In a small enclave of Rwanda’s Kagogo sector sits Gitare Health Center, a humble yet vital healthcare facility. The facility serves roughly 80 residents each day. Several years ago, Gitare’s leadership scraped together the funds to purchase two sediment filters for their building. These filters allowed them to meet their most urgent patient needs. But, their limited capacity left most patients, staff, and surrounding community members without access to clean water.
Several months ago, a representative from the Water Project connected with Ildephonse Nsabimana. Ildephonse is a community environmental health officer based at Gitare. Water Project volunteers connected with him to assess the health center’s needs more closely. Based on this assessment, the Gitare Health Center received a SAM2 community filter in November 2022.
Speaking with Water Project volunteers, Ildephonse reflects on the impact the new health center filter has already made in the short months since it was installed.
“This filter is already so useful to so many – not only the workers, but also neighboring community members.”
Indeed, thanks to its size and ease of use, the SAM2 filter has become an oasis for even those outside Gitare’s walls, many of whom used to have to travel long distances on foot to collect unfiltered lake water, purchase firewood for boiling, and make other sacrifices of their time, money, and energy to avoid waterborne illness.
Ildephonse considers the water filter to not only be serving immediate needs. But also he thinks the filter is setting his community on a path to more holistic health. This is because every community member who enters Gitare’s doors to collect water is becoming better acquainted with their local health center, the healthy practices advocated by its staff, and other neighbors. All of this factors into their long-term physical, social, and even spiritual health.
For this reason, Ildephonse wishes a SAM2 community filter could be installed in all of Rwanda’s health centers. While they may seem like just drops in the proverbial bucket to an outsider, he has seen their power to both save and transform lives just like his.