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A refugee’s voice on family planning in Mugombwa Camp

“My name is Desange Mukantwali and I am 28 years old. I married five years ago and have two kids. I left Congo when I was 23 years old and got married on my way to Rwanda, in Nkamira Transit Center. When I reached Mugombwa Camp, I learned about family planning programmes through sensitization by the health workers, but I was pregnant at the time.

The nurses at the health center explained the benefits of family planning, but I was very scared of the side-effects, as some women in the community had shared their experiences with me. But I decided to try myself. I decided to take [contraceptive] pills but stopped after three months, as I started to lose weight.  In discussions with the nurse I moved to Jadelle [implant], which suited my needs.

View of Mugombwa Refugee Camp in Rwanda’s Southern Province, hosting Congolese refugees.

After two years my husband and I decided to remove the Jadelle as we would like our first born to have a brother or sister. After the delivery of my second born, I opted for a long term method again. I now use an IUD [intrauterine device] and I am planning to use it for at least 10 years. By that time, my husband and I will have a clear vision of our life and family.

You know, life in the camp is complicated. I am the main provider for the family, and I do not want to see my children sad and growing-up in bad living conditions, without access to basic needs.”


Mugombwa is a camp in the south of Rwanda, currently hosting 10,420 Congolese refugees. One in four refugees are women of reproductive age, and moreover youth and adolescents make up 26.9% of the refugee total population.

Under the leadership of the Rwandan Ministry in charge of Emergency Management (MINEMA) and UNHCR, UNFPA and other One UN partners, with financial support from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), provides Gender Based Violence prevention and response, family planning and adolescents and sexual reproductive health (SRH) interventions in the Camp. Nonetheless, the SRH services uptake is still low in comparison with other camps: contraceptive prevalence rate is 26%, whereas the average in all camps is 38%, with only 14% of women attending the required four antenatal care services.