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Access to sustainable clean water service is critical for human survival and Water For People, has, since 2008, been striving to bring clean water to Rwandans in different parts of the country.
Water For People has been working in Rwanda; partnering with the Government of Rwanda, districts communities, businesses, and other stakeholders to provide sustainable access to safe water, and sanitation facilities and hygiene education to communities and public institutions in Rulindo, Kicukiro, Gicumbi, Karongi and Gisagara districts.
Ten more districts namely Nyagatare, Kayonza, Rwamagana, Ngoma, Kirehe, Nyabihu, Ngororero, Ruhango, Nyanza and Nyamagabe are supported under the five-year, USAID-funded project called Isoko y’Ubuzima. The purpose of this project is to enhance institutional strengthening and improve service delivery of water and sanitation services and products. These ten districts are serving to demonstrate that it is possible to achieve sustainable and resilient water and sanitation services to everyone everywhere in Rwanda and beyond through institutional strengthening and improving WASH service delivery as well as market systems.
Water For People’s Everyone Model, first born in Rulindo District in 2010, is a proof of concept and replicated in other countries where Water For People has interventions in Africa, Latin America and India (Uganda, Malawi, Tanzania, Bolivia, Guatemala, India, Peru and Honduras). This model served as a pilot for the Government of Rwanda and was scaled up under the District Wide Approach banner. This model aims at ensuring sustainable and lasting water and sanitation services for every family, school, and healthcare facility in a district.
Over the past 15 years, Water For People in Rwanda has invested over $46.7 million—that’s over Rwf60 billion at today’s exchange rate—in the provision of water and sanitation services in the districts of interventions. As a result of that investment, about 1,020,000 people in five districts have access to clean water and sanitation services. 1,297 villages, 297 schools and 64 healthcare facilities now have access to safe and clean water.
“As we celebrate bringing clean water to over a million Rwandans, it is high time to recognise the importance of sustainable water, sanitation and hygiene services that last for the well-being of our population. Indeed, water allows families to flourish and develop. Children have time to study and dream for a better future. Mothers have time to focus on developmental activities instead of spending much of their time looking for water; water that is often dirty and exposes them and their families to diseases. With easily accessed safe and clean water, entire families are happier and healthier,” said Eugene Dusingizumuremyi, the Country Director of Water For People.
“It is high time we all prioritise access to sustainable clean water and sanitation services that last, for the wellbeing of our populations.”
Noteworthy achievements include the implementation of water infrastructure in three out of the five target districts, benefiting over 1.02 million people. Water For People partnered with the Government of Rwanda and other partners to address sustainability challenges, supporting 24 out of 30 districts in developing WASH investment plans and water resources management plans. In addition, the organisation has also supported the establishment of three (3) faecal sludge treatment plants (DEFATS) in Gicumbi, Rulindo and Nyamagabe districts to improve waste management in and around these districts.
Additionally, innovative initiatives like the distribution of Sato products and the establishment of District Sanitation Centres (DSCs) contributed to promoting access to safe sanitation technologies.
The positive transformations brought about by Water For People’s interventions are evident in the testimonies of residents.
Alphonsine Mukanoheri from Gicumbi District highlights the drastic improvement in water accessibility and its impact on her community’s overall well-being.
She said: “The distance to fetch water was a two-hour round trip. The water was not clean, but it was the only option we had. Going to fetch the water every day meant we lost time that should have been dedicated to other activities.
“But all that changed when we got piped water. The cost of water has dropped tenfold and we are safe from illnesses. We also dedicate more time to activities that make our lives better.”
Similarly, Jean De Dieu Bamwinegwire, also a resident of Gicumbi, talked about the challenges of fetching water from contaminated sources in his village and expressed gratitude for the positive changes brought by piped water.
“Growing up in this rural community, we carried jerry cans to fetch water in the swamp. That water was dirty and contaminated. It exposed us to water-borne diseases. Often, people fell sick due to that dirty water, students would sometimes be late to school while mothers lost time searching for water, but all that changed when the piped water arrived in our village. Now we get clean water from taps just a few metres from our homes.”
Water and sanitation are essential to protect people against diseases and ensure they are healthier and happier. Available government figures show that in Rwanda, 41 per cent of the population is affected by intestinal worms. This can be reduced or even avoided by providing access to sustainable WASH services to everyone.
About Water For People
Water For People is a non-profit organisation headquartered in Denver, Colorado, USA, with a global mission to provide safe water and sanitation services. Water For People envisions a world where everyone has access to reliable water and sanitation services. Since 2008, the organisation has been actively engaged in Rwanda, partnering with the government, communities, and businesses to deliver sustainable water solutions, sanitation facilities, and hygiene education.
Through its flagship approach, Everyone Forever, Water For People has been working to bring clean water and sanitation services to the entire population in the districts of Kicukiro, Rulindo, Gicumbi, Karongi, and recently Gisagara. Ten more districts are being supported through the Isoko y’Ubuzima Project, a five-year USAID-funded project which champions institutional strengthening and service improvement.