Green Space and Mental Health in Rwanda: Cross-sectional study

Rwanda Resilience and grounding organization (RRGO), University of Rwanda, College of medicine and Health sciences and University of Michigan ,USA, are partnering in conducting a study on green space and mental health in Kigali city.The implementation of this research project will bring back mental health restoration on youth , adults and children who visits green space in Kigali city.

Green Space and Mental Health in Rwanda: Cross-sectional study.

Samuel Habimana1,Paul Draus2, , Salman Qureshi3, Juliette Roddy4, Emmanuel Biracyaza1, Eugene Rutembesa5

 1 Rwanda Resilience and Grounding organization ; University of Rwanda, School of Public Health, Department of Community Health, Kigali-Rwanda

2Department of Behavioral Sciences, The University of Michigan-Dearborn, 4901 Evergreen Rd, Dearborn, MI, USA 48128

3Department of Geography, Humboldt University Berlin, Unter den Linden 6, 10099 Berlin, Germany

4Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Northern Arizona University

5Department of Clinical Psychology, School of Medicine and Pharmacy, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Rwanda, Kigali-Rwanda


Mental and behavioral disorders are approximately estimated to be 7.4% of the worldwide burden of disease. One in four individuals have suffered mental disorders and more than 80% of them are residing in low-middle income countries. Green space refers to be the place where a person gains the restoration, psychological healing, social reconstruction, relaxation and resilience that contribute to physiological and social development. This study aims at understanding the relationship between green space and mental health in Rwandan context.

The mixed method study will be conducted in Kigali City, the capital city of Rwanda. Kigali City residents will be recruited to participate in the study. Stata will be used to analyze the quantitative data and the factorial analysis will be computed. For qualitative data, spatial analysis and grounded theory analysis will be performed.Pilot study findings will inform impact of green space in mental health restoration in Kigali city

Keywords: Green space; Resilience; Cultural trauma; Green infrastructure; urban nature; Perception



Rwanda Resilience and Grounding organization would like to thank  and wishes Merry Christmas and Happy new year to  beneficiaries,staff, donors and  visitors.

Success and many blessing in year ahead!


Rwanda Resilience and Grounding organization has introduced laughter yoga in-community of Mayange sector, Bugesera District.

The laughter yoga practice was key for helping the community to heal depression, trauma and other mental health problems in their daily life. Laughter can provide an aerobic workout and, by increasing vascular blood and reduce blood pressure. Likewise, simulated laughter has been found to boost mood and produce a feeling of psychological well being an improving life satisfaction for elderly depressed women.

The participant said, “ we did not know that you can make laughter voluntary, however I tried to the exercise and I make laughter as unconditioned laughter. Now I am feeling happy, peace, relaxed and I would like to bring this candle of peace in my family”.

After the introduction of laughter yoga in village ,they make laughter yoga club “ Reconciliation laughter yoga club” which will keep mission to improve love , resilience and forgiveness among their community.

RRGO with partnership with Western Australia laughter yoga club  and Kim O meara will keep support in term of capacity building the reconciliation laughter yoga club in Bugesera for enhancement of trauma healing, quality of mental health , peace and love through laughter yoga.

Love and laughter





We who laughter”. This is a sentence said by Primary pupil in level two in celebration of World of Laughter day In Rwanda on 5th May 2019.

Normally, Worldwide celebrates World laughter day on 5th May for every year. In Rwanda, Rwanda resilience and Grounding organization in partnership with Western Australian Laughter yoga club, CVC-Rwanda and World Laughter Yoga University celebrate the day at Intwali Primary school at Nymirambo, Kigali Rwanda.

The day was happened on 5th May 2019 at Intwali primary school. It was amazing day and the pupils were involving in laughter practice and telling us the impact of laughter practice in their daily lives. One pupil said” I laugh every day and I feel happy and even my aunt when she sees me happy, she is happy too”

Another pupil for p6 said” We laugh because we see some one who make us happy but since you have come to teach us how to make laugh through laughter yoga practice, I am now laughter for healing stress, relaxed and …. “ We who laughter, we are lucky than other, I will keep ahahaahha hoahhaoahha… very good very good yes,

At this day, RRGO staff Ernest Rukinga was animating the students and their teachers at Intwali primary school. Laughter needs to keep spread and increasing different practice for make and learn to make laughter for having quality of mental health. We are laughter we who laughter!!!

Laughter yoga doesn’t have any language nor required high education. It is only simple and effective

medicine in healing as well as prevention stress and mental problems related.

“ Laughter, is best medicine!


Rwanda Resilience and Grounding organization (RRGO) met with team from Australia embodied in Roots TV in July 2018. The meeting was about discussing the possible working together and in terms of film the RRGO activities and doing fundraising for funds for building resilience in Rwandan community in this post genocide period.The meeting was happening at MURASTER HOTEL in Kigali Rwanda. It was greet pleasure that RRGO board meet with roots Tv Team along side their founder Mr. Abdulrahim Elmi. After meeting, the second day, Roots Tv Team with RRGO executive director visited RRGO beneficial from Huye district, Matyazo cell. They are group of ladies survived 1994 genocide against Tutsi. They always had trauma, depression and PTSD in their years after 1994. However, since they had been trained Laughter yoga and Community Resilience model skills by RRGO. They had recovered from mental health distress and make association of saving and loans where they save 100 frw(0,1 USD )Per week by each member. They target to buy cows, which will support them in agriculture service (milking their children and manure like land fertilizer). The 100% of them are farmer. RRGO has tried to raise funds for supporting them. Now, they have 30,000frw(in their saving account).

It was so nice that we did laughter yoga with them and they explain how laughter yoga practices helped them to back into recovery and reconfiguration after living in long period with trauma.The leader of their association Ms.Immaculate said” Despite we came across with genocide; we don’t have any way to keep stacked in past. The intervention we get, it helps us to move from trauma to resilience and other surpass resilience to post traumatic growth ” Like LIBERATA, She always is in crises during national commemoration of beloved one we missed in genocide against Tutsi but now, she even go in public speech and contribute to comfort others during national commemoration.




Since 2015 RRGO is promoting Physical, psycho-social and Public Health well-being through the Laughter Yoga and other psychological interventions including the CRM skills interventions for treating the various diseases and build the resilience among the individuals and community. Laughter Yoga is the effective intervention that is currently being implemented among Rwandans living with physical, social and emotional disorders since 2017. These particular psychological interventions help RRGO implement different materials for the mothers and their families seeking health care at Ngoma Health centre. This event aimed at promoting the hygiene and sanitation for the mothers, their families and their new born in the activity named «Health Care promotion for the pregnant women» in the programme of promoting bio-psychosocial health.

It was a day full of joy, when at Rwanda Resilience and Grounding Organization; we provided these hygienic and sanitary materials for pregnant  and get birth women  .The presences of the leaders of the Ngoma Health Centre was wonderful opportunity to the RRGO and get the message about what the beneficiaries need more for better life of their new born. Those issues include the lack of hygienic materials like soap, cosmetic materials, and clothes for their babies and mothers, nutrition which are rich in proteins such as porridge, etc. Besides, the women who were provided the materials for the hygiene and sanitation indicated that they were happy to obtain these materials and they insisted that in the pregnant period the encounter different Public Health problems that make in danger their fetus and can affect their new born and themselves. They claimed that they need hygienic materials and sanitation including the nutrient food (e.g. porridge, milk, vegetable and oil), proper clothing, materials for hygiene like soap, cosmetic materials, cares from the partner etc. These women said that when they continue missing these potential needs, they also meet some complications during delivery and sometimes develop post-partum disorders caused by these complications and poverty.

Still, for many women who are pregnant and after birth develop the health issues linked to poor hygiene and poor sanitation due to the lack of such materials contributing on their well being. During and after giving the birth, the effects associated with the health issues affect their health and the health of newborn because they have limited access to suitable products, sanitation and pain killers. Especially for low-income families or the poor families, it had for them to get hygienic materials like pads, nutrients food, emotion and physical care as well as the clothes are not affordable. This means that in many cases women rely on alternative materials that are mostly uncomfortable, not hygienic and not sufficient, like pieces of fabric, leaves or toilet paper.

The beneficiaries of this event organized by RRGO were excited for this new program in which they wished to continue in collaboration with the RGGO. After being introduced about Laughter Yoga, the beneficiaries were motivated to become trained about the Laughter Yoga which they thought it will help them to become more physically, socially and emotionally healthy.

The pregnant and get birth women from Ngoma Health Center of Ngoma sector in Huye district, in the Southern Province of Rwanda were so happy after receiving these gift for improving their hygiene and sanitation after getting birth or during pregnancy. RRGO was privileged to be with the beneficiaries who were provided these materials for promoting the hygiene and sanitation, which are more important for the health of these ladies and their families. This activity showed the organization what Laughter Yoga would contribute on. Therefore, equipping women with such Laughter Yoga intervention will help them overcome the physical, social and emotional diseases for these women and their families and communities they are from.

RRGO acknowledge KIM OMERA for contributing on getting clothes and some hygiene and sanitation offered on ladies who are pregnant and other who get birth after a week with poor condition.

Habimana Samuel and Biracyaza Emmanuel