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Making rural kids count through a parent-centered education, purposeful nutrition, and Advocacy for NCDs

We lighten the early care burden to divert the vulnerable parents' kids-raising challenges to a perfect orientation of their kids' growth

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Name or Organization

Itetero Iwacu Organization


Kigali, Kimironko-Rwanda. If IIO wins this prize, the implementation will continue to be done in Kayonza and Ngoma Districts, as well as other districts that the general assembly will select as the next for our activities

What is your stage of development?

  • New Innovator, with less than one year of experience in ECD


  • Non - Profit

What is the stage of your proposal?

  • Piloting: I have started to implement my solution as a whole with a first set of real users.

Describe your submission in one clear sentence

Making Rural Kids Count aims to lighten early care burden in Rwanda rural communities so as to divert the vulnerable parents' kids-raising challenges to a perfect orientation of their kids' growth

Describe how your solution could be a game-changer for your selected Opportunity Area (600 characters)

Vulnerable families normally don't have time to think of their kids' education. Rather, they always mind about what they will eat tomorrow and how they can sustainably deal with their vulnerability. So, taking learning opportunities as well as academic and healthcare support to their kids will grab their attention. Therefore, you can now involve them in the education process you designed, educate them how to feed their kids effectively (recommended diets for intelligence) as well as how they can keep hygiene, all that for a physical, and socio-intellectual growth of their children

Select an Innovation Target

  • Service: A new or enhanced service that creates value for end beneficiaries.

Tell us more about your innovation (1500 characters)

Making Rural Kids Count aims to lighten early care burden in Rwanda rural communities so as to divert the vulnerable parents' kids-raising challenges to a perfect orientation of their kids' growth. My innovation is normally based on what we call Parent Centered Parenting Model. According to FundamentallyChildren (2018), this is a strategy that aims to make the parents happy in order to involve fully in their kids education. Parents who are tired, stressed and stretched to their limits are not in the best position to raise happy contented children. Trying too hard and taking on too much can lead to a parent being exhausted and unable to properly care for their children. This can lead to feelings of failure and guilt amongst other health problems. Since children learn best by copying what they see and parents are their child’s first teachers, it’s easy to see that having parents who are happy, confident and relaxed is a far better option over frazzled ones. Choosing a parent-centred lifestyle means parents avoid putting their children’s wants above their own health and well-being (FundamentallyChildren, 2017). Therefore, as Itetero Iwacu Organization, we aim to provide the vulnerable rural parents with early care support, grab their attention, and then involve them the most in the full education process of their children starting from preschools. Please go to to learn more about us and feel free to contact us on for more information

What problem are you aiming to solve? (3 sentences)

Failure to attend preschools and attending primary schools late (7 years and above)
Vulnerable parents' stress and desperation connected to raising kids and general lifestyle
Unequal access to learning and support opportunities both in urban and rural areas

Explain your idea (5000 characters)

In Rwanda like in other low income countries, there are more rural areas than towns. In those areas, most of the people earn a living from a subsistence agriculture and don't normally think deeper on the education of their kids. Rather, so many of them just say: God knows how the future will be (They don't consider designing it by themselves). Therefore, our idea is coming in to change all that: The future is designed from NOW. As I said above, we have come up with a parent-centered parenting model (New here in Rwanda) which consists of putting the parent needs first so as to make them feel valued. For us, it's all about providing academic and healthcare assistance to the children and this lighten the burden parents have for early care. Good enough, we have launched our first project and we have already established great and successful relationships with parents in Mwiri Sector, Kayonza District, Eastern Province of Rwanda. Definitely, we aim to broaden them more with various social interactions so as to add more successes to our initiatives (Please find more on our website-flickr- As we have already given them giving them this feeling, we will be able to massively involve them in the education journey of their kids. For instance, we will use what we call here "Akagoroba k'ababyeyi" in Kinyarwanda which mean the evening time for parents, to teach them about effective diets that stimulate the intelligence of kids and how to prepare them. Additionally, we don't only help children, we also advocate for parents with NCDs (I was in Sharjah-UAE summit designing how this will be done: I can share with you the pictures if you want).

Therefore, parents will emotionally understand how important our presence is and they will positively respond to any inquiry we give them. For instance, they will attend all nutrition workshops that we have on our action plan, they will find time to converse with their kids, and also support us in our school programs (Bringing grains for porridge, participating in school cleaning activities, attending meetings, taking kids for vaccination, etc...)
Since parents are now fully involved in our program, children will be major beneficiaries. As we have already provided qualified teachers to them, they will learn comfortably and tap their full potential (No preschool was there before).

Additionally, parents are also going to benefit from that program. The education burden will massively be lowered: They will have hope for the future of their kids. Moreover, this advocacy for NCDs and provision of health insurances for the most vulnerable will continue.

Among things that we are also planning to do, we are thinking of economic activities that will help the parents to uplift themselves from extreme poverty as well as keeping the financial sustainability of the organization. For instance, we plan to buy sewing machines to some parents for them to use and generate income. Part of the money they will make will come to the organization and support different activities. Obviously, parents are also the next beneficiaries of this program

Last but not least, we will also benefit from the success of this program. This is because it will be our pride to have improved the lives of people in the community.

We only live once and we are here on a purpose: Designing programs and projects that impact vulnerable communities and the humanity in general. To me as a philanthropist, this is the best way to leave a perfect legacy behind, as what the future generations will base on to impact next future generations, too. If we win this prize as Itetero Iwacu Organization, we won't take it for granted. Rather, it will be one of the most remarkable encouragements we've got and we will use it to make a more perfect implementation of all projects scheduled on our action plan.

Who benefits? (1500 characters)


- They will get talented and passionate teachers
- They will get parents' happy care
- Children will also get academic and healthcare assistance, as well as more learning opportunities


- Their burden on early care will be lowered.
- They will benefit from different projects like the provision of sewing machines to use them in uplifting themselves from extreme poverty.
- The NCD advocacy and support program for parents will continue

Government of Rwanda

Normally, it is the main responsibility of the government to educate children. Therefore, taking this initiative will also help the government to implement its projects related to the preschool education specifically.

Itetero Iwacu Organization Staff

The success of our projects is a pride to us as a team. As we are only operating in Eastern Province of Rwanda, winning this prize will boost our committment to expand to other areas of Rwanda especially the Western Province and Northern Province, as the research we conducted showed that they are very down regarding the preschool education

What kind of impact will your idea have? (1500 characters)

- Improving the preschool education
- Active involvment of parents in the education journey of their children
- Cutting down high primary school dropout and class repetition rates in Rwanda. For more about this, please read
- Bringing a high standard preschool education in rural areas
- Advocating for vulnerable parents and children with NCDs and other innate diseases
- Helping communities to uplift themselves from extreme poverty by our sewing machine provision project and many more to come
- More as listed in our concept paper attached to my profile

How does or how could your idea impact low-income children? (1500 characters)

As clearly highlighted before, this project will strongly focus on rural areas, where vulnerable families are found, mostly. As these families have low income, this idea will improve the education and healthcare needs of their children as it has been described above. Again, it will improve the children's way of life by their parents. This is because some of the parents will be receiving assistance depending on what they are good at doing, that can generate income. As they generate income, they will be bringing a small part of it in IIO so that we can use that money to empower other communities that we are planning to go to, as long as we expand our activities in 18 remaining districts of Rwanda. Overall, this idea won't only impact and empower low-income children but also their entire families in general

Scale: Describe how your idea could reach a significant number of end-users. (1500 characters)

Normally, there are thousands and thousands vulnerable people around the county (63% of Rwandans are still living in extreme poverty according to the World Economic Forum). Due to the fact that we can't impact all children from those families at the same time, we go slowly by slowly. The main reason behind this is because, going slowly helps you to make wise and significant approaches. Additionally, we don't have funders until now, we are generating the money among ourselves as the members of IIO. This doesn't mean that if we get this prize we can expand to all other areas of the country. Rather, even though we can accelerate the process, we can keep taking a manageable number of children (parents), minding about the financial sustainability of our organization.

Some of the barriers that we are anticipating are like having a big number of children who will be interested in getting into our program. However, we will keep looking for sponsors and advocating for these children so that they all get the opportunity to get a preschool education, as it is the one that determines how more future studies will look like. We strongly aim that children who will learn in our preschools become more intelligent, fluent in English, and socially interactive compared to others who are not. This will attract many more children and families to get into our programs and having leaders from other parts of the country to invite us to inaugurate our activities in their respective areas

Feasibility: Where are you with understanding the feasibility of your idea? Describe what you’ve done so far and your plans. (3000 characters)

Thanks for this question. Our idea is feasible because we have already established a good relationship with community leaders in two areas: Kayonza/Mwiri and Ngoma/Murama.

Except one person, all other team members have a university degree. Therefore, we can easily sit together and discuss every project before launching it and make significant decisions

In addition to this, we conducted a research before running this initiative as we have shared the link and the concept paper above.

We also launched some volunteering programs before starting this initiative. This gave us an overview of how the field is and what we can do to make our goals successful.

Most of us (the IIO Staff) studied education and one of us is a preschool curriculum developer here in Rwanda. So, we don't anticipate having issues related to the way kids will learn and everything related to the smooth running of different projects. This is because we have a strong team of advisors from Kepler Kigali, Southern New Hampshire University, Turambe Shoppe, Rwanda Biomedical Center, and the Ministry of Education.

Last but not least, this initiative is in perfect line with the MINEDUC (Ministry of Education in Rwanda) goals. Therefore, we are strong partners of the government to implement different projects related to education, healthcare, and EDPRS

Tell us more about you (3000 characters)

I am a 28 old man, who was born in a rural area in Ngoma District, Eastern Province of Rwanda. I was born in a poor family, where both of my parents were farmers. In a family of 7 children, I was the only boy which is something that inspires me again, that I was born for a specific purpose, being a community and family savior. After hardly finishing high school in the Teacher Training College, I taught nursery and primary for 6 years (I can share the full CV if you want). Due to the fact that I didn't manage to get a government scholarship to the college of education of the University of Rwanda, I instead got a scholarship to Southern New Hampshire University but they obliged me to learn through Kepler Kigali Program.

At Kepler, I studied and earned the Bachelor's of Communication with a Concentration in Business (From SNHU) and finally got a job in a company called Rwanda Events Group Ltd. Even though I kind of changed my education career (I followed my scholarship because my family couldn't afford to pay university fees in a private college) the passion for education was still on my heart and this is why my colleague Israel Cyuzuzo and I founded Itetero Iwacu Organization. Due to the fact that we don't have funders yet, I am doing the job so that I can support different projects that we are conducting as IIO. However, I am planning to resign from my job so that I can get enough time to dedicate to IIO projects and design more ideas that will benefit different communities around the country.

Due to the fact that making impacts require a tireless work, I try to dedicate most of my time on both the work and Itetero Iwacu and nothing else, nearly. Moreover, I try to work very closely with my team so that we make tremendous and meaningful steps, together.

As far as my team is concerned, we have a very committed team of professionals who finished the university. Some one who did not study the university is a pastor in Ngoma district and he is the one who comes to preach the word of God to the kids in our network so that they also grow spiritually.

In my future, I strongly with to see all children studying in preschools and continuing in primary schools with that strong foundation. I am so optimistic that together with my team, we will make all Rwandans aware of how a preschool education is, bringing learning opportunities in rural areas, as well as advocating for children with health problems to survive and come back to school

Do you have the people and partners you need to do what you’ve described? (500 characters)

As I described above, I have a strong team behind me. Itetero Iwacu Organization is currently having a team of 12 people. Something I can't forget is that I personally attended the second Global NCD Alliance Forum in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates entitled "Stepping Up the Pace on NCDs, Making 2018 Count". In this forum, I met a lot of professionals who are really helpful to the initiative we are currently running here in Rwanda. They advise us, share experiences with us and this help us a lot

As you consider your next steps, what kinds of help could you use? Is there a type of expertise that would be most helpful? (1800 characters)

As the next step, our children are going to start learning since February next year, as it's when the Rwandan Academic Calendar will begin. Something we have in our mind is that we are going to open doors for volunteers (teachers and people passionate with preschools) to come and help us run our schools by teaching and/or training the staff about a particular professional area. The type of expertise that would be most helpful is how to deal international volunteering organizations so that they can send the volunteers. This is the only area of expertise we need because we almost have all others from our staff. Some of the studied the project management, others healthcare management, others education, others communication, and others logistics/operations.

Would you like mentoring support? [Relevant only for Early Submission Deadline]

  • Yes

If so, what type of mentoring support do you think you need? (1200 characters) [Relevant only for Early Submission Deadline]

We really need mentorship about how to deal with international volunteering and how to deal with international volunteering. In addition to this, it is always better to learn more and master more skills. Even though our team has many competencies in the above-mentioned fields, an additional and refreshing training is always perfect for the staff. Therefore, getting more professional development opportunities for the staff is something that can also help us to conduct successful projects till we arrive at least in each district of Rwanda.

Are you willing to share your email contact information submitted on OpenIDEO with Gary Community Investments?

  • Yes, share my contact information

[Optional] Biography: Upload your biography. Please include links to relevant information (portfolio, LinkedIn profile, organization website, etc). (My online biodata)

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