One in every 10 people on Earth has no access to clean water. Rwanda is among the many countries in the world that have communities facing challenges resulting from a lack of clean water.
However, through combined efforts from the Government of Rwanda, and World Vision among other stakeholders, there has been tremendous progress to address this challenge.
In March of 2018, the then World Vision USA President, Richard Stearns met with government officials in Rwanda, and committed on behalf of World Vision, to raise resources to provide access to clean water for One Million people within five years from 2018, in the sectors where World Vision works. This milestone was achieved and recently celebrated, in Rwanda.
World Vision collaborated with the government of Rwanda to achieve this. World Vision covered 60 percent of the budget and the government of Rwanda covered 40 percent, through a partnership agreement.
Edgar Sandoval, the World Vision USA (WVUS) President, Lilian Dodzo, the World Vision East Africa Regional Leader, and high-level dignitaries from the government of Rwanda among many other stakeholders, graced the celebration of this milestone.
Sandoval applauded Rwanda, citing that the country is demonstrating that progress and change are possible when we work together, no matter the challenges.
He stressed how lack of access to clean water is a hindrance, especially for children, pledging commitment to continue providing support.
“As a father of three girls, having access to clean water is close to my heart. Because it is the girls and women that suffer the most. We shall not stop supporting until the only burden children have to carry is their books,” said Sandoval.
According to Merci, an 11-year-old girl in the Gicumbi district, her life has changed, and her education improved ever since she got access to water through this support.
“I used to walk a 90-minute round trip to get water every morning before school. I would delay getting to school and would be exhausted by the time I got to school. My story changed. We now have access to water a stone's throw away from home, I have enough school energy, and my grades have improved,” said Merci.
The impact of clean water access on the communities is profound. Once burdened by waterborne illnesses and limited opportunities, the transformation is remarkable. With access to clean water, the health of community members has improved significantly too. Waterborne diseases are reduced, and children can attend school regularly. The time and energy previously spent on long water-fetching journeys are being redirected toward education, livelihoods, and community development. Communities are thriving with newfound hope and a renewed sense of possibility.
Pauline Okumu, the National Director of World Vision Rwanda, emphasized that clean water plays a key role in improving the lives of people, especially children.
“Children are some of the most affected by lack of clean water. Improving access to water in communities, schools, and other facilities, improves the wellbeing of children, and livelihoods in communities generally,” she said.
She added that when people have water close to their homes, they spend less time in search of water hence more time to engage in productive activities thus improving livelihoods.
Over 970,396 people in Rwanda gained access to clean drinking water, 255 schools gained access to clean water, and over 40 health facilities gained access to clean water since 2018 when World Vision committed.
The construction and rehabilitation of water supply systems were implemented with approximately $30 million from World Vision and $16.8 million from the Government of Rwanda.
To ensure the sustainability of clean water access, World Vision Rwanda developed a comprehensive plan by engaging and involving the community in decision-making processes, enhancing the capacity of local water committees, and establishing maintenance and repair mechanisms for water infrastructure. By actively involving community members in water resource management, the organization fostered a sense of ownership and responsibility, ensuring the long-term viability of the projects.
World Vision Rwanda remains committed to working alongside communities, partners, and the government to ensure that every individual has the opportunity to thrive with access to clean water.
By Chloe Ineza - Communications Intern