Leave no one behind: shining a spotlight on adolescent Congolese refugees in Rwanda

Briefing papers
March 2019
Roberte Isimbi with Nicola Jones, Elizabeth Presler-Marshall and Marie Merci Mwali

To deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals and its ‘leave no one behind’ agenda, it is necessary to shine a spotlight on the least visible refugee communities – including adolescent girls and boys living in refugee camps in Rwanda.

There are currently approximately 75,000 Congolese refugees in Rwanda and about half are under the age of 18. Little is known about adolescent refugees’ specific needs and outcomes. We know that adolescents, and especially adolescent girls, face a wide variety of age- and gender-specific risks, but national statistics are not disaggregated in a way that makes those needs visible.

In order to improve our understanding of adolescent refugees in Rwanda, this policy note summarises the findings from a desk-based review of relevant policy and legal documents as well as a qualitative research study with 20 key informants and dozens of adolescents (including both younger adolescents aged 10–12 as well as middle-adolescents aged 13–15) and their caregivers living in three refugee camps in Rwanda during 2018. The policy note, published by Gender and Adolescence: Global Evidence (GAGE), presents findings and policy recommendations on young adolescent refugees’ access to education and learning, and their bodily integrity and freedom from violence.