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.
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.
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.