Rwanda, known as the “land of a thousand hills”, is a Central and East African country, known for its temperate climate and connection to the African Great Lakes region. Rwanda is also known politically for having very little corruption and for being one of only two African countries with a female majority in the national parliament, making the nation a worldwide leader for women’s empowerment.

Home to over 11 million people, Rwanda is one of the smallest African countries in land mass, but has one of the highest population densities in Africa. In 1994, Rwanda was devastated by the Rwandan genocide, ending the lives of an estimated 800,000 Rwandans and destroying the economy. Following the genocide, Rwandans leaders overcame tragedy and have rebuilt Rwanda on the values of peace and forgiveness. Rwanda is now led by President Paul Kagame, who took office in 2000.

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The availability of consistent and safe water has improved health for countless Rwandans.

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The Water Crisis in Rwanda

Although Rwanda stands out as a leader in the world in many positive ways, most Rwandans still lack access to basic drinking water, sanitation and hygiene. Rwanda ranks at No. 159 out of 188 countries on the Human Development Index. The HDI is part of the UN’s Human Development Report which is a composite of life expectancy, education and per capita income indicators.

The Water Solution in Rwanda

Water4 started working in Rwanda in 2014 in partnership with Water Access Rwanda, a youth led social enterprise that provides simple, affordable and durable water solutions in East Africa. Christelle Kwizera founded the company in 2014 and now serves as Managing Director. Water4 was introduced to Christelle while she was in college studying mechanical engineering at Oklahoma Christian University.

As Managing Director of Water Access Rwanda, Christelle directs management of all manual borehole drilling, water purification devices, geological surveys and community Water Access Sanitation and Hygiene (WaSH) trainings. Her skillset in community WaSH training has made her a leader among industry peers in the WaSH sector across Africa.

“The day is coming when people will look back and celebrate the strength and courage of this woman, born into chaos and who despite the worst odds, pushed forward for the sake of her people and for the world,” said Water4 CEO Matt Hangen.

Water Access Rwanda believes in sustainability, scale and job creation, all of which fuel their approach to tackling the water, sanitation and hygiene crisis. Water Access Rwanda believes sustainability can only be achieved when people and communities come to understand the value of paying affordable rates for consistent access to safe water which in turn provides the resources needed to sustain and scale the water solutions.

In just four years, Water Access Rwanda has grown to 37 employees and contractors, including two drill teams and multiple interns. It is known for being a youth-led enterprise, focusing on building up young leaders to generate change and innovation throughout Rwanda. In addition to Water4 funding, Water Access Rwanda is funded from other granting entities and from the sale of their water services, filtering and pump products.

Rwanda was the first Water4 partner country to implement the NUMA water system, known locally in Rwanda as INUMA. Water Access Rwanda has installed NUMA systems in multiple regions of Rwanda, providing communities with convenient access to safe water at an affordable price. The availability of consistent and safe water has improved health for countless Rwandans and has saved the lives of many who once relied on crocodile infested areas as their water source. The NUMA systems have also created job opportunities, contributing to a reduction in unemployment rates in Rwanda.

Water Access Rwanda hopes to employ 100 young people in Rwanda by the end of 2020 to continue providing innovative water systems. At Water4, we are constantly pleased with the growth, development and character of our partners at Water Access Rwanda and look forward to seeing how they continue to make waves across their country and continent.

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By Emilie Hechtner / Sources: Wikipedia / Category: Countries

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