VFAN – A Sustainable and Collaborative Initiative to Improve the Livelihoods of Underprivileged Communities in Conflict Countries: The Rwandan Experience

Winner of the Glendal E. and Alice D. Wright Prize Fund for Conflict and Collaboration Studies in International Development

Dr. K.B.S. Kumar, IBS Hyderabad, and Indu Perepu, IBS Center Management Research, Hyderabad, India


Rwanda, a country emerging from decades of conflict and genocide in the 1990's faced several challenges, one of which was healthcare. Primary eye care was of particular concern as 34% of Rwanda’s population faced eyesight related issues. A majority of Rwandans were dependent on coffee bean sorting for employment and it was rigorous on their eyes. Hence, the visual challenges had crippled the people of Rwanda in general and the coffee bean sorters in particular. To address the issue, the government entered into a public-private partnership with the UK-based voluntary organization Vision-for-a-Nation (VFAN) to develop a nationwide primary eye care program. VFAN developed and implemented a nation-wide program, which was a huge success. The initiative helped improve eye care delivery and build capacity and services leading to the creation of a comprehensive social model. The case presents the collaborative and consensus building approach of the Rwandan government, VFAN, and other stakeholders towards bridging the economic divide by making public services affordable, replicable, scalable and hence sustainable.

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