UNHCR visits WV WASH activities in Mahama Refugee Camp

By Mary Murewa, Communications Officer, WV Rwanda

World Vision Rwanda Commended for Quality of WASH activities in Mahama Refugee Camp.

Accompanied by the Rwandan minister of Refugees and Disaster Preparedness, and other government officials, the UNHCR Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees, Ms Kelly T. Clements, visited Mahama Refugee Camp located in Mahama sector Kirehe district in the eastern province of Rwanda on Tuesday 17, November 2015. 

The visitors went on a guided tour around the camp by the camp officials visiting different activities and services offered by the implementing partners in collaboration with the Rwandan government striving for the well-being and safety of the Burundian refugees in the camp.

The officials visited World Vision Rwanda’s WASH activities including the Akagera water treatment plant that is managed and operated by World Vision Rwanda. The plant treats all the water that is used by more than 45,337 refugees in the camp. The treatment plant has the capacity to treat water up to 900,000 litres per day.

UNHCR Deputy High Commissioner commended the work done by the government of Rwanda and other partners in ensuring the safety of these refugees but on a special note thanked World Vision Rwanda for the great work of meeting the standards of the water served in the camp.

“I am very much impressed by what you have done to ensure the safety of the refugees in this camp. We know it has not been easy but again, I am very happy because the clean water standards have been met in the camp and every refugee has got access to it, this is very good and commendable”, she said.

She made the comment after seeing how dirty water is treated and then availed to the refugees in the camp through pipelines connected to the treatment plant. This water is then directed to the tanks installed in different places around the camp from which the refugees access the water. 

Initially, water supply in the camp was a big challenge, but with the support from UNHCR, World Vision Rwanda brought in its WASH expertise, now all the refugees are able to get between 15-20 liters of water every day. 

The education center, health and nutrition center, child protection center are some of the other services run by different partners operating in Rwanda. Rwandan Minister of Refugees and Disaster Preparedness, Seraphina Mukantabana also pledged the government’s continued support to ensure the wellbeing of the refugees.

‘’We shall continue working with all our partners here and other countries in order to ensure that, the refugees are safe. We all pray for peace to prevail in their country so that, they can go back to and stay peacefully in their country”, she said. 

Mahama Refugee camp has about 45,337people from Burundi with women and children accounting for majority of the population. It was established following the violence and political instability outbreak in the neighboring country of Burundi in April 2015. This is the first time the UNHCR deputy High Commissioner has been in Rwanda and the first time she has visited Mahama Refugee camp since its establishment seven months ago.