New life-changing projects launched in Rwanda and Zambia, thanks to Scottish Government

Posted on: Thursday, 21st September, 2017
10 year-old Lushomo from Zambia, can't hear and speak. She is being treated by Dr. Uta Fröschl

CBM UK will be launching two new life-changing projects in Rwanda and Zambia, thanks to the Scottish Government’s International Development Fund.  

Our new project in Zambia will help to prevent hearing loss by improving access to quality ear and hearing health services, and improve the support available for people living with disabling hearing loss for rural communities in three districts in Central Province.  The Rwanda programme will help people with disabilities to earn a living and be financially independent by enabling them to access small loans and support through village savings schemes. 

James Thornberry, Director of International Programmes at CBM UK said: “People with disabilities in the developing world are amongst the poorest and most marginalised groups in society and the least likely to access health care, education, and livelihoods. Thanks to the support of the Scottish Government, our projects in Rwanda and Zambia will help alleviate poverty; strengthen community and primary health care systems; and increase the economic well-being and social inclusion of women and men with disabilities.”

Preventing hearing loss in Zambia

In Zambia children with disabling hearing loss routinely struggle to access education, while adults often face unemployment. Outside the capital, most people have no access to hearing aids as these aren’t widely available and are very expensive.

50% of disabling hearing loss is preventable, but the lack of staff trained in ear care and low community awareness in Zambia leaves many more people at risk. 

To help tackle this, our new programme will train 346 community health workers, nurses, clinicians and audiologists as well as equipping 106 community health clinics with necessary ear care equipment and medical supplies.

Financial independence for people with disabilities

In Rwanda, people with disabilities make up 5% of the population and are amongst the poorest, often finding it difficult to access employment or banking services. Our new project in Rwanda will help people with disabilities earn a living and be financially independent by setting up and supporting Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs). This proven approach supports small groups of people to save together and take small loans from those savings, which can be used to set up small businesses or invest in income generating activities. Group members will receive training in financial management, entrepreneurship, improved farming methodologies, climate resilience, rain water harvesting and solar energy.

By improving their access to employment, professional training and financial services, their confidence and capacity to participate in social and economic life will also increase. Building on previous successes in the country, the project will support 14,000 people with disabilities across four new districts in Rwanda: Nyanza, Ruhango, Rutsiro and Rusizi.

For more information, visit

Image: 10 year-old Lushomo from Zambia, can't hear and speak. She is being treated by Dr. Uta Fröschl © CBM/argum/Einberger


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