Doctor treating patient. Nyagatare. Rwanda
Dr Ernest Munyemana. Nyagatare-Lewisham NHST partnership

Impact of the UK-Rwanda twinning partnership for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights services

Webinar: 26 May 2022

VSO's Health Practice area hosted an event on the 26 May about our successful twinning partnership between Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust, and Nyagatare District Hospital, Rwanda.

Watch the webinar recording to find out more about this successful example of a twinning partnership, hear the findings of an evaluation of the partnership and engage with key stakeholders and primary actors.

Twinning partnership

Volunteer Brown Niyonsaba sits across a table from a female health worker, teaching her Rwandan Sign Language

Evaluation of twinning partnership: Nyagatare District Hospital (Rwanda) and Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust (UK)

Key learning and evidence from the pilot twinning partnership project between two hospitals in the UK and Rwanda. The project aims to strengthen the sexual and reproductive health and rights services of both centres, the reciprocal exchange of expertise and skills.

This twinning partnership, brokered by VSO and funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) under our Volunteering for Development grant, has facilitated clinicians from both Lewisham and Nyagatare in Rwanda to share and learn from each-other, including through exchange visits in both the UK and Rwanda.

This has produced a range of benefits for both hospitals towards better services for the communities, from improved laboratory technology in Nyagatare to greater community outreach in both hospitals.


An evaluation undertaken earlier this year highlights the value that this model can bring about and complement VSO’s Volunteering for development approach. We'll take a look at the findings, achievements and recommendations from the evaluation. Evaluation of twinning partnership: Executive summary.

Presentation slides

Watch the webinar recording

We apologies as the video is only available in BSL from 13:42

Agenda and speakers

We were joined by health practitioners involved in the twinning partnerhip, by VSO volunteers and by representatives from the FCDO.

  • Welcome - Papa Diouf, VSO Global Practice Area Lead: Health
  • Opening remarks - John Overton, FCDO
  • Reflections from twinned institutions leads
    • Dr Emily Mabonga Consultant Physician Sexual Health and HIV, Clinical Lead, Lewisham
    • Dr Eddy Ndayambaje, Director General, Nyagatare District Hospital
  • Franklin Murangira, Project Implementation Lead, Rwanda
  • Helen Parry, Evaluation consultant
  • Testimony from a service user
  • Questions and answers

Going forward, VSO is looking to build on the successes of the UK-Rwanda partnership with further twinning work across other countries. We see it as an increasingly important part of our portfolio of work.

Papa Diouf
Papa Diouf, VSO Global Practice Area Lead (Health).

Find out more about our speakers

Papa Diouf, VSO

Papa Diouf is the Global Practice Area Lead for Health based in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. His role is to provide leadership to VSO’s global health portfolio with the ambition to better position our work and grow our impact and influence in the area.

Overall, he ensures that VSO’s health programmes are aligned not only with VSO’s People-First Strategy, building on our unique Volunteering for Development (VfD) methodology and blended volunteering approach, but also with the global trends in health. We use the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as one of the overarching frameworks we are working towards. Before that, Papa was the Country Director of VSO in Rwanda for six years.


John Overton, FCDO

John Overton is the Senior Programme & Policy Lead, Civil Society & Civic Space, in the Open Societies and Human Rights Directorate of the FCDO, based in the UK. FCDO have been supporting VSO’s twinning work as part of the Volunteering for Development grant.

Franklin-Murangira, Chief of Party, VSO Rwanda
Franklin Murangira, Chief of Party, VSO Rwanda

Franklin Murangira, VSO Chief of Party

Franklin Murangira is the Chief of Party for Rwanda since August 2021. He joined VSO from Right to Play Rwanda, where he was Program Manager, having worked in development for the last 17 years, with World Vision International, Africa Humanitarian Action, Care International, SOS Children’s Villages, Chance for Childhood, managing several donor awards and projects.

Projects Franklin has handled include those funded by NORAD, USAID, SIDA, BMZ, GAC, LEGO, EU and UN WOMEN. He also worked in Malawi and Nigeria where he supported the startups of emergency programmes and has also worked with Government with the Rwanda’s Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion as Strategic Advisor on Women Empowerment.

Dr Eddy Ndayambaje, Director General, Nyagatare District Hospital, Rwanda
Dr Eddy Ndayambaje, Director General, Nyagatare District Hospital

Dr Eddy Ndayambaje, Director General, Nyagatare District Hospital

Dr Eddy has been a doctor for more than ten years, specialising in gastroenterology. During his career, he has worked as a medical doctor in UN missions in Darfur, Sudan. From 2017 to 2021 he was Director General of Muhororo District Hospital in Rwanda.

Dr Eddy has been the Director General at Nyagatare District Hospital since 2021 and since then has been working with Dr Emily and VSO to develop and effect the twinning partnership.

Dr Emily Mabonga, Consultant Physician, Lewisham NHS Trust.
Dr Emily Mabonga, Consultant physician, Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust.

Dr Emily Mabonga

A consultant in sexual health and HIV and Clinical Lead for Lewisham Sexual Health, Dr Emily trained in Uganda and UK and has over 20 years’ medical experience.

She has a particular interest in HIV testing in non-traditional settings, postnatal contraception, antibiotic resistance in gonorrhoea and innovative service delivery and sexual health promotion models with an emphasis on community ownership.

Together with Dr Eddy Ndayambaje Director General, Nyagatare District Referral Hospital, Rwanda, Emily is working on a Twinning partnership with the support of VSO to build capacity of local service providers through twinning. She is aiming to do this in a reciprocal, equitable and co-creational way to ensure sustainable sexual and reproductive health service delivery.

Helen Parry, Consultant
Helen Parry, Freelance consultant.

Helen Parry

Helen Parry is a freelance consultant with 25 years’ experience working on HIV/AIDS, sexual and reproductive health, family planning, human rights and gender equality within a global context, focusing on marginalized and highly affected communities, including young people from key populations.

Helen worked for 16 years with the International HIV/AIDS Alliance (now Frontline AIDS) where she undertook a combination of senior technical lead, field-based and Secretariat-based programme roles. Since becoming an independent consultant, she has completed a range of assignments for clients including: UN agencies, major donors including DFID and the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria; and International NGOs, including Plan International, the International Planned Parenthood Federation and VSO.