From being an association to be transformed into a Union, and now striving for its sustainability, it is a fairytale of the Rwanda Nurses and Midwives Union (RNMU), as it was presented in its 3rd National Congress.

When ANIR (Association Nationale des Infirmier/es et Sages-femmes du Rwanda) was being transformed in 2013 into RNMU, members gave themselves a target of becoming a self-reliant organisation as soon as possible by means of membership fee payment policy and investment, to become a legal entity, and increase its partnership both locally and internationally.

Members had also set an objective to instate national and local leadership structure and a capacity building policy, to insure the wellbeing of members.

In a four year report presented to the RNMU Second National Congress, members were told the majority of those objectives were achieved and others in course to be achieved.

Members were told the Union statute approved by the National Congress of the 30th June 2013, was ratified and published in the Official Gazette number 22 of 1st June 2015 which allowed the Union to fully fulfill its mandate.

RNMU leadership structure beginning down from health Centres or hospitals up to national level is established. RNMU leaders at health facilities (shop stewards)  are 427, 30 at the District Executive Bureau (DEB), six at each of the five Referral Hospital Executive Bureau (RHEB),   and six at the Education Chapter (ECEB).

Members were also told that as per now the Union counts 6476 members, among them 4052 having signed a consent form  authorizing the Union  a deduction at the source  of 1% from their salary as membership fee payment.

To highlight the ever growing Union’s financial capacity, members were told that from assets valued at 1 million Rwandan Francs in the embryo stage of ANIR, RNMU has now assets valued at 400 million francs, including a building valued at 350 million francs, two cars, and fixed assets valued at 50 million francs.

RNMU Secretary General explained to members that RNMU generates income from membership fee payment.

The contribution was first 500 Rwandan Francs a month per member, but the National Congress approved last year a policy of a deduction of 1% of member net monthly salary, after a consent form signatory.      

Between 2013 and 2017, RNMU generated 49,417,081 Rwandan Francs from membership fees payment and other revenues generated by RNMU were mainly from its building monthly rent.

Now the Union net balance stands at 14,194,547 Congress members were told.

Members were also explained that between 2013 and 2017, RNMU received sponsorship funds from the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) through the Norwegian Nurses Organisation (NNO) after signing a sponsorship agreement in 2013.

For the last four years, RNMU received such sponsorship amounting at 864.765.688 francs.

Members were reminded that this sponsorship will end by December 2018, thus a pressing need to find alternative for the sustainability of the Union.

On its objective to partner other professional organisation across the globe, members of the Congress were told that RNMU is a member of local Union umbrella CESTRAR, the international Nurses Council (ICN), and the CNMF (Commonwealth Nurses and Midwives Federation).

Members were told that RNMU has a strong partnership with local entities like the Ministry of Public Service and Labour, the Ministry of Health, the Rwanda Women Parliamentary Forum, the Digital Opportunity Trust Rwanda, White Rubbon, the Rwanda Women’s Network, and the National Council of Nurses and Midwives. Regionally, RNMU partners with professional organisation like the Uganda Nurses and Midwives Union, the Tanzania National Nurses Association, NONM, Zambia Union of Nurses Organization and Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa, while on international level, RNMU partners NNO, the African Health Professions Regional Collaborative and KCP.

For capacity building, RNMU has trained its members in leadership, female nurses and midwives leadership, roles and responsibilities, Unionism and Ndi umunyarwanda program, VIH and reproductive health trainings.