Individualization of disability and disabling environment in Rwanda. A case study in Musanze District

Bachelor Thesis, 2019

71 Pages










1.1. Introduction
1.3. Problem statement
1.4. Research objectives
1.4.1. General objective
1.4.2. Specific objectives
1.5. Research questions
1.6. Research hypotheses
1.7. Rational of the study

2.1.3 Individualization of Disability
2.1.4 Disabling
2.1.5 Environment
2.1.6 Disabling environment
2.2 Theoretical framework of individualization of disability
2.2.1. Individualization of disability and disabling environment all over the word
2.2.2. The disability situation in Rwanda society
2.2.3. Individualization of disability in Rwanda
2.3. Disabling environment in Musanze
2.4. Stakeholder’s analysis for disability issues
2.5. Problem tree of disabling environment in Muhoza
2.6. Role of individualization of disability
2.7. The disability individualists
2.8. Disabling environment measurement

3.0. Introduction
3.1. Research Methodology
3.2. Research Design
3.3. Description of Study Area
Table 3: Repartition of PWDs aged 5 years and above in Musanze by sector of residence (NISR, 2012)
3.5. Sampling method
3.5. Sample size determination
3.7. Data collection instruments
3.7.1. Questionnaire
3.8. Data Processing
3.8.1. Editing
3.8.2. Coding
3.8.3. Tabulation
3.9. Data analysis technique

4.0. Introduction
4.1. General Profile of the Respondents
4.2. Data Presentation and analysis
4.2.6. Disabling environment in Muhoza
4.2.7. Type of activity and income earned
4.2.8. Health insurance
4.2.8. Public services
4.2.9. Entrepreneurship
4.2.10. Effect of individualization of disability to disabling environment
4.2.11. Association between individualization of disability and disabling environment

5.0. Introduction
5.1. Summary of the findings
5.2. Conclusion
5.3. Suggestions




The preparation of this dissertation was a long process that required the patience, hardness work and could not have been completed without assistance and guidance.

First of all, we are thankful to the Lord Jesus our Savior for his abundant blessings, guidance and strength to go through our studies.

We also express our gratefulness to INES-Ruhengeri Administrative and academic staff especially the one of the Faculty of Applied Fundamental Sciences, department of Applied Statistics to Economy for their effort during our studies.

We wish to express our sincere gratitude towards to our supervisor Mr. Price Olivier, who, despite his other huge commitments and responsibilities, has kindly accepted to supervise our research. His time and experience has been valuable to the success of this research.

Our thanks are also addressed to all staff of Muhoza sector in Musanze District for their contribution in allowing and helping us in carrying out our research. With their acceptance, hospitality and enthusiasm to share their time in order we get primary data, otherwise collection would not be possible. We thank them whole heartedly for providing information and truthfully responding our questions.

We would finally like to express our gratitude and acknowledgement to our sponsor ‘Association Museke, Ayudamos A Africa’, colleagues and friends who supported us directly and indirectly until the success of this work.


Table 1: District Stakeholders involving in disability issues

Table 2:Village and Cells in Muhoza sector

Table 3: Repartition of PWDs aged 5 years and above in Musanze by sector of residence (NISR, 2012)

Table 4: Cross table of Sex, Age and Marital status

Table 5: Cross table of type of difficult and practicise activity

Table 6: Cros table of practicise activity and the income earned

Table 7: Test statistics of the effect of individualization disabling environment

Table 8: Test statistics of the association of individualization of disability and disabling environment


Figure 1: Problem tree of disabling environment in Muhoza

Figure 2: Distribution of the respondents (%) by education level

Figure 3: Distribution of the respondents (%) by residence cells

Figure 4: Views of respondents (%) to their disability difficult

Figure 5: Percentage of resspondents according to theie causes of disability

Figure 6: Respondent’s Views (%) to the individualization of disability in Muhoza Sector

Figure 7: Appreciation level of the Respondents (%) to individualization of disability performance in Muhoza

Figure 8: Respondents (%)'Views to the barriers faced by PWDs

Figure 9:Point views of the respondents (%)to the health insurence

Figure 10: Repartition of respondents by health insurance

Figure 11: Views of the respondents (%)to the public services

Figure 12: Repartiion of the respondents (%) by the proposed public services

Figure 13: Respondents satisfactory (%) to the quality of received public services


Appendice 1: Research Questionnaires addressed to the PWDs in Muhoza Sector and Local Leaders in charge of disability in Musanze District


Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten


This study is entitled “A study on individualization of disability and disabling environment in Rwanda, a case study Muhoza sector in Musanze Branch (2014)” in Rwanda has the general objective of investigating the current situation of keys barriers that affect the PWDs through their live experiences and challenges.

The specifics objectives are: to investigate the current situation of contextual factors that affect PWDs based on day to day activities (their life experiences), residence housing conditions, the causes and types of their disabilities; to describe the socioeconomic characteristic of PWDs by their types of activity and income earned, ages, sex and marital status; to assess the level of Individualization of disability process against disabling environment in Muhoza Sector as well as the relationship between them and to identify the stakeholder, the programs or projects being involved in individualization process for enabling environment to PWDs.

During our research, a cross sectional survey by questionnaire and the method of field observation, reports exploitation were used. The study took into consideration of 112 respondents of whom 109 were population with disability and 3 were local leaders in charge with disability (one at District level and two at Cell level of Mpenge and Ruhengeri) who live in Muhoza Sector in Musanze District.

The results of the study indicated that all 112 respondents equal to 100% of the respondents agreed that they have difficult of disability; they face with the various barriers as cited along this study. All concerned respondents said that the appreciation level of individualization of disability against disabling environment takes positive way even if it is at low level.

The study concludes that there is a significant role of individualization of disability on enabling adequate environment for PWDs in Rwanda, using Muhoza administrative sector of Musanze District as a case study. Accordingly, all objectives of this study were achieved and all hypotheses were verified and confirmed. At the end of this study, there are different suggestions to the concerned people like Musanze District staff which should prepare the individualized solution toward disabling environment especially Muhoza sector and population with disability should be aware for their rights to better campaign and advocate themselves.


1.1. Introduction

From childhood to old age, everyone is susceptible to being physically restricted at same point of their lives, circumstances that limit people’ possibilities to move may arrive at any time (UN-Habitat, 2014). Some common situation of limited movement may raise such a pregnancy, a broken leg or walking with a pram. At the beginning of the 20th century, disability was exclusively seen as a health condition and this paradigm started to shift when human rights approaches unveiled those persons with disabilities should not be discriminated against on the basis of disability, but it was integrated in the society as equal members. But nowadays, the concepts and discussions on disability focus on inclusion (social model of disability), and “medically-focused solutions have given way to more interactive approaches” (Medical model of disability) (UN-Habitat, 2014).

Researcher himself found that, work on individualization of disability and disabling environment is nowadays still a big issue in Rwanda and challenging since it has a limited literatures in disability history, however, it continues to pose a great challenge to PWDs studies in their endeavor by tracing the development and formation of individualized solutions towards disability issues. It is why this study seeks to present a coherent literature reviews on ongoing study and the factors that influence disabling environment and live conditions of PWDs towards disability issues from a historical perspective in Rwanda especially in Musanze-Muhoza sector as case study.

1.2. Background of the study

In form or another, all over the world, there are more than one million of the persons with disabilities (PWDs) in the world, of whom approximately 80 per cent are living in developing countries (WHO/World Bank, 2011). However their voices are often unheard (Leonard Cheshire Disability, 2014) and they are generally experienced with several barriers to the enjoyment of their right to adequate housing, including lack of physical accessibility; ongoing discrimination and stigmatization; institutional hurdles; lack of access to the labor market; low income; and lack of social housing or community support. In addition, accessibility remains a key issue (UN-Habitat, 2014). Approximately 16% of the adult population aged 18 and older worldwide is disabled (John Kitching Kingston University, 2014).

According to the World Health Survey (2011) , aro und 785 million (15.6%) persons of 15 years and older live with a disability while the Global Burden of Disease estimates a figure of around 975 million (19.4%) persons. It estimates that 110 million people (2.2%) have very significant difficulties in functioning, while the Global Burden of Disease estimates that 190 million (3.8%) have “severe disability” in developing countries (WHO/World Bank, 2011). Disability affects a wide range of socio-economic outcomes, including labor market participation, but also other factors that shape participation, including education, information and transport (UN-Habitat, 2014) while the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have been the most successful anti-poverty push in history, with the number of people living in extreme poverty cut in half since PWDs account for a remaining 20 per cent of people living in extreme poverty (Grammenos, S., 2011).

The global trend and evolution of people with disabilities is increasing partly because populations are ageing i.e older people have a higher risk of being affected by disability and because of the global increase in chronic health conditions associated with disability, such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and mental illness (WHO/World Bank, 2011).

At National level, the overall 446,453 (5%) inhabitants aged 5 and above living in Rwanda are PWDs. Out of which 221,150 (49.5%) are male and 225,303 (50.5) excluding children under five, for whom the identification of activity limitations poses problems. One observes a much larger number of persons with disabilities in rural areas (397,746) than in urban areas (48,707) . In addition, the previous population census (2002) estimated 308 501 (3.9% of population) Persons with Disabilities (NISR, 2014). Normally, the genocide against Tutsi in 1994 had resulted in much greater prevalence of disability either hacked off by machetes or destroyed by mines, bombs and soldiers (NCPD, 2010) while other more common major causes of this upward trend in the population with disabilities in Rwanda are poverty, disease and injuries, accidents, lack of medical care, population ageing and congenital. This shows that there is a need of strong works to be carried out to their homes to enable them to continue living independently (NISR, 2014). Yet, researcher notes that above mentioned obstacles are still arisen in Rwanda due to negative attitude of Rwandan society and many hills compose the country.

1.3. Problem statement

Really, society in every nation is still infected by the ancient assumption that people with disability (PWD’s) are less than fully human and therefore, are not fully eligible for the opportunities which are available like other people as a matter of rights (Justin Dart, 2008). In addition, the majority of the physical and psychological difficulties encountered by PWDs are the results of inaccessible environments rather than their impairment since this inadequate environment affects them day to day activities (Antika Sawadsri,2011)while the large number of PWDs in Rwanda is found in rural area (397,746) than in uran area (48,707) and the housing, housing-related facilities and neighborhoods are traditionally designed for people without disabilities (NISR, 2014).

Also, the World Report on Disability (2011) suggested all stakeholders including governments, civil society organizations and disabled people’s organizations to create enabling environments, develop rehabilitation and support services, ensure adequate social protection, create inclusive policies and programs, and enforce new and existing standards and legislation, to the benefit of PWDs since currently the life conditions and accessibility tends differ among people in term of self-movement (Daniel K., 2006). These show that there is a need to understand the built environments for PWDs. From the above different views, the researcher wishes to come up with the study which has the main objective of investigating, evaluating and analyzing the current situation of individualization of disability and disabling environment, and formulating the individualized solution to enable environment for PWDs in Rwanda, Musanze District particularly in Muhoza sector.

1.4. Research objectives

1.4.1. General objective

The main purpose of this study is to investigate the current situation of individualization of disability against Disabling environment (key barriers that affect the PWDs) through their live experiences, challenges and the best proposed solutions (individualized solutions) for assisting the national and/or local program planners, stakeholders, and implementers in designing, planning an adequate environment in order to restore or enable independent living, privacy, confidence and dignity for PWDs and their homing environment.

1.4.2. Specific objectives

The below are listed specifics objectives to realize the predetermined general objective:

1) To investigate the current situation of contextual factors that affect PWDs based on day to day activities (their life experiences), residence housing conditions, the causes and types of their disabilities.
2) To describe the socioeconomic characteristic of PWDs by their types of activity and income earned, ages, sex and marital status
3) To assess the level of Individualization of disability process against disabling environment in Muhoza Sector.
4) To identify the stakeholder, the programs or projects being involved in individualization process for enabling environment to PWDs.

1.5.Research questions

These research questions focused on the respondents’ life experience and real-life environment which yield a better understanding of how disability affects daily lives of PWDs, and what can be done to improve their lives.

Below listed are questions sought to realize the specific objectives of the research:

1. What are the contextual factors (environmental and personal factors) influencing the disabling environment?
2. What is the socioeconomic characteristic of PWDs by ages, sex, and marital status as well as type of difficult with the causes and their types of activities?
3. What is the level of individualization of disability against disabling environment?
4. What are the stakeholders, policies, programs and/or projects engaged in the process of individualization of disability and disabling environment in Rwanda especially in Muhoza Sector?

1.6.Research hypotheses

According to Kasomo Daniel (2003) , the hypothesis is a tentative prediction of outcome of the results in other world is a tentative answer to the problem.

The hypotheses of this research work are as follow:

1. Individualization of disability doesn’t have an effect on disabling environment.
2. Disabling environment is not depending on the individualization of disability

1.7. Rational of the study

This study will be useful to: The national and local government authorities in charge of Disability like program planners, stakeholders, and implementers by assisting them in designing, decision making, planning, staffing and implementing the disability movement, and in formulating the community-based urban and rural projects which can improve the life conditions of PWDs and other vulnerable of disability in Muhoza; The sponsors and donors who have the will of supporting some of PWD’s to get full information in an easy way and know where to carry out; The PWD's themselves who will become sensitize on individualization of disability, how it can help them to overcome in disabling environment (inadequate environment for PWD’s) and they will also identify different ways of advocating and campaigning themselves; Everyone who want to know something about any disability issues or challenges, this will be a good source of information which may be put on net as a developed research paper in future and the researcher himself to increase his knowledge in Statistical Career and its applications.

1.8. Scope and delimitation

This study was conducted among PWD's aged at 5 years and above in relation to their surrounding environment within Muhoza administrative boundaries in Musanze District, Northern Province-Rwanda. It was specifically focus on investigating the current situation of individualization of disability to enable their environment in Muhoza Sector the year of 2015.

1.9. Limitations of the study

This study limited by the constraints of the researcher himself such as inadequate time, lower level of experience, funds and the environment constraint like inability of some respondents to give the required information.

1.10. Organization of the study

This study is organized into five chapters. The first one deal with the general introduction on disability includes: background of the study, statement of the problem, objectives of the study, research questions, scope and limitation of the study, hypothesis of the research and organization of the study. After general introduction, it is followed by the second chapter which is the literature review of the research: in which researcher tried to define key concepts and other relating theory. The third one describes the description of research methodology and the study area; it details the area of the topic, research methods and techniques to conduct this study. The fourth treats the data presentation, analysis and interpretation of results where researcher tried to present the collected data in different tables and interpret them. While the last chapter is the summary, general conclusion and suggestions to different concerned best solutions respect with predefined research objectives.


2.0. Introduction

This chapter involves the review books and other necessary documents found to know what other researchers have written on the subject related to the topic entitled. Different books, internet and reports journals have been consulted.

2.1. Definitions of the key concepts

According to the Macmillan Dictionary (2015), individualism refers to believes that the needs (rights and freedom) of each individual are more important than the needs of the whole society or group. Individualist: a person who does things in their own way without worrying or being concerned about what other people think or do. Individuality: the total sum of an individual’s distinctive character and peculiarities. Individualize refers to change something so that it meet the needs of a particular person or each individual (Macmillan Dictionary, 2015).

2.1.1 Individualization

Copenhagen Institute in its report on individualization of society and community (2005) (Birthe Lindal Hansen, 2005) defined Individualization as a standard conditions to measure community itself where a society as a whole increasingly claims its rights about the circumstances, preferences, needs of each individual while acknowledging the individual’s right to this and encourages society members to use it. In other world, it is an increased opportunities of individual to influence its own life and make its own choices).

2.1.2 Disability

The International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF, 2001) defines disability as an umbrella term for impairments, activity limitations and participation restrictions. It denotes the negative aspects of the interaction between an individual (with a health condition) and that individual’s contextual factors (environmental and personal factors).

2.1.3 Individualization of Disability

Combining these two definitions stated above (2.1.1 and 2.1.2), researcher defines Individualization of Disability as the rights claiming’ phenomena in desired manner to standardize (maximize and establish) the independence, self-choice, self-control and self-determination of lifestyle for PWDs over the available opportunities to access valued (full participation) roles and community inclusion (Researcher, 2015). In other world, it is the process of moving disability for helping PWDs to adapt in society as persons without disability.

2.1.4 Disabling

According to the dictionary, Disabling: ‘if a condition or injury is disabling, it affects your body or your brain and makes you unable to use it properly’.

2.1.5 Environment

And environment refers to the place in which PWD′s live and work including all the physical conditions that affect them.

2.1.6 Disabling environment

Putting into consideration the definitions from (2.1.4) and (2.1.5), researcher defines disabling environment as the physical environment (environment factors) which affects the PWD’s and make them unable to use it properly (inaccessible environment for disabled persons). Recall, the UNCPD (2008) in its article 9 states that persons with disabilities should have equal access to the physical environment, transportation, information and communications and all other facilities and services (United Nations, 2008).

2.2 Theoretical framework ofindividualization of disability

This section contains different theories about some cases of individualization of disability and disabling environment all over the world; history of disability and individualization of disability in Rwanda as a disability movement in Rwandan society.

2.2.1.Individualization of disability and disabling environment all over the word

Case 1: Individualization of disability

In the Lubaga Division, the Kampala School for the Physically Handicapped is home to 100 individualized youths who suffer from both mental and physical disabilities. The school maintains a productive garden that contributes to feeding the student body. The pupils range in age from 6 to 24 years and are divided into eight individualized groups. All of the groups participate in some way in the growing of crops and the maintenance of the gardens because physical and mental people with disability have a “very, very low chance” of finding employment in the formal sector and these disabilities severely limit their opportunities to achieve stable and secure adulthoods said by Florence Tweyambe (2007) (Martin B., Joanna W., René V., 2007), a teacher at Lubaga Division School. Along this school, the youngest learn about agriculture through observation. Older students maintain class plots, and during the wet season they grow cabbages, carrots, kale, maize, amaranths, and the popular orange-flesh sweet potatoes. The harvested crops go directly into the school nutrition program, as students reside there permanently. Florence also explained that urban agriculture is individualized solution for Students with disability since it might be an integral part of the school curriculum because it will enable the students with disability to support and feed themselves in the future and they may eventually be able to sell the surplus, and they therefore practice selling techniques with the teachers. They will also have a greater chance of staying healthy and less likelihood of relying on begging or worse for survival.

Case 2: Disabling environment

Regarding to the view of Siebgers (2004: 4), "“The cause of oppression usually exists in the social or constructed environment and not in the body. Every inaccessible building is a closet representing the oppression of people with disabilities by able-bodied society", Nitsan Almo (2010) developed a theme across Israel in 4 universities websites and organizations websites "University as a Disabling Environment - Barriers to Learning and-Obstacles along the Way", This study found that most PWD’s face with many challenges, the most challenges includes: body functioning and structures, activities and participation, environmental and personal factors which affect the individual activities in their current environment (performance and activity limitations).

In his study, the researcher also needs to investigate the environmental challenges faced by PWD’s of locality of Musanze–Muhoza Sector. The difficulties and barriers face by them (inaccessible learning materials, inequality in examination conditions, inadequate understanding of the students’ needs and lack of inclusive academic environment) are coherent with the Israeli diverse discourse and different names in which student with disabilities are being called at universities websites and organizations websites on disabilities and accommodations, which creates a disabling environment in universities across Israel.

2.2.2. The disability situation in Rwanda society

In ancient Rwandan society, often PWDs are commonly addressed by their type of disability rather than their real name. In Kinyarwanda, the PWDs are dehumanized by calling them a disabled person or literally a worthless broken piece of pot "ikimuga”, ibikuri, kajorite, impumyi, ibipfamatwi, abasazi etc. They were also considered as a curse with the wrongs deeds of ancestors and so they were serving as a punishment (Rwanda Mainstreaming disability in development, 2005).

VSO added that during the colonial era, Christianity was introduced which taught that persons with disabilities need society’s compassion and care. Christian organizations began to take care of PWDs by providing clothing, food and medical care. Slowly attitudes towards persons with disabilities began to change but they continued to be considered as objects of pity and charity. This continued to be the case and even today most of the interventions in health and education are undertaken by faith-based organizations such as the Brothers and sisters of Charity, the Lillian Foundation, and the Centre Smaldone.

2.2.3. Individualization of disability in Rwanda

The researcher divided this process of making PWDs to be self independent and be aware for their rights within Rwandan society into two parts: pre and post genocide of Tutsi in 1994.

a) Before genocide against the Tutsi in 1994

The PWDs in Rwanda were historical excluded from the Rwandan society. Children with disabilities were hidden in their housing house or simply abandoned by their parents in the bush where numerous negative expressions were used by society to describe PWDs (Philippa T., 2005).

The individualization of disability has begun across the Rwandan country in the early 1960’s which considered as Disability Movement. Around 1961-62, a catholic priest Fraippont Ndagijimana which takes care of children and adults with disabilities started HVP Gatagara, a centre for children with physically disabilities in the southern town of Nyanza. The centre provided some basic literacy education and training in carpentry, laboratory science, tailoring, rehabilitation, employment opportunities and other simple force works. These have been more ‘visible’ as the organizations supporting PWDs. Many of these centers have been supported by faith-based institutions particularly the Christian faith churches.

The Catholic Church has been active and the majority of the centers are supported by local parishes in addition to funding from catholic organizations such as CARITAS. Prominent among these centers are the Centre St Fillipo Smaldone which caters for deaf children, HVP Gatagara which cares for persons with physical disabilities, Centre Amizero for deaf children run by the Presbyterian Church, and Gahini centre for the deaf(NCPD, 2014).

In 1974, HVP Gatagara became a member of the Association des Centres des Personées Handicapées d’Afrique Centrale. After help from Handicap International, then a collective association (Tubakunde) was formed which became the official representative of Rwandan centers in 2006. Between 1975 and 1978, a number of cooperatives were formed by PWDs from Gatagara. With the assistance of Fraippont the cooperatives formed organizations such as Mera and Socorwa.

In 1978, a recognized orgaganization by the Rwandan govenment of AGHR (Association Génèrale des Handicapés du Rwanda) was formed by former students of HVP Gatagara as a means of furthering the wellbeing of students after completing their education at the Centre but many PWDs had not enjoyed this benefit. Thus the individualization of disability in Rwanda was born as the disability movement. In 1988, Fois de la Lumière, a French-based Christian NGOs supporting persons with disabilities came to Rwanda and established its activities, that included support to 2 centers for children and parents of children with mental disabilities while in 1989, the Association Nationale de Sourd-muet au Rwanda was formed as the national association of the deaf - in English Rwanda National Association of the Deaf (RNAD)

In the early part of the decade, as a result of the war and genocide, many of the existing centers and DPOs ceased to function and their structures were destroyed. Many of their staff fled the country while others were killed. In the latter part of the decade, when normalcy was restored, a number of these centers re-opened It should be noted that government up to the end of the 1990 ties did not provide any specific services to PWDs outside of the mainstream services provided in public institutions. An early attempt to bring together all the DPOs and centers took place in 1991 when the Federation Rwandaise des Associations et Centres des Handicapées was formed. It appears that this organization did not yield significant influence on the disability landscape as little is actually known about its activities from the time it was formed.

It was in the late 1990s that previously existing DPOs resumed work, however under difficult conditions. Most of them lacked the infrastructure and management capacity to carry out effective advocacy, lobbying and income generation activities. The genocide of 1994 has left many survivors with different types of disabilities (such as traumas, blindness, physical disabilities, etc.).

b) After genocide against the Tutsi in 1994

New organizations called Rwanda Union of the Blind (RUB) was formed after 1994 by blind Rwandans from exile bringing new ideas of organizing PWDs from abroad with the purpose rehabilitation services at the Masaka Centre and it was a member of the African Union of the Blind (AFUB). Other organizations formed during this period were: FDPR - for physical disabled and youth in 1996, Mulindi Japan One Love in 1993, Disabled War Veterans Association (DWA) in 1998 and an Association of Disabled University Students in 1995.

Since 2000, numerous associations and organizations working on disability related issues have been formed. These entities include Persons With mental Illnesses and epilepsy (WWD); in 2001, there was creation of the Federation of Associations and Centres for Persons with Disabilities of Rwanda (FACHR).

Recently, parents of children with mental disabilities have also become actively involved in matters of their children. They have formed associations and established centers such as Jyamubandi Mwana, Umwana nk’abandi and Tubakunde (2005). With support from Rhenanie Palatinat and other sources, these centers have become important service providers and advocates for the rights of children with mental disabilities. In 2007 FACHR was replaced by the National Federation of Persons with Disabilities (FENAPH) as an umbrella organisation of persons with disabilities and they elected from sector, Districts and national levels. In addition, there are also village-sector level associations/cooperatives with very few members. There is a need for these small associations to register at sector and district levels.

FACHR′ federation from its inception in 2001 has been recognized by government as the common voice of PWDs in Rwanda leading it to be included in the Constitution in 2003. Although its legitimacy to represent all organizations at times was questioned by PWDs and DPOs, it has been able to carry out its tasks largely due to commitment of its member organizations and financial and logistical support from government.

However, some disability groups expressed dissatisfaction with the lack of representation of certain categories of disabilities that a restructuring of FACHR was agreed. A consultative process of the restructuring was initiated with participation of DPOs, FACHR, Rwanda National Decade Steering Committee and MINALOC. To ensure the representation of all major disabilities, 5 disability categories were agreed upon: Blind, Persons with physical disabilities, deaf, parents of children with mental disabilities and others. Others includes person with disabilities that are not clearly defined.

After mutual agreement between the involved parties, MINALOC in collaboration with the Electoral Commission took up the responsibility to conduct new elections to FACHR. Before the election process MINALOC issued the Ministerial Order giving the Electoral Commission the guidelines for carrying out the elections to FACHR and its local structures.

Hereafter, the new Executive Committee decided to rename the Federation to FENAPH (Federation Nationale des Personnes Handicapés). The change in name was motivated to create an inclusive organization that could incorporate all forms of associations working in the Disability Movement and bilateral organizations such as USAID and international NGOs such as Handicap International and VSO has since 2005 been engaged in the disability field and has supported the disability sector in Rwanda.

After the November 2007 elections, a restructured Disability Movement based on the government’s decentralized structures emerged. The new structure runs from the sector level to the national level where an executive committee comprising of five (5) persons administers the national body with the help of a national secretariat. The five persons are elected to represent the five categories of disability recognized by government in the Ministerial Order (Physical disabled, Blind, Deaf, Parents of children with mental disabilities and others). Currently, the government provides space for FENAPH in the basement of the Ministry of Local government and As Rwanda joined the East African Community in 2007, a representative from the Disability Movement has also been elected (in 2008) to represent Rwanda in the East-African Parliamentary Assembly(Country Strategy RWANDA, 2008 - 2012). In Rwanda, the individualization of disability is currently dominated by the activities of a handful of DPOs which have received support from a variety of sources mainly from foreign donors.

Due to the weaknesses of FENAPH, the Government of Rwanda has separated Civil Society and elected representatives, hence creation of NCPD in June 2010 by article 188 of the Rwandan Constitution which is a public and independent institution with legal personality and both financial and administrative autonomy and composed of all PWDs. It was created by Rwanda Constitution of June 03, 2003 as amended in June 2010. It is regulated by the law n°03/2011 of 10/02/2011 determining its responsibilities, organization and functioning. Its vision is to build Rwandan society where people with disabilities participate fully in all areas of life; inclusion is promoted, and Human Rights and Equal Opportunities for people with disabilities are realised and its mission is advocate and mobilize Rwandan society on issues affecting persons with disabilities in order to build their capacity and ensure their participation in the national development. The Council is assisting the Government to implement programs and policies that benefit persons with disabilities.

Currently (210–2015), the government of Rwanda through the NCPD-RWANDA is implementing the process of categorization of PWD′s across the Rwandan country.

2.3. Disabling environment in Musanze

This analysis of disabling environment is made with a researcher himself by criticizing for Musanze District Development Plan (DDP, 2013-2018) by putting into consideration of PWDs and it is based on the current status (challenges and achievements) of different activity sectors since Disabling environment does not refer to the accessibility in time of housing condition, transportation only but also including the different sectors like:

- agricultural sector, it is known that almost Rwandan people are engaged in agriculture (90%) and it became the main source of income, this is still a big challenge for PWDs where they face with the problem of the Rwandan structure known as one thousand hills with traditional agriculture techniques while PWDs need the modern agricultural techniques like mechanized agricultural and terracing systems to realize the required agriculture activities;
- private sector which is the crucial need in creating the Income Generating Projects for the PWDs, this is still at lower level where there is an inadequate way of creating options for increasing income avenues for the poor including the PWDs due to the lack of dynamism and the willingness of commercial opportunities with new options for local enterprises which can improve living conditions of population especially for PWDs;
- urbanization sector, while Musanze City has been identified as one of the six secondary cities to be promoted as pole of economic growth and the percentage of households living in a modern planned area is estimated to 2.9% compared to 0.6% at national level, and also with the high percentage of households living in agglomerations of 7% against 4.8% at national level. But in terms of living in grouped settlements (imidugudu), Musanze still face some challenges because the percentage of people living in settlements is still low (25.8%) compared to the national level (37.5%) i.e this may cause to be not joyfully in participation and movement of PWDs since they need the adequate environment for their special daily activities;
- Education sector, the combination of different efforts of all stakeholders has made at district level including the citizens’ ownership through their participation in classroom construction for nine and twelve year’s basic education. These actions have been undertaken to ensure that appropriate, affordable and easily accessible education is available to all population. But the problem of inclusion education is still arises due to the inappropriate designed classroom which are not affordable for the PWDs.
- Health sector, the district has made some health facilities including a referral hospital and health centre facilities. However, they are inadequate given its vastness (limitlessness). Most of the facilities lack the necessary equipment and personnel to enable them provide quality service to the people particularly to the PWDs.
- ICT sector, it has been regarded as a key element of Rwanda’ development process and it is expected to create jobs, facilitate general economy development, and ensure that Rwanda will transform into globally competitive, information-rich, knowledge-based economy where the ICT penetration is valued in terms of voices (i.e phones) and data (i.e internet) services. ECV3 showed that Musanze has 48.6% of households owning a mobile phone against to 45.2 %country-wide. In addition, 14% of urban population is classified as computer literacy against 4% at national level, but only 2% of the rural population.

Recall, the UNCRPD requires states to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by persons with disabilities, including their right to adequate housing, Article 1 requires States to promote respect for their inherent dignity, Article 9 further demands that States adopt measures to identify and eliminate obstacles and barriers to accessibility, notably in relation to housing. Article 28 recognizes the right of persons with disabilities to an adequate standard of living for themselves and their families, including adequate housing, and demands that States take appropriate steps to safeguard and promote the realization of this right without discrimination on the basis of disability, for instance by ensuring that persons with disabilities have access to public housing programs (UNCPD, 2008).

2.4. Stakeholder’s analysis for disability issues

It is a crucial need to identify the stakeholders involved in disability sector toward individualization of disability and enabling environment for ensuring their participations that can make a sense establishment of disability community ownership where various stakeholders are involved in enabling environment at National level even at local level especially Muhoza Sector in Musanze District.

These stakeholders include: individuals, groups or organizations that must influence the individualized solutions. Moreover, private sector forum is working within Musanze District in partnership with private sector actors only to facilitate the implementation of some policies relate to the disability issues.


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Individualization of disability and disabling environment in Rwanda. A case study in Musanze District
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individualization, rwanda, muhoza, musanze, district
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Theogene IYAKAREMYE (Author), 2019, Individualization of disability and disabling environment in Rwanda. A case study in Musanze District, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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