Permanent Solutions are Innovative Solutions
Through the implementation of Everyone Forever in both Rulindo and Kicukiro districts, Water For People-Rwanda is increasing access to safe water and establishing the sustainable environments that support water infrastructure. Through multi-year commitments with district governments, partners are investing financial and technical resources to reach Everyone.
In both districts, the program focuses on water system management and appropriate tariffs that are affordable and allow for cost recovery and technical support to ensure water infrastructure is repaired when needed and replaced when required. In Kicukiro, this tariff is collected by water sellers, working at specific water points, who are overseen by the water utility Water and Sanitation Cooperation Ltd. In Rulindo, two private operators were hired in 2015 to manage all water infrastructure in the district. These operators are responsible for the day-to-day operation and maintenance of the water systems, and remit a portion of tariffs collected to the district to save for eventual replacement of water systems. Also in Rulindo, to make water more financially acceptable, especially for those living further from the water source, a standard tariff for the entire district was implemented in 2015.
As Water For People and its partners get closer to reaching Everyone in the district with safe water, additional efforts have been placed on sustaining water services through institutional capacity development. Water For People is working to build private operators’ capacity in technical and financial management, business plan development, and water resource protection planning and implementation.
Water For People—Rwanda is promoting Sanitation as a Business in Rwanda through a number of different channels. In Kigali, Water For People facilitated the introduction of the country’s first sewage treatment plant, a plant that processes raw sewage, turning it into fuel. Constructed and opened in 2015, this plant is now selling fecal fuel to companies within Rwanda. Additionally, Water For People has tested pit latrine emptying technologies in Kigali, and is supporting a sanitation entrepreneur to begin emptying pit toilets in the city in 2016.
In rural areas, Water For People-Rwanda is working with a partner organization to sensitize households to the need for improved sanitation services through household meetings, hygiene and sanitation campaigns, and support of community hygiene and sanitation clubs. These activities led to the construction and rehabilitation of hundreds of latrines in 2015 in Rulindo and Kicukiro. To support this work, Water For People works with microfinance institutions and Cash Round Groups to encourage them to add sanitation loans to their portfolio, enabling a customer to receive a sanitation loan and pay it over a period of time at an affordable interest rate. A cooperative of masons specializing in latrine construction has also been facilitated to develop an appropriate marketing strategy and affordable tariff based on each technology chosen by customers.
In addition to this sanitation work, Water For People-Rwanda works with local partners to facilitate the construction of sanitation and water infrastructure in schools throughout the districts of Rulindo and Kicukiro. This increases their access to sustainable sanitation and water services and promotes sound hygiene practices among students. To support increased sanitation coverage, Water For People has constructed ecological toilet blocks for girls and boys, equipped with urine-diversion systems. Compost from these ecological toilets is used by schools on their gardens and/or sold to farmers to generate funds to support the long-term maintenance of school facilities. In light of girls’ sanitation needs, girls’ facilities include a changing area that allows them the privacy they require during menstruation, and incinerators for the disposal of sanitary products. Each sanitation facility has a hand-washing station with water provided either by a rainwater catchment system or piped water system. To promote behavior change that will support the use of the water and sanitation facilities, Water For People promotes water, sanitation, and hygiene education in schools.
Water For People-Rwanda is continuing to work toward increasing water coverage in the districts of Rulindo and Kicukiro. Together with partners in Rulindo, Water For People-Rwanda is constructing piped water schemes (gravity and pump driven) to serve communities, schools, and health facilities, and rainwater catchment systems in schools to serve as a complementary water source. In addition to this infrastructure work, Water For People-Rwanda will work to increase the sustainability of water systems, primarily by training both district staff and water operators in water system management and maintenance. Additionally, Water For People is working with the District of Rulindo to develop a customer feedback service. This service will enable community members to provide feedback on the quality of water service they are receiving, allowing a consumer to notify a private operator, via a text message, that their system is not working or that the water seller is not adequately doing their job.
In 2016 in Kicukiro, Water For People-Rwanda will continue to implement school water and sanitation projects. Water For People will also continue to work with the Water and Sanitation Corporation, the water service provider in the district, to increase the water supply. Additionally, Water For People will complete a communal rainwater harvesting system.
In 2016, Water For People will expand its efforts to a new Everyone Forever district: Gicumbi, where the organization will focus its efforts on collecting baseline data and identifying what water systems are necessary to bring the district to full water coverage.
In all its intervention areas, Water For People will continue to promote improved sanitation services through support of sanitation entrepreneurs and support of community sanitation and hygiene clubs. To create a truly national movement, Water For People-Rwanda continues to advocate for Everyone Forever throughout all of Rwanda by engaging the national government and other non-governmental organizations in conversations regarding the adoption of Everyone Forever approach.