Banda is a remote and isolated community, made up of five villages, located on the edge of Nyungwe Rainforest in Southwest Rwanda. Banda has impressive natural beauty, but a major development challenge in Banda is the lack of water access, particularly in two of Banda’s five villages. While water is plentiful due to the rainforest, Banda lacks the infrastructure to harvest it in the villages of Bururi and Gasumo. Bururi has two public taps for 159 households, leaving most families to fetch water in streams, which are contaminated daily with dirt and sand due to the erosion caused by nearby sand mining activities. For Gasumo’s 114 families, the entire village has a single remote water tap; so remote it is only used by seven households. Gasumo residents also use contaminated stream water or travel travel long distances to get tap water, some up to one and a half hours per trip. The burden of these activities typically falls on women and children. From October 2013 to March 2014, close to 30 percent of cases seen at the nearest health clinic were intestinal parasites, which are commonly spread through contaminated water.
In 2008 Kageno Rwanda, World Connect’s local, grassroots partner on this project, implemented a clean water project to bring purified water from a mountain spring source to two of Banda’s five villages through a gravity flow pipe system. This project will build upon these efforts by connecting two additional villages, Gasumo and Bururi, to the water source, improving water access and cleanliness for 179 families.
The pipeline and six taps are complete, meaning both Gasumo and Bururi villages have access to fresh, clean water. The chiefs of all of Banda’s five villages put in major efforts for the project, as well as members of villages not receiving water, clearly demonstrating the teamwork and dedication throughout all of Banda. The villages received trainings focused on tap maintenance and repair, hygiene, and the importance of clean water, providing important health education throughout the community. Tap Committees were formed at each tap, designating community members to be responsible for tap maintenance and repair, helping to keep the project sustainable. With new taps, women and children no longer have to get water from dirty streams or fetch water from far distances. Overall, this project has improved water access and cleanliness for 271 families.
“I am so happy because the project will directly impact people’s lives, especially mothers and kids who fetch stream water or walk over and hour for tap water. This project has been one large team effort and has been downright fun. The atmosphere is positive, and people are enjoying the work.” – Rebecca, Peace Corps Volunteer
“We drank bad water because we got water from streams. This caused different diseases that were caused by drinking bad water. This project helped us develop healthier lives because we get clean water all the time and we happily fetch water. This causes every household to develop better hygiene, either personal hygiene as well as hygiene in the household.” – Betty, Project Beneficiary
“It is good because now we have clean water accessibility—we used to fetch stream water, and we were afraid because people would get diseases from the water.” – Jeanette, Project Beneficiary
“African women are in charge of all activities—providing food, cooking, and housework. So, they used to use their entire time to go and fetch water (far away) and when it is raining they will not go far away to fetch water, they will fetch stream water. And the majority told us that using stream water was their everyday life… In Rwanda there is a saying, ‘If you teach a woman, you teach the whole country.’ So we hope that as the women spend many hours with their children, they will teach their children to avoid fetching dirty water (stream or stagnant water) and they will be the supervisors, supervising the community, especially children and women who are mostly in charge of the housework.” – Jeremiah, Project Leader