Community Solutions Impact Individuals, like Clarisse
As a young mother of toddlers, Clarisse Mutuyimana needed all the help she could get. Stretched thin by cooking, cleaning, and keeping her children safe, Clarisse had little time or attention to devote to clean drinking water.
Clarisse’s conflicting priorities forced her, like many in Amahoro village in Rwanda, to attend to more immediate concerns. When money was tight, she chose to run the risk of contracting illness from contaminated lake water rather than purchase firewood or charcoal. Similarly, when time was in short supply, she would fetch a quick jerrycan of unfiltered water rather than spend hours boiling it at home. As a result, stability was a scarce resource in Clarisse’s life. It often seemed as if she and her children were trapped on a see-saw. When financial concerns were low, health concerns were high, and vice-versa.
Adding to her recurring physical ailments, Clarisse had suffered for years from high blood pressure. To monitor her condition, she paid weekly visits to her village’s health center.
During that time, two SAM2 community filters were installed at the health center.
Clarisse knew of people whose lives that had been changed by the savings, health benefits, and convenience they afforded. But, this was the first time she had access to a similar solution. And so, encouraged by some of the hospital staff, she began filling a jerrycan with clean water after her appointments.
Within just a few weeks, Clarisse began to see changes in her household.
While sickness had seemed like a constant refrain in the past, nearly a month had now gone by without any family members contracting illness. At the same time, no longer having to purchase charcoal meant that she’d been able to save a bit of money, which she began using to buy fresh fruits and vegetables at the market. Slowly but surely, a virtuous cycle began to emerge.
After several months of benefitting from the SAM2 community filter, Clarisse is amazed by the changes in her family. Her story is a testament to the way that community solutions can impact the lives of individuals.