London, 24 October 2016: The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has awarded Vision for a Nation Foundation (VFAN) a $395,000 grant to fund eye care for 5,000 communities across Rwanda. This is part of VFAN’s unprecedented outreach programme to deliver eye care to 100% of Rwanda’s 15,000 local communities.
The award is funded through USAID’s Development Innovation Ventures (DIV) programme, a year-round open competition that supports breakthrough development solutions with the potential to change millions of lives at a fraction of the usual cost. DIV works to source, test, and scale innovative development ideas that are evidence-based, cost-effective, and have the capability to deliver greater results.
VFAN’s outreach programme is providing all Rwandans with an opportunity to access potentially life-changing treatment, including medication and affordable glasses, in their local community.
The programme extends the reach of the primary eye care services now permanently established by VFAN at each of Rwanda’s 502 health centres.
Across Rwanda, over 850,000 have already been screened in just 2.5 years. Under the outreach programme which takes the same service directly to the people where they live, an additional one to 1.25 million people will be screened, with an estimated 120,00 people receiving glasses, 120,000 medication and 200,000 referred to hospital-based eye specialists. Ann Mei Chang, USAID’s Chief Innovation Officer and Executive Director of the U.S. Global Development Lab, comments: “DIV seeks fresh, new ideas that can deliver more impact for less money and can lead to sustainable development solutions. We are excited to work with these awardees to solve problems facing millions of people around the world.”
Tom Rosewall, VFAN’s Chief Executive Officer, comments: “USAID represents one of the most rigorous development funding regimes in the world. That they have decided to fund our innovative nationwide outreach programme is a great endorsement of our work in Rwanda. Over the next 16 months – with USAID’s support – the programme will have screened, treated or referred the vast majority of Rwandans of all ages who have issues with their vision and provide an example to the world that nationwide primary eye care can be accomplished and architected to be financially selfsustaining”.