor
New Times (Kigali)

19 October 2007
Posted to the web 19 October 2007

Florence Mutesi

Street children playing on the road. Their lives can change when a Good Samaritan helps them.

Well-known gospel musician Gilbert Ngaira walked a thorny path to success. Abused as a child, he ended up living on the streets, but through determination and luck, has pulled himself up and pursued his education as well as his love of music.

Now a respected musician and university student in Kenya, Ngaira shares his thoughts on his past struggles, current success, and future possibilities in this interview with The New Times. He was recently on a study tour in the country to market their university.

Can you introduce yourself to our readers?

I am called Gilbert Ngaira. I am 24-years-old, I come from a town called Eldoret, about 250km from Nairobi. I am in my second last year at Daystar University studying marketing.

I am the firstborn in my family, with three brothers and 2 sisters.

The two oldest of us are of one mother, whom we do not remember. Our mother divorced when I was two-years-old, and my brother was only three months.

Due to the growing up without love and care of a mother, we left home for street life, which street life we also left after finding the love and care we longed for. By the time we were old enough to remember, we found a stepmother, who is a mother of the other four.

Can you tell me how you ended up on the street?

I left home in 1993, I was 12-years-old, in primary 5. I left with my brother who was ten. We stayed on the street for 4 years. What drove us to the street was mistreatment at home.

Things were ok for us before, our stepmother treated us well, but then things suddenly changed negatively. She started denying us food, falsely accusing us of doing bad things, and we could be beaten without reason.

In the morning, we could have breakfast when dad was there, but at lunch time not eating was a sure deal because in most cases, dad was not there. Supper depended on the presence of dad.

For a while we could only eat if our dad was there. In most cases dad did not know what was happening to us Dad was also a church person, thus absent most of the time. We suffered a lot.

I could not cope with my mum, as a result I sought somewhere I could find love and peace, and the only option was the street, where I could stay with fellow children. My brother and I made a decision at once and left home to live on the street.

After leaving home we went to the nearest shopping centre, and interacted with the street kids because we knew them.

But they could not easily accept us. Street kids in Kenya live in groups, each with a leader, and no one would accept us to join their group.

We had to form our own group of four. It was my brother, me and two new children we met who also had no group. I became the group leader. The other two were younger than me but stronger physically.

How did the groups work?

Ngaira: We looked for things to help us survive on the street, like things to use at night. We would look for sacks to cover ourselves with at night, because it could be cold.

Because other groups would have 12 people, group leaders would remain at the base as others went to look for food and other supplies. After getting something, they would bring it back and share.

Our group was very different. We were only four people so I had to work with the others. We went together looking for food, sacks and literally did everything together. After a while, we started moving from one town to another.

We went through three towns and finally came back to our home town. We would first patrol the town, as to get to know the type of street kids there, the type of food and life on the street in the town. They were things we needed to know before staying there.

We never ate food from the garbage; I would gather polythene papers from Paul’s Bakery, then go and give them to ladies selling food, who in return gave me food which could be at least enough for the four of us.

My group mates looked for plastic and metal pieces and sold them. Then we decided what to buy, which in most cases were cigarettes, food and glue. The money they made could ensure that we have glue and the sacks.

Was the street really better than your home?

Oh yes! The street was better than home. No one could convince me to go back. Dad tried several times to take us back but failed. Sometimes he took me home and I came back on the street. I only found out later that I lacked that peace at home.

Then how did you get off the street?

After four years, on my way to Paul’s Bakery for polythene papers, I saw a white man who had a land cruiser written on Jesus loves me.

His name was Michael Miswarnd. He was German but spoke Swahili. He came to me and told me he has an orphanage for street children, with many former street children.

He told me that what he does is find out who they are, reconcile them with their families, and support them with school fees.

I was not happy with the reconciling part, but happy with the rest. So I accepted to go with him. When I reached there I found 350 boys who had been living on street.

We were only boys because he only took boys. He had a friend who took only girls. When we got there, I told him about my brother and my friends. We went back that same night and brought them.

Among the 350 children, 150 were musicians and played guitar. Since I used to sing when I was young, I started to sing and was put in the choir. I became one of the best singers.

Then one of the boys taught me to play guitar. As soon as I could both sing and play guitar, in 1997, I moved to another orphanage to teach kids there how to play guitar. I was put in Primary 5 and started studying.

The orphanage paid my school fees and took complete care of me. From there I was able to teach 3 boys guitar, who later taught many others.

From that orphanage I was adopted by a woman from Daystar University. She paid for my school fees in 1998 and 1999. She rented a house for me and gave me food. I only cooked for myself.

Around the end of 1999, I started attending St. John, an Anglican church near Daystar. I was elected as the choir leader though I was young. The congregation used to pray under a tree.

Then white missionaries financed our church construction, and I volunteered to help build the church. The missionaries became curious and wanted to know me more. When I talked to them and explained about myself, they decided to support me.

The woman who had adopted me allowed them to adopt me. Then they paid my school fees from Primary 8 through high school.

My new sponsors left when I was in form two, and left me under the care of their friend. Since they had agreed to help me complete only high school, after high school I had to look for other means.

I felt I could not continue being under other people’s care. After completing and getting a driving permit, I volunteered in an orphanage as a driver, cook and music instructor.

With some CDs I had recorded in my last year of high school, I started selling them in church and different places. I was also supposed to go to the US to present and sell the CDs but failed to get a visa.

But I sent the CDs to the states and most of them were sold. Among the people who bought the CDs was a couple who decided to pay my university fees. Thus I ended up at Daystar University.

Have you gone back to your family?

Yes! In my first year in high school, I felt like I had fo
rgiven everyone, especially my stepmother. So I decided to go home and forgive her and my dad.

TNT: Where is your brother now?

Ngaira: From the orphanage, my brother went to Uganda because my paternal granddad is Ugandan. An uncle took him to school but he dropped out.

Another uncle taught him welding and auto repair, and he started working with a transport company in Uganda. He has also reconciled with the family.

Do you now know the whereabouts of your mother?

No. Up to now I have not bothered to ask my dad about my mum because God has provided me with parents. I think at the right time I will ask my dad if my mum is alive.

What do you attribute your success to?

All my thanks giving and appreciation goes back to God. God has great plans for me.

How do you hope to extend that goodness to others?

My heart is to give to society. I feel I should help the less advantaged in Africa whenever I can. I feel with music I will produce albums and have enough money to donate funds, depending on the needs of society.

Any final message to the public?

My message is that people should not take the less fortunate for granted. Let them help where they can, for they don’t know what these people will become in future.

They may become great people in the society or the worst people in the society like thugs, putting Africa in chaos. But that will depend on how people treat them, and how they take the responsibility.

Rwanda: Mrs Kagame Launches Campaign Against Child Abuse

Rwanda: Mrs Kagame Launches Campaign Against Child Abuse
New Times (Kigali)

15 August 2007
Posted to the web 16 August 2007

Edwin Musoni

The First Lady Mrs Jeannette Kagame yesterday launched the third phase campaign in the fight against HIV/Aids and child abuse. She called on parents to discuss with their children the spread of the pandemic and how best to protect themselves against it. The third phase campaign focuses on parents discussing sexually-related issues with children, and follows the first and second phase dubbed: ‘Treat every child as your own’; and ‘Adults infecting children speak out’, respectively. All the three phases are under the umbrella of Protection and Care for Families against HIV/Aids (PACFA) that is headed by the First Lady. Speaking at the launch, Mrs Kagame said that parenting is a condition for every parent and that it is continuous. "There is no end of parenting; children also need parental guidance throughout their entire life.

"Our children know much about sexually related issues because they are exposed to modern technology, but they also know less about how they can protect themselves from its dangers," she said. The third phase is the last one in the First Lady’s two-year campaign which is derived from the five-year Strategic Plan of the Organisation of African First Ladies’ against HIV/Aids. In her speech, Mrs Kagame reminded parents to always consider the mother-to-child bond saying, "Try to minimise poor parenting regrets; make sure you treat your child as your best friend. "The life of our children is like water in a glass; if poured you can’t get it back. We all need to join together and fight the spread of HIV/Aids by talking to our children, teaching them what is wrong and how it can impact negatively on their lives," she said. Mrs Kagame’s campaign is implemented by the use of mass media; the campaign calls for adult recognition and responsibility of protecting children’s rights and promoting child security. During the launch, the minister of Gender and Family Planning, Valerie Nyirahabineza said that the government has a long term policy of sustainable fight against child abuse. Nyirahabineza also said that in some areas in the country, the policy has already been implemented and that orphans are always held with prime regard. Deputy Commissioner General of Police Mary Gahonzire called for help for street children, saying; "We have a second generation on the streets; street children have given birth to other children who are also on the streets now and are giving birth at a tender age. We need to protect these children."

Rwanda: U.S. Ambassador’s Fund Avails U.S.$76,000 for Small Enterprises

Rwanda: U.S. Ambassador’s Fund Avails U.S.$76,000 for Small Enterprises
East African Business Week (Kampala)

23 July 2007
Posted to the web 23 July 2007

Daniel Karibwije

The US Ambassador’s self help fund dished out small grants worth US$76,000 to different small business associations in Rwanda in 2006.

According to the public affairs officer, public diplomacy at the US Embassy in Kigali Mr. Brian George, the small associations are given one time grants and not revolving funds.

"We want to reward people who take the initiative. They need to come up with business plans showing how many people it will affect and the impact it will have," he said. The funds need to be meaningfully utilised in a business venture for the welfare of members of an association and not a few individuals.

George made the remarks during the ‘Self Help Expo & Craft Fair’exhibition that show cased items produced by beneficiaries of the US Ambassador’s self help fund held at the American Club in Kigali on June 23.

He told Business Week that the activities of the recipient association must be income generation in nature and preferably in the rural communities outside the capital city, Kigali.

Products made by these local associations include honey, banana leaf handicrafts, shoes, necklaces, fabric bags, crocheted bags, pottery, Barbeque (BBQ) sauce, table mats, children’s bathrobes, handmade toys and bread rolls. Representatives from each of the co-operatives selling goods was on hand to describe how the program has benefited them.

The Ihorere Association is one of the beneficiaries. The group specializes in making hand woven baskets and comprises 50 former street kids from Kigali.

The president of the Ihorere Ms. Emerence Ntagara told Business Week that she has nurtured the former street kids and taken them through a 6months training schedule on the craft of basket weaving. With the ban on polythene bags announced by the three East African states during the June budgets such a venture is bound to find a market.

"I train the kids to become self reliant and they can get money to buy food and other needs," she said.

Ms. Chantal Abera who is involved in baking yeast rolls and bread and Ms. Mary Uwanyuze an expert in BBQ sauce said the self help fund has given them hope that one day they will be fully self employed. "If I get more customers, I will expand on my business," remarked Abera.

To ensure accountability, different embassy staff are assigned to oversee specific projects that they visit twice a year.

Some of the small associations have been groomed to the bigger stage as explained by the economic and commercial officer at the US Embassy, Mr. Daniel Stoian.

"One of the groups has won a contract to construct the perimeter fencing at the new Embassy complex under construction," he said. The US Ambassador’s Self Help program provides grants from the US Embassy to grass root projects that create a sustainable income for Rwandan co-operatives.

All Self help projects are community based, initiated locally, administered at the local level and include significant community contributions in cash, labour or materials. The goal of self help projects is to improve the lives of people in a given community.