Kigali - Post Report Question and Answers

What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

Household help is abundant, good and fairly cheap. Expats usually hire multiple household that include nannies, housekeepers, gardener (definitely needed as houses have big yards to maintain). most of them speak good English, French and/or Swahili. - Oct 2023

Household help is very affordable. We have a full time housekeeper who does all our cleaning, shopping, laundry, etc. and pay her 325 USD per month. We also have a part-time gardener, although our yard is small enough that we could really do it ourselves. - Aug 2023

Household help is pretty amazing. We paid our gardener about $350/mo and nanny/housekeeper about $400/mo. They made my life easier and it was the hardest thing to say goodbye to them. - Jan 2022

People pay between $100 and $200 a month for any type of household help. Most people seem to at least have housekeepers and gardeners, and families with little kids often have nannies. Some people have cooks as well. All of that said, if you're new to embassy living overseas, having help is not essential, and don't let people make you feel like it is--or that if you don't hire staff, you're not helping out the locals. If you shop at markets like Kimironko, you're contributing to the local economy in a way that doesn't suggest that locals need to be hired by expatriates in order to make it in life. Also, household help earns far more than most other professions in Rwanda, so hiring them may help them in the present, but upon your departure they might not be able to find jobs with equal pay/benefits. - Jul 2020

I was happy with our household help. Gardener/guard and nanny/housekeeper are common. A few great cooks are available, but not many. Drivers are very rare. - Sep 2019

A gardener's salary is about US$170/month, a housekeeper's is US$170/month, and a nanny is US$250/month. - Jun 2018

Readily available and inexpensive. It can be challenging to find one person who can "do it all" - most household staff generally prefer to do one thing; cleaning, cooking, nannying, gardening, etc. A part time housekeeper (2-3 days per week) can be found for 60,000 - 80,000 rwf (less than $100 per month). Nannies are a bit more. - Dec 2017

Everybody has it, and it's cheap. I pay 120,000 RWF (about $150/month) for a full time employee who does both housecleaning and yard work. Most people will hire housekeepers and gardeners (often part time/sharing), as well as nannies. - Jan 2017

Availability is not an issue -- cost varies from US$100-160 on average for an expat full time housekeeper which may or may not include extra money for their lunch food, all depending on the hours/days you have them working. However, you tend to get what you pay for so for a housekeeper with better English and experience, who can maybe do some cooking too, expect to pay in the US$140 and up range. - Apr 2016

Domestic help is easy to hire and generally low cost. A housekeeper could be anywhere from US$150-$300/month depending if they also nanny for you. A gardener could be about US$100/month part time. Things can grow quite easily in Rwanda so bring seeds! - Oct 2014

Domestic help is readily available and very good. A bit pricer than than some African countries but pretty great. - Jul 2014

Cost is rising because once help goes from one American to another they do not make less, and they typically get a raise. We pay US$580 a month for: a full time nanny (US$220/month), a full time housekeeper (US$200/month), a part time housekeeper on Saturday (US$60/month), and a part time gardener (US$100/month). - Sep 2013

Household help is available, but of generally low capabilities. I would not trust a Rwandan driver with my car, period. Knowledgeable gardeners are few and far between, but decent nannies and housekeepers are a bit easier to find. They average a $150-200 per month for full time. - May 2012

Domestic help is readily available, but quality varies so greatly you may end up hiring and firing a number of times before finding "the one." Don't be surprised if you are asked for loans over and over, the laundry detergent disappears and items break on their own in place with no explaination. Also, you will lose clothes to bleach stains, iron burns and rips. Good luck! - Apr 2012

You get what you pay for. If you are trying to go cheap, expect the house hold help to steal from you. On the average, one should pay at least $200 a month for a full time help or nanny. Cost of living is increasing and these people have families to provide for as well. - Jul 2011

Eight dollars a day per helper. You could have a full-time maid, a cook, and a part-time gardner and live without lifting a finger while at home. - Oct 2010

Domestic Help is available. In fact, if you can hire help and you don't it is considered very rude and selfish. We have a maid, gardener and guard. A maid costs around $160/month at 5 days a week 8 hours a day for a gardener it's around $120. The price of guards vary. - Jan 2010

Domestic help to include household staff, cooks, nannies, gardeners, drivers and security are easy to come by. English and French speaking individuals are easier to come by. Acquring help is usually by word of mouth from friends and/or colleagues. Cost can range from 20,000 RWF (US$40) to 100,000 RWF (US$200) per month. You get what you pay for. It is noteworthy to mention that a foot soldier in the Rwandan Army gets approximately 20,000 to 40,000 RWF per month, and a University professor at 100,000 RWF per month. 3-month probation is customary, but after that you must provide severance pay. Often you will not know the local law which requires household help to report their income and pay towards a government retirement plan. The Employer must also pay a certain amount. The majority of the people do not do this at the request of the domestic help. The domestic helpers will rationalize that the limited income they receive is barely enough to make ends meet. However, should you have problems with your employee the will be the first to report you to the local labour board. You will have problems. At the end you will pay! Also note domestic help will always have some type of emergency and request that you advance them their wages. Payment to the employers is by minimum deduction to their monthly salaries. Don't be surprise if your help has short term memory or does not return. Always have them sign a receipt that they received their wages at the end of the month. Rest assured they will go to the local board stating you never paid them in months. - Aug 2008

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