Project information

Vision for a Nation: Outreach to 15,000 villages

Vision for a Nation's unprecedented and award-winning programme is training Rwanda's nurses to provide nationwide eye care on a sustainable basis. In 2016-17, the nurses are visiting all 15,000 villages in Rwanda -- to raise awareness and provide eye care services direct in villages.

January 2016 - December 2017

Charity information: Vision for a Nation Foundation

Vision for a Nation Foundation logo
  • Need


    Worldwide, 285 million people live with the disability of vision impairment and have reduced economic productivity, education outcomes and quality of life. Uncorrected Refractive Error is the primary cause of vision impairment and can be easily corrected with glasses. However, training and retaining sufficient numbers of specialist eye care staff is unaffordable for most low-income countries. In general, the most remote and poorest areas of low-income countries have the least access to eye care.


    We are training Rwanda's health care nurses to provide eye screenings and to dispense glasses to all who need them. The nurses dispense reading glasses and also innovative adjustable glasses that instantly change focus at the turn of a dial. These are less than 10% of the glasses, but play a critical role by reducing the need for ophthalmic staff, high cost eyewear and lens inventories.

    Eye care is now sustainably embedded within Rwanda's public health system and its health insurance schemes.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    The trained nurses will provide eye care in all 15,000 villages in Rwanda by December 2017


    » Increase the total number of nurses trained in primary eye care from 1,300 to 3,000 between September 2015 and December 2017.
    » Fund the per diem costs for the trained nurses to visit all 15,000 villages and communities in Rwanda; for a total of four half-days per village.
    » The nurses to provide 1 million eye screenings and 120,000 glasses. Glasses are sold for £1 and the supply of glasses is financially self-sustainable.
    » Dispense 500,000 eye drops for minor conditions and refer 200,000 serious cases to the eye care specialists at Rwanda's hospitals.

    We monitor the number of villages visited and eye screenings and glasses provided. Each of Rwanda's District Hospitals reports to VFAN and the Ministry of Health on these targets.

  • Impact


    The project will improve the education, economic productivity and wellbeing of our beneficiaries. We have commissioned the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine to undertake a major and academically-rigorous impact evaluation to track and assess these impacts over a two year period.


    The primary risk is long-term sustainability. We have addressed this by designing our programme to support Rwanda's Ministry of Health to build its own national and sustainable eye care service. Eye care is now an integrated part of Rwanda's public health service and national health insurance schemes. Rwanda has well-structured primary health care and has doubled life expectancy in the past 20 years. To further promote sustainability, the glasses are sold to beneficiaries for £1 per pair.


    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 work and our impacts on education, productivity and wellbeing. This report will be published by the London School.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £750,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £750,000 Nurse Outreach Per diem costs for the trained nurses to visit all 15,000 villages and communities across Rwanda

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    James Chen £375,000 Guaranteed
    HCD Trust £20,000 Guaranteed
  • Background


    Rwanda has a young, vibrant population and is the most densely populated country in sub-Saharan Africa. Since the 1994 genocide, the Rwandan Government is globally recognised as a model for economic development. It is one of the fastest growing economies in Africa and since 2007 it has benefited from GDP growth in the region of 8% per year. Transparency International rates Rwanda as one Africa's least corrupt countries and the Government is well-structured and highly effective.


    The population of Rwanda is 85% rural and the GDP per capita is $644. Over 10% of Rwandans (or over 1m people) need glasses and this constitutes 3% of Rwandans age 11-20 years, 10% in the age 21-45 years, and 70% of those over age 45. During the 2016-17 outreach programme, we estimate the nurses will provide 120,000 beneficiaries with glasses and will refer a further 200,000 to have their sight restored at Rwanda's hospitals.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    We have successfully delivered the first two phases of the Rwanda programme. Phase 1 consulted and designed the programme and Phase 2 provided initial training for over 1,000 nurses and established a sustainable eye care service at Rwanda's 502 local-level health centres. The nurses have now already provided over 500,000 eye screenings and dispensed 65,000 glasses. In 2016, VFAN won the 'International Aid and Development' category at the highly prestigious UK Charity Awards.

    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.

    Tom Rosewall

    Tom is Chief Executive and has over 30 years senior-level business experience with Adlens Ltd., Westinghouse Electric, Knoll International and X-Rite.

    Dr John Nkurikiyie

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

    Sebastian Ling

    Seb is Director of Partnerships. He has over 15 years experience at the UK's Department for International Development, the OECD, UN and NGOs.

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 MP, Secretary of State for International Development