At the heart of Help a Child Rwanda’s integrated programing is the self-help group approach. We use this approach to ensure that vulnerable communities have increased coping mechanisms for sustaining improved wellbeing of their families and children.

We use the following approaches to build community resilience:

1. Forming and building the capacity of adult self-help groups so that they gain life skills, begin saving, and take action to better care for their children.
2. Supporting self-help groups to start income generating projects which will boost household well-being.
3. Establishing and supporting Cluster Level Associations which collaborate with local government and other actors to address community concerns.

Self-Help Groups 
In partnership with local leaders, Help a Child Rwanda mobilizes and sensitizes the most vulnerable members of the community in order to form self-help groups. Each group consists of approximately 20 individuals who meet on a weekly basis. The members are taught financial and life skills as they begin saving and taking loans to improve their family’s wellbeing and income earning capacity. Groups are also encouraged to engage in income generating activities together. The vast majority of self-help group members in Rwanda are women and their involvement empowers them with the skills and confidence to participate in decision-making at the household and community level and to lift themselves out of poverty.

Cluster Level Associations 
Once self-help groups are mature, Help a Child Rwanda facilitates the formation of Cluster Level Associations (CLA) which join approximately 10 self-help groups, each sending two representatives to the association. CLAs meet on monthly basis and work to identify community needs then take actions to address them, in collaboration with local government and other actors. CLAs frequently identify child protection, health, nutrition, and education as high priority concerns, especially for the youngest children. Help a Child Rwanda therefore involves CLA's in ECD construction, TVET training and other program activities so that they own the initiatives and can sustain them even after phase out.