President Lynn McKenzie's Travel Diary
Message from Zonta International on 2/25/2013 10:56:00 AM

 Follow President Lynn McKenzie as she visits Rwanda for a site visit

Rwanda Diary, 2013


I was privileged to undertake this site inspection of the Rwanda project on your behalf. Know that your donations are making a real difference to the lives of women, children and families in Rwanda. Zonta, through its partner UNICEF, is in the unique position of participating in a country undertaking significant, really significant transformational change. Not only is Rwanda’s maternal and child mortality rate dropping- and they are tracking to achieve the Millennium Development Goal for maternal mortality- THROUGH leadership, vision and a strong community ethos – they are embarking on significant transformational change, low key but focused and inclusive of the population.



Lynn McKenzie

President, Zonta International



 Rwanda Basic Facts (UNICEF)

  • Gross national income per capita is US$570, 2nd highest in East Africa
  • 45% are living below the national poverty line
  • 3% population (15-49 yrs) are HIV positive (approx.. 200,000, of whom 22,700 are children under 15yrs)
  • Average life expectancy: 56 yrs - today I did not see many older people
  • Fertility rate: 4.6 children per woman
  • Maternal mortality ratio: 487 per 100,000 (1:35 chance of death pre and post delivery of babies)
  • 44% children under 5 yrs are malnourished
  • 95% children are fully immunized
  • 96% children enrolled in primary school- which is compulsory
  • One of the fastest growing economies in Africa, with an average GDP growth rate of 7.7% in 2008-2012, population growth rate of 2.6%, which means the real GDP per capita growth rate is approximately 5.1%.

Day 1: Arriving in KigaliKigali by Air

Looking out the window as we flew into Kigali, Rwanda's capital- you can see green fields that are sown and dirts roads with that distinctive red earth. I was met my Noala Skinner, the UNICEF Representative for Rwanda and taken to the hotel.



First Impressions

The airport was very sophisticated- especially compared with Liberia and Burundi in the neighboring countires. Quiet air of confidence and organised. Interestingly, there were only around 20 people on the flight from Bujumbura- some tourists- with bicycles and others off to see the gorillas.


Tomorrow, I head out with La Benevolencija, who will be working with Oxfam to roll out the edutainment project here in Rwanda mid this year- this is using entertainment to get the message that violence against women is not okay.


We are off to Gicumbi/Byumba (One hour from Kigali) where La Benevolencija staff has grassroots members involved in conflict prevention in their communities. I will spend the morning there.


The UNICEF visit starts on Monday- where we will be in Kigali looking at the first of the One Stop Centres located in the Kacyiru Police Hospital before meeting with officials from the Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion, Ministry of Health, Rwandan National Police and Ministry of Justice before heading to Musanze- a two-hour drive at the end of the day. Will keep you posted!



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