Project information

Clear Vision for Rwanda

Over the past five years, VFAN has supported Rwanda's Ministry of Health to establish a nationwide eye care service that is accessible to all Rwandans. 1.8 million people have had eye screenings and 140,000 received glasses. We are fundraising to ensure sustainability and enable all Rwandans to see.

January 2018 - December 2018

Charity information: Vision for a Nation Foundation

Vision for a Nation Foundation logo
  • Need


    Worldwide, 285 million people live with the disability of visual impairment and have reduced economic productivity, education potential and quality of life. Uncorrected Refractive Error is the primary cause of visual impairment and can be corrected with glasses. However, training and retaining sufficient numbers of eye care specialists is unaffordable for most low-income countries. In total, an estimated 2.5 billion people are living with poor vision.


    We have trained 2,500 of Rwanda's nurses to provide eye screenings and glasses to all who need them. The nurses dispense low-cost reading glasses and highly innovative adjustable glasses that change focus at the turn of a dial. These reduce the need for ophthalmic staff and custom-made glasses. To date, over 1.8 million Rwandans have had an eye screening and 140,000 received glasses. All beneficiaries with more complex needs are onward referred to eye specialists at Rwanda's hospitals.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Ensure sustainability of Rwanda's new eye care services through 2018 and beyond.


    » Provide technical support to the Ministry of Health as it progressively takes responsibility for all eye care activities currently undertaken by VFAN.
    » Monitor and evaluate the results of the eye care service during 2018. This will also be critical for scaling our work to other low-income countries.

    We will monitor the number of eye screenings and glasses provided during 2018. Each of Rwanda's District Hospitals reports to VFAN and the Ministry of Health on our shared targets.

    Aim 2

    Scale our work to other low-income countries - including by testing new innovations and technologies


    » Establish an Eye Care Innovation and Training Centre in partnership with the University of Global Health Equity in Rwanda.

    We will track (a) the number of low-income countries that seek advice from the new Training and Innovation Centre; and (b) the total number of health workers trained.

  • Impact


    The project will improve the education outcomes, economic productivity and wellbeing of our beneficiaries. An independent cost-benefit analysis in 2015 estimated that Rwanda loses $60m per year from poor vision. More recently, we have commissioned the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine to undertake a major impact evaluation to assess the impacts on our beneficiaries over a two year period. The Rothschilds Ophthalmology Foundation is also studying the cost-effectiveness of our work.


    The primary risk for VFAN is the long-term sustainability of our work. Our activities for 2018 are specifically focused on addressing this risk by supporting the Ministry of Health to assume responsibility for all eye care activities. The VFAN team in Rwanda will be reduced from its current level of 14 staff to a sustainable core team of 3 to 4 staff. To further promote sustainability, the glasses are sold to beneficiaries for £1 per pair and the revenue accrues to the Ministry of Health.


    We report regularly on our performance against the metrics listed above. We have also commissioned the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine to undertake an evaluation of our impacts on education, productivity and wellbeing. This report will be published in 2018.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £30,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £30,000 Staff salaries Retain a core team in Rwanda of 3-4 staff
  • Background


    Rwanda is the most densely populated country in sub-Saharan Africa. It is one of the fastest growing economies in Africa and since 2007 has benefited from GDP growth in the region of 8% per year. Life expectancy has also doubled in the last twenty years. Transparency International rates Rwanda as one Africa's least corrupt countries. The primary health system is well structured and is based on a network of 502 local-level health centres.


    The project will have two key beneficiary groups:
    (1) The 11.8 million population of Rwanda will retain access to eye care and glasses.
    (2) Other low-income countries in Africa and Asia will be able to access the Training and Innovation centre. This will be based at the University of Global Health Equity and staffed by the VFAN team. It will support other countries with eye care trainings and by testing innovative technologies such as smartphone-based eye screenings.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    VFAN has successfully delivered our Rwanda programme over the past five years. In close partnership with Rwanda's Ministry of Health, we have trained 2,500 nurses. The nurses have provided over 1.8 million eye screenings and dispensed 140,000 glasses. In 2016, VFAN won the 'International Aid and Development' category at the UK Charity Awards. We are fast becoming a global leader in delivering local-level eye care services. A new objective for 2018 is to test new smartphone-based eye screenings.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    James Chen

    James is the Founder of the charity and also our major donor and a Trustee. He is also the Founder of the Chen Yet-Sen Family Foundation.

    Tony Hulton

    Tony is Chief Executive and has over 18 years experience working with DFID, the UN and other major development agencies.

    Dr John Nkurikiyie

    Dr Nkurikiyie is our Ophthalmic Advisor. He is also President of the Rwanda Ophthalmology Society.

Adjustable glasses for those who need them

Adjustable glasses for those who need them


The price of one pair of low-cost reading glasses

These affordable self-adjustable glasses are a real game-changer ... this can transform the lives of millions of visually impaired people.

Rt Hon Justine Greening, Former UK Secretary of State for International Development