Right To Play in Rwanda

Right To Play began working in Rwanda in 2003. Initially focused on promoting life skills for youth in the community, we began introducing play-based learning into schools in 2014. In 2016, the country released its competency-based curriculum, and we accelerated our support of the development of core competencies like communication, teamwork, problem-solving, literacy, and numeracy, in alignment with government priorities.

We work with both government and non-governmental partners in Rwanda, including international and local civil society organizations, and sports federations. Through a partnership with the International Basketball Federation, we are supporting the National Basketball Federation of Rwanda (FERWABA) to use sport to promote gender equality, strengthen child protection mechanisms, and enhance life skills.

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The challenges faced by children in Rwanda

Rwanda has one of the fastest growing economies in central Africa, and was one of the few countries to achieve all of the Millennium Development Goals. Over the past decade, the Government of Rwanda has undertaken major policy reforms aimed at increasing access to, and improving the quality of, basic education.

While universal primary education has been achieved, large class sizes and outdated teaching methods hinder the success of Rwandan children. There is also a need for continuous teacher training to support the implementation of the new curriculum.

Rwanda has achieved gender parity in education at pre-primary, primary, and secondary levels, but girls still face negative attitudes and norms that discourage them from continuing school and limit their access to technical and science education. Girls also face gender-based violence, insufficient sanitation facilities in schools, and drop-outs due to early and unwanted pregnancies.

  • There are on average 57 children for every teacher in classrooms.
  • By grade 6, 85% of children in the education system have repeated a grade at least once.
  • Half of all second graders cannot read a single word in their own language.
  • By age 18, a young person has received the equivalent of only 3.8 years of schooling.
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Strengthening the education system for better learning outcomes

Right To Play works in partnership with the Rwanda Education Board (REB) to support teachers, supervisors, and other education officials to enhance the quality of pedagogy in primary school. Our comprehensive in-service teacher training program aligns with the national curriculum to enhance teachers’ use of child-centered, active learning approaches and their ability to create positive, inclusive, and gender-responsive learning environments. National trainers and sector and school-based mentors are supported to train teachers on play-based learning. These teachers are then guided by school-based mentors and school subject leaders who have been trained by Right To Play to use coaching and mentoring for supportive supervision. Through peer exchange groups, trained teachers discuss their teaching experiences and share best practices.

At the invitation of REB, Right To Play participated in the national revision of the pre-service curriculum for new teachers, helping to integrate play-based learning into the curricula for Foundations of Education, Teaching Methods and Practice, and Physical Education and Sports. Right To Play is supporting REB to roll-out the new curriculum by training tutors and providing resources to teacher training colleges across the country.


"The communication between students has improved, especially for girls. Before the program, I had many girls who were less confident and shy, but with the program they became active and everyone wants to be part of the discussion by giving opinions and thoughts." — Teacher, Muhororo primary school


Fostering parental and community support

Right To Play uses a variety of strategies to engage parents, community members, and local civil society organizations in addressing the gender-specific learning needs of girls and boys. Through participatory gender analysis and action planning, we support community members to identify and address the major barriers that prevent girls and boys from succeeding in their studies. Through training on leadership, gender equality, and child protection, we strengthen the ability of school general assembly committees to influence school decision-making and to more effectively participate in their children’s education. Together with local civil society, we enhance opportunities for children to continue their learning outside of school by establishing community-based reading clubs and supporting reading at home.

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Encouraging creativity and leadership in girls and boys

Right To Play creates platforms for children to advocate for education and to develop their leadership. Through children’s clubs, girls and boys are empowered to challenge gender stereotypes and to hold awareness-raising events for parents and caregivers on gender-specific learning needs. Boys are encouraged to display positive masculinities and to take a stand against gender-based discrimination.

In a partnership with Jantje Beton of the Netherlands, Right To Play also encourages children to create their own play materials and design their own playgrounds. By upcycling discarded materials and imagining their play spaces, children build, experiment, learn from failures, and invent new things. Right To Play has worked with REB to align this initiative with the Science, Engineering, and Technology (SET) curriculum for grades 4 and 5 and developed a teacher guide for making play, utility, and learning materials for use by SET teachers.

Stay connected with children in Rwanda

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Right To Play engages closely with a variety of national level partners including the Ministry of Education (MINEDUC), the Rwanda Education Board (REB), and the University of Rwanda-College of Education. In 2018, Right To Play and MINEDUC entered into a Memorandum of Understanding to guide their ongoing collaboration. REB chairs the National Steering Committee that provides strategic oversight to Right To Play’s flagship initiative, Gender Responsive Education And Transformation.

Right To Play programs in Rwanda are also generously supported by the Government of Canada, the International Basketball Federation, Nationale Postcode Loterij, and supporters like you.


Contact our Rwanda office
No. 17, KN 16 Avenue
Kiyovu, Kigali
Phone:​ +250 252 583 310

More info on our work in Rwanda