Water For People Rwanda, an organisation which has been focusing on the development of high-quality drinking water and sanitation services, is targeting to provide clean water to 1.5 million Rwandans in 15 districts over the next five years, to add to an existing 1.02 million people it has served over the past 15 years.
The organisation made the revelation on February 5, on the occasion to mark 15 years of operations in Rwanda. Speaking during the colourful ceremony which was attended by senior officials and other invited guests, Eugene Dusingizumuremyi, the Country Director of Water For People Rwanda, highlighted the significance of this ambitious target.
Dusingizumuremyi said the goal is to enhance access to clean water and sanitation for Rwandans and contribute to the country’s vision. The initiative will dwell on construction and maintenance of water, sanitation, and hygiene infrastructure.
Since its establishment in Rwanda in 2008, Water For People has positively impacted over 1.02 million Rwandans across 1,297 villages in five districts, providing them with access to clean water.
Water For People for Rwanda is a subsidiary of Water for People International, non-governmental organization based in Denver, Colorado, one of the United States of America (USA). It started its activities in Rwanda in 2008.
In the districts of Rulindo, Kicukiro, Gicumbi, Karongi and Gisagara, Water For People has provided clean water and sanitation in 1,297 villages, 297 schools and 64 medical centers in these areas have been provided with clean water and related services. they are introduced to sanitation and hygiene practices and are taught to take care of hygiene.
Water for People has worked with the Government of Rwanda to reach over 1 million people in 10 districts with clean water, sanitation and hygiene
Through a five-year project dubbed “Isoko y’Ubuzima” funded by USAID, the organisation is working with the government to improve access to clean water Nyagatare, Kayonza, Rwamagana, Ngoma, Kirehe, Nyabihu, Ngororero, Ruhango, Nyanza and Nyamagabe.
Celestin Hatangimana , a resident of Gicumbi district, Northern Province, says the project has improved their lives by bringing water closer to their homes
“Since Water For People started working with us, we no longer have to travel long distances to find water. It is now closer to us. The community, schools, health centers and other places now have water,” Hatangimana said.
Dusingizumuremyi says that the organization has invested more than $46.7 million about Rwf60 billion, to improve access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene to the people.
“We are truly proud of this journey which we have walked with the people. We have made good progress together, working hand in hand with the government,” the Water for People country director said, admitting however that challenges remain.
“We are well aware that there are thousands of people, if not millions, in Rwanda, Africa and elsewhere, who do not have access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene services, reminding us that the journey is still long. We have to do more and this calls for more collaborations,” Dusingizumuremyi added.
He said that they will continue to work with the Government of Rwanda to address the gap in access to clean water, as part of efforts to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially the sixth.
Dusingizumuremyi says that they will work with the Government of Rwanda, the District administration and other stakeholders, so that more than 1.5 million people will be provided with clean water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services in the next five years.
The Minister of Infrastructure, Dr. Jimmy Gasore, who was the guest of honour, said that the Government of Rwanda is grateful for the contribution of Water For People towards the country’s ambition of driving towards 100 percent access and they will continue to partner with the organisation to this end.
The Director General of the Water and Sanitation Coorporation (WASAC), Prof Omar Munyaneza, equally commended Water For People for the various project they initiated in Rwanda, which created jobs for over 48,500 Rwandans over the past five years, and for the construction waster treatment plants in Gicumbi, Rulindo and Nyamagabe districts.
Prof Munyaneza says that by the end of the Government’s seven-year plan (NST1 for 2017-2024), 82.3 percent of Rwandans will have access to clean water near their homes, at an average distance of 500 meters in villages and 200 meters in urban areas.
“We particularly thank Water for People because in their areas of operation, we have already exceeded the 82 percent target,” Prof. Munyaneza said.
Prof Munyaneza says that there are other partners who are working with the government to scale up access to clean water to 100 percent, including the African Development Bank (AfDB) that recently provided a loan of Rwf274 billion for this cause.
Similarly, he said, the World Bank has committed to help Rwanda to restore 55 water canals to improve runoff water management, a project that will be completed by the end of 2025.