Rwanda is a landlocked country situated in central Africa with a total land area of 26,338 square kilometres. It is known as ‘the land of a thousand hills’ and has twenty-three lakes, five volcanoes and several rivers. According to the Fourth Population and Housing Census carried out in 2012, the population of Rwanda is 10,537,222 people with an average annual population growth rate of 2.6% and population density of 416 persons per square kilometres, having a majority of its population engaged in subsistence agriculture. Its official languages are Kinyarwanda, English and French. It is bordered by Uganda in the north, Burundi in the south, Tanzania in the east and the Democratic Republic of Congo in the west. The 2013 - 2018 Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy indicated that Rwanda’s GDP per capita is 644 USD. Rwanda is a member of the East African Community and other numerous global and regional organisations and treaties of interest to potential investors.

According to the 2014 Joint Monitoring Program (JMP) Report by UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO), 68 percent of the rural population and 81 percent of the urban population in Rwanda have access to improved water sources. These numbers considerably overestimate access to water in the country as they do not take into consideration the number of users per water point, accessibility throughout the year, or water quality. Access to improved sanitation services is estimated at 64 percent in the rural and 61 percent in the urban areas, while open defecation is said to be at 3%.

In April 2008, Water For People opened its office in Kigali, Rwanda’s capital and largest city. Since then, Water For People—Rwanda has worked with various partners to provide sustainable drinking water, sanitation facilities and hygiene education to communities and public institutions (schools and health facilities) in the districts of Kicukiro and Rulindo through Everyone Forever; a unique programmatic effort to provide water and sanitation services to Everyone in targeted districts, Forever. It means these districts and communities never need another international water agency to address their water and sanitation challenges again. Lasting water and sanitation solutions can only be achieved when all players—the private sector, civil society, and central and local governments— are involved and supportive. The key partners of Water For People—Rwanda are Kicukiro and Rulindo Districts; Ministries of Infrastructure, Health and Natural Resources; Water and Sanitation Corporation; and the local NGO, ORSD (Rwandan Organization for Solidarity and Development.)

The Rulindo Challenge Program

In October 2010, Water For People-Rwanda partnered with the Government of Rwanda on “Rulindo Challenge,” an initiative to provide full water coverage to the more than 288,000 people living in Rulindo District by 2017. Through this multi-year commitment, partners are investing financial and technical resources to reach Everyone in Rulindo, with Water For People-Rwanda providing 55 percent of hardware costs, the Ministry of Infrastructure through the Water and Sanitation Corporation Ltd providing 30 percent, and the district of Rulindo providing 15 percent of water supply component. The software component is also supported by Water For People-Rwanda through hygiene education, community mobilization, capacity building, and monitoring. Over the last five years, this partnership has resulted in improved access to water supply for 105,002 people. In addition to increasing access to drinking water through infrastructure development, the initiative is also tackling sustainability challenges to ensure that systems built today last well into the future. The program focuses on water system management supporting public-private partnerships and affordable tariff rates, and allow for cost recovery and technical support to ensure water infrastructure is well-maintained, fixed when needed, and replaced when required.

Kicukiro District Community Water Projects

Since 2009 Water For People, in partnership with the Water and Sanitation Corporation Ltd and the district, has been working toward reaching full water coverage for the 319,661 residents. Unlike the Rulindo Challenge Program, there has been no fixed financial support in Kicukiro District, but the Government of Rwanda, including the Water and Sanitation Corporation Ltd and beneficiaries, has contributed in kind support to cover 50 to 65 percent of the hardware costs, while Water For People has covered the remaining hardware costs in addition to the software component. This includes capacity building, district water board support, monitoring, mobilisation, hygiene education, FLOW, advocacy, studies, and events. With the district, Water For People has also supported the installation of rainwater harvesting systems in vulnerable communities.

Sanitation as a Business

When it comes to developing an industry around sanitation, Water For People-Rwanda is promoting and facilitating sanitation-related loans for households. To create a demand for the loans, Water For People supports small-scale hygiene and sanitation campaigns that encourage people to build or renovate a toilet. To create a supply, we work with microfinance institutions, such as Savings and Credit Co-operatives (SACCO) and Cash Round Groups, and encourage them to add sanitation to their portfolios, enabling customers to receive sanitation loans that can be paid back over time at affordable interest rates.

For a period of nine months (January-September 2014), 689 households in four sectors (Ntarabana, Burega, Buyoga and Shyorongi) of Rulindo District built or improved their toilets with loans from Cash Round Groups or local SACCOs or with their own money.

School Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Promotion Program

Water For People-Rwanda is working in schools throughout the districts of Rulindo and Kicukiro to increase access to sustainable water and sanitation facilities and promote sound hygiene practices among students. We work with local partners to facilitate construction of sanitation and water infrastructure at schools. To support increased sanitation coverage, Water For People has constructed ecological toilet blocks for girls and boys, equipped with urine-diversion systems. The schools use compost on their gardens and sell it to farmers to generate funds to support long-term maintenance of school facilities. Each sanitation facility has a hand-washing station with water provided by a rainwater catchment or piped water system. In light of girls’ sanitation needs, sanitation facilities are separated by gender, and girls’ facilities include a “showering” area for privacy during menstruation, and incinerators sanitary product disposal. In addition, Water For People is developing infrastructure to increase water provision at the school level, constructing rainwater catchment systems and extending piped water. To promote behaviour change that will support the use of the water and sanitation facilities, Water for People promotes water, sanitation and hygiene education in schools through water and sanitation committees and hygiene programming.

  • Augustin  Bikorimana
  • Eugene  Dusingizumuremyi
  • Richard  Gakwerere
  • Perpetue  Kamuyumbu
  • Stephen  Mugabo
  • Flavie  Nyamwiza
  • Monique  Uwimpuhwe
  • Bruce  Uwonkunda
  • Jean Pierre  Bucyensenge
  • Marine  Ingabire
  • Emmanuel  Muzigirwa
  • John  Ndungutse
  • Sandra  Nise
  • Sam  Noheli
  • Oliver  Tuyishimire
  • “Safe water transforms lives. We put all our efforts in finding solutions to water poverty so as to give women hope, children health and communities a bright future”

    Each year, World Water Day highlights the important role of freshwater. Under the theme ‘Water and Jobs’, this year Water For People-Rwanda raises a glass of water forward to celebrate World Water Day and is dedicated to continue working towards reaching Everyone Forever target. Water For People-Rwanda strives to increase access to sustainable water services and protect water sources through water resource management plans and therefore, bringing sustainable water solutions to people in need. WFP-R staff raising a glass of water

  • Rulindo targets universal water coverage by 2018

    Newtimes Rulindo article 2015

    Rulindo District is targeting to have universal access to safe water by 2018, officials have said.

    The safe water will be provided through a project dubbed Rulindo Challenge, a joint initiative between the district and its development partners.

    Justus Kangwagye, the district mayor, in an interview this week, said they are working ahead of the 50-year national deadline for universal water coverage.

    Click here to view the article

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