Country/NMO: Ecuador (AEMPPI-Ecuador)

Program: Healthy Lifestyles & Non-Communicable Diseases


Contact information: [email protected]

Type of the activity: Education


General description:

The main goal of the project is to improve the healthy lifestyle of Rwandan youth. This is done by improving the knowledge about Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) in 5 high schools in Kigali and the Southern Province, at Healthcare Centres, and in Umugandas. We also improve the knowledge on healthy diet and NCDs among high school students and implement kitchen gardens at the same high schools where we are teaching NCDs. In addition we are advocating for the implementation of smoking areas and monthly sports days at the University of Rwanda. In order to achieve this, meetings are conducted with high schools, the University in Rwanda and local authorities. Related to capacity building we are focusing on expanding the position of women in MEDSAR by conducting special women nights and expanding the members’ knowledge on leadership.

Focus area:

Rare Diseases

Problem statement:

The International Scientific Contest of Rare Diseases, by its acronym in Spanish;
Concurso Científico Internacional de Enfermedades Raras (CCIER) is an event for academic and scientific purposes that aims to promote comprehensive training in what concerns the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of rare diseases and low prevalence in Colombia and the world; as well as encouraging the research and participation of medical students. The CCIER emerged five years ago as a need to delve into the field of rare diseases and low prevalence, this type of condition being the cause of disease in more than 2000 people in the country, without counting those who suffer some of these pathologies, but they have not been diagnosed for different reasons.

Target groups and beneficiaries:

Professionals and students belonging to health sciences in disciplines such as medicine, nursing or different health careers in general and researchers, as well as patients and relatives with rare diseases.

Objectives and indicators of success:

The main objective of the CCIER is to encourage the participation and interest of students and medical professionals in the field of rare diseases and low prevalence. The indicator of success of the project will be the quantification of attendees to the academic and scientific activities raised in the framework of the event; as well as the quantitative estimation of the reception and participation of works, case reports and research protocols in rare diseases.


A problem analysis has been carried out by MEDSAR during the drafting of project applications.
Additionally, a risk analysis was made and a stakeholder analysis has been made by MEDSAR Overall the stakeholders are flexible and positive about fighting NCDs due to the fact those NCDs is a major problem in the Eastern African Region. The project is designed in a way that puts focus on advocacy that has in mind to affect stakeholders to take interest in the project.

The project is implemented in three main parts (Education part, Advocacy part and Capacity building part) and it will lasts for two years.
Activity part:
In this part, external educators trained 5 MEDSAR members (in each category: “NCDs” and “agriculture and nutrition”) they then become trainers of trainers (TOTs).

The 5 TOTs in NCDs educate 50 MEDSAR members, who become trainers and form the NCD taskforce. The NCD taskforce teach 5 teachers at each high school, who are helping the NCD taskforce to conduct the teaching sessions in high schools. The NCD taskforce are also teaching NCDs in Umugandas and health centres.

The 5 TOT in agriculture and nutrition educated 50 MEDSAR members, who become trainers and form the agriculture and nutrition taskforce. The trainers teach in agriculture and proper nutrition in high schools. Furthermore, a team of minimum 20 kitchen garden caretakers at each high school are chosen to be responsible for taking care of the kitchen gardens at the high school. One prime teacher at each school is in charge of the kitchen garden caretaker team. The agriculture taskforce is helping in implementation and teaching them to do so. After each harvest a harvest day will be conducted.

The project coordination team chose a special smoking area project group and a monthly sports day project group at the beginning of the project, who are responsible for arranging the smoking areas and monthly sports days at the University of Rwanda.

MEDSAR members are responsible for arranging WHO “NO” tobacco day and the World Diabetes day.

In this part, external educators trained 5 MEDSAR members in advocacy, who become trainers of trainers (TOTs).
The 5 TOTs in advocacy educated 50 MEDSAR members, who become trainers and form the advocacy taskforce. The trainers were responsible for arranging meetings with the local authorities to gain influence as well as find and choose the 5 high schools where the kitchen gardens will be implemented. Furthermore, they are responsible for that the smoking areas and monthly sports days are implemented as integral part of the University of Rwanda.

Lastly, they are responsible for conducting the comparison between the same high schools students’ knowledge on proper nutrition and NCDs in the beginning and in the end of the project.

Capacity building:

In this part the members of MEDSAR are overall responsible of ensuring that MEDSAR remains a sustainable organization in terms of knowledge sharing, human resources and organizational structure and that the board and committees of MEDSAR are well trained.

MEDSAR is, together with IMCC Rwanda, responsible for proper management of the project including creation of a project team, project book and the use of team self-review twice a year.

Additionally a project coordination team consisting of MEDSAR members was created in the beginning of the project. The project coordination team in collaboration with IMCC Rwanda is monitoring and regulating the project in general.

Plans for evaluation:

A gender analysis was carried out regarding gender balance in MEDSAR. To strengthen the role of the female volunteers in MEDSAR we have created a goal that minimum 30 % of the project volunteers are female by the end of the project. To obtain this goal, we have arranged workshops and special women nights. At the moment there is only one position in the board, the treasure that is held by women but now, MEDSAR has three positions for women.
To reach our immediate objectives we contacted 5 high schools to be our intervention schools. At these high schools we are implementing kitchen gardens and teach the students.

A quantitative examination was made so the knowledge of the students about vegetables and healthy diet are compared before and after the project activities. These results are being used to advocate for the implementation of kitchen gardens at other high schools as well as a larger focus on NCDS and healthy diets in high schools in general.

Moreover teachers at the high schools help MEDSAR teaching in NCDs so they can continue after the project has ended. Through the teaching sessions the high schools students gain an insight into how youth can have a great impact on the society through students organizations.
Additionally, MEDSAR contacted the University of Rwanda to advocate for the implementation of monthly sports day and smoking areas. MEDSAR helps with the implementation and organization of these in the beginning of the project but after the project they will be university responsibilities. If the smoking areas and sports days are implemented successfully this can be used to advocate for spreading the smoking areas and monthly sports days to other universities as well.
The balance between children and youth activities, organizational development and capacity building initiatives, and advocacy efforts is relatively equal. However, there is a slightly larger focus on advocacy and in particularly youth activities. A lot of activities are planned to fulfil the goal of improving the high school students’ and general populations knowledge about NCDs and furthermore the students’ knowledge of proper nutrition including the importance of vegetables.
Regarding capacity building the focus is especially on activating more women in the MEDSAR board and continuing the role of MEDSAR as a sustainable organization. For the whole project to succeed, MEDSAR as an organisation develop their capacity building through different workshops, which supports the purpose of the project. The board and project team need to gain and improve their leadership skills, so the project runs in order to reach the common goal.
The project contributes to strengthening the youth’s voice through advocacy work. The implementation of the project create a base for the youth of MEDSAR to contact local authorities and advocate for children and youth’s right to better access to knowledge on preventing of NCDs. The goal is to convince them to increase awareness of NCDs, proper nutrition and agriculture among the children and youth in high schools.

IMCC Rwanda is hosting a meeting every month, which is meant for discussions and debate to address issues occurring during the project period as well as in project free periods. Here we evaluate activities and discuss ideas for possible improvements. Important documents are saved in drobox, so all members always have access to former material and ideas from previous meetings and projects. Additionally, we have the project book so that the gained experiences are shared with the common members of MEDSAR and IMCC Rwanda.

The project activities and objectives are being monitored and evaluated each month by MEDSAR board and project coordination team. This is being done by monthly coordination meetings where progress is being discussed. The progress is measured against the project activity plan and the Logic Framework Approach. For monitoring we use team self-review, which is carried out 4 times during the project.

Both partner organisations are responsible for writing a detailed activity report every third month. The president of MEDSAR is responsible for collecting the reports and e-mailing them to IMCC Rwanda. After exchanging the reports, a skype meeting is held in order to evaluate and discuss possible future changes. Changes need to be agreed on, from both partners.

To secure all activities and achievements are properly documented we have made some “means of verifications” for each indicator, this includes for instance attendance lists, pictures of events, minutes of meetings, legal status documents etc.

The final evaluation of the partnership project we will create an internal evaluation document as well as creating the report required by DUF. The people involved in the writing of the quarterly reports are required to attend the evaluation. The evaluation process will be initiated in the late winter/ spring 2019.

The budget and finances is monitored by quarterly reports made by the treasurer of MEDSAR board. The treasurer keeps track of expenses by collecting receipts and creates financial reports of the project. MEDSAR Treasure sends the reports to the treasurer of IMCC Rwanda, who is responsible for approving the reports. The report will contain a detailed description on the money spent during the last quarter of the year as well as descriptions of challenges and needs for additions and changes within the budget.

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