September 18, 2011

Final Weeks in Rwanda

Eleanor Hayes-Larson,
GHLI Student Fellow
September 2011

My experience in Rwanda was incredibly rich on a variety of levels, both at play and and work. One of my goals for the summer was to leave feeling like I really knew the country. I traveled almost every weekend and saw nearly every corner of the small country. I met and spoke with many people who varied in age, profession and background and feel like I now possess a good understanding of the country. I was very welcomed by my colleagues in the Ministry of Health and leave with new friends. (The picture above was taken with my colleagues as they took me out to dinner on my last night in Rwanda.)

I left Rwanda having completed several rounds of revisions and editing on documents that had not officially been approved for adoption by the time I left but were getting close. When validated, these documents will represent the introduction of the first national policy on health research for Rwanda – very exciting!

The other exciting thing about my work in Rwanda this summer is the way it has laid the groundwork for further improvements to the country’s health research. The policy creates a space for the development of strategic plans, other operational documents and research agendas that will truly guide the way forward for research in Rwanda.

As I sit in my room in New Haven, I am very glad to have had the opportunity to work with the Rwandan delegation and to work on the research policy and guidelines. I will continue to work on the documents until they are approved, and I particularly look forward to seeing the ripple effects of more documents and plans being created, which will ultimately result in more and improved research for health in Rwanda.

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