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Secondary school education


This project aims to support brilliant but disadvantaged young Rwandans to pursue secondary school education.


Rwanda: Prioritizing the youth 


In order to reach Rwanda’s Vision 2020 to become a middle-income country, four (4) thematic priorities have been defined in the Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy II for 2013-2018. Productivity and Youth Employment is one of them where education, skills and technology are considered key drivers of productivity. In this respect, the years and quality of education play an important role in shaping the knowledge and skills that will turn students into a productive and qualified workforce.

This is one of the reasons why Imbuto Foundation puts a strong emphasis on primary and secondary school education, as they embody the foundational years of learning.


The Scholarship project: background and results


This project was initiated in 2002-2003 to financially support bright students from an economically vulnerable background. It provides beneficiaries in boarding school with school fees and materials currently estimated at a cost of $300 per student each year.


It selects within a pool comprised of disadvantaged students, including orphans, children heads of households and economically vulnerable youth. Selected beneficiaries must be enrolled in public schools and obtain an annual average grade of at least 70% with boys and girls having an equal chance of joining the program. For a transparent selection process, public secondary schools recognized by the Ministry of Education send their requests to Imbuto Foundation, along with official reports approved by selection committees in schools. The reports must indicate students’ eligibility for our scholarships, based on selection criteria. 


The project provides beneficiaries with school and examination fees, school materials and uniforms as well as health insurance. Individuals, private sector companies and non-governmental organizations are among the main contributors.

We have close to 1,000 scholarships recipients at any given time since spots left vacant by graduates are filled with new students. To date, more than 6,200 scholarships have been awarded to secondary school students.


Rationale for funding


The Scholarship project is Imbuto Foundation’s contribution to the formative years of Rwandan youth and prosperous development of the nation. For the program to have a most effective impact, we encourage sponsors to commit financially until students have completed the full 6-year secondary school cycle. However, circumstances do not always allow them to fund scholarships until students have completed above cycle. In such cases, Imbuto Foundation steps in to provide scholarships for the remaining years. That is because we estimate the cost of a student having to drop out of school due to economic circumstances to be far higher than the financial stress on our budget when taking on the cost of additional scholarships. 


But as a result of the above, our operating budget shows gaps essentially attributable to the Scholarship project. It is important to explain that at Imbuto Foundation, the operating budget is meant to fill circumstantial gaps in programming, pay for events and activities considered to be important for our goals, or respond to emergency situations. It is not meant to continually fund a program. As a mitigation strategy and to make the Scholarship project more sustainable, we have been encouraging our sponsors to commit to the full 6-year secondary school cycle even if it means sponsoring fewer students. It is better to ensure that 1 youth completes high school than having several receive funding for a few years and then having to find new sponsors. 


Request for funding


We would like to request to Friends of Imbuto USA to reduce our financial gap and have an increased margin to finance some of our priorities. As a reminder, our risk mitigation strategy for the future is to:


  • Continually encourage donors to fund the whole secondary school cycle in order to make the program financially sustainable.
  • For donors that cannot afford to commit for many years, we will encourage sponsorship of students that are in higher secondary levels and have only a few years left until completion.
  • For donors that contribute a limited amount, we will advise to allocate it to fewer students over a lengthier period of time rather than to a larger number of students over very few years.




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