AVSI Foundation

CARE! Comprehensive solutions for increased Access to mental health care Rooted in communities and Enhancing public services

2020 - 2024

Despite the significant progress made in Rwanda in the decentralization and integration of mental health services in all health structures of the national health system, the availability and effectiveness of mental health services delivered at the grassroots level still lag behind. Additionally, due to widespread fear and unawareness of mental disorders, people with MNS conditions are often stigmatized and isolated from the community, increasing their vulnerability. The project aims to enhance the resilience of people affected by mental health issues and their families through a community based approach. It will also create a favorable environment for them to receive comprehensive support and improve their wellbeing.

A key element of the project lies in building the capacity of the workforce operating within different levels of the health system. Community health workers (CHWs) are trained using an innovative training system (IVR) which combines a series of interactive phone message modules and quizzes. Existing community providers operating outside the health sector, such as teachers, policemen, community leaders, social workers, and traditional healers will also be leveraged to promote and address mental health issues. The training enables them to deliver efficient support to people with disorders throughout their recovery and rehabilitation.

Through regular home visits, the project will also ensure that people with MNS are supported by community providers in their recovery and rehabilitation. They will be assisted in developing new skills and in evaluating their existing capabilities and potential, in order to enter into employment or other productive work. At the same time, a baseline Knowledge, Attitude, and Practices (KAP) survey will be conducted and examined to decipher what is known and believed within the local community. This will assist in the organization of targeted monthly awareness-raising and anti-stigma workshops involving people with MNS conditions, caregivers and their families; the delivery of which will be aimed at facilitating a sensitivity and understanding of MNS conditions within the community.

Project Highlights

Activities and beneficiaries


community providers coached to provide basic psychological interventions


non-specialists health care providers trained to provide psychological interventions


monthly awareness-raising and anti-stigma activities and workshops


people with MNS conditions identified