Big Lottery Fund

3 Nov 2012

Survivors Fund (SURF) is proud to announce it has secured a three year grant of £498,632 for the Genocide Widows Empowerment Project (GWEP) from the International Communities Programme of the Big Lottery Fund.


GWEP will transform the lives of widowed survivors in five districts of the Western Province of Rwanda by eradicating extreme poverty and hunger and empowering them to integrate into Rwandan society. Through wraparound support (an intensive care management process which addresses the multifarious complex needs of genocide widows) already demonstrated as an effective approach, they will be enabled to secure ownership of their land and property, develop viable livelihoods and improve their mental health. The model of livelihood development is based on the successful holisitic approach that we developed under our Comic Relief funded HIV+ Survivors Integration Project.

AVEGA is one organisation above all others that has brought hope to these genocide widows, and practical support to enable them to rebuild their lives. It delivers wraparound support already to over 20,000 genocide widows (including legal aid, income-generating activities (IGAs), mental healthcare and nutritional support), and recently extended its work to the Northern and Southern Provinces through our Widowed Survivors Empowerment Project (WSEP) funded by UKaid from the Department for International Development.

Christine, one of the counsellors of AVEGA Western Region, with an elderly genocide widow - one of the many widows which GWEP will support

However, genocide widows in the five districts of the Western Province of Rwanda (Karongi, Ngororero, Nyabihu, Rubavu, Rutsiro) have requested the support of AVEGA to help them to rebuild their lives following the genocide. This is the only area in Rwanda where at present AVEGA does not currently operate. Though the office of AVEGA Western Region (AWR) is operational, it serves only two of the seven districts in the Western Province (in Rusizi and Nyamasheke). GWEP will now enable the organisation to extend its reach across the whole Province.

It is an exciting development, and one that I look forward on reporting further in due course.