Residents walked with grace and elegance, every step speaking of intent and purpose; walking and sometimes running down the road from Kyoma primary school to draw water from Rumira River. The day was hot and the journey was long involving. However, this did not stop the walkers’ interest full of ecstasy while singing songs victory for they were sure to have gone through the hardship of accessing clean and safe water.
Such was the excitement and delight on Wednesday 9th April 2018 as the 20 Liters Water Project was launched in the Rilima sector through World Relief Rwanda. To mark this occasion, hundreds of residents of Nyabagendwa village undertook a community Walk for Water and witnessed the first ten resident families receive their filters through the project.
The event commenced at exactly 10:00 am with a walk, and drew together residents, World Relief Rwanda staff, members of the local leaders from district to cell level, security officials, Ministry of Health officials, representatives from the local Church Network Committee (CNC), community based health workers, 20 Liters volunteer workers, and members of partner organizations.
After walking for about an hour down to the swamp, the participants gathered water then hiked back up to the celebration site, singing and dancing as they went. The event included a presentation of educational songs and drama plays by different choirs and groups of area churches. Residents were taught about the use and maintenance of the filters.
In his remarks, Leon Victor Mushumba, the Water Project Manager welcomed the congregation and commended the residents for their positive response and participation. “I am happy with the response of the residents and the commitment of new selected volunteers in Rilima. This has showed that the people here understand the value of clean and safe water and that it is worthy to serve and work with them hand in hand,” he said.
Mugorucyeye Cerafine, Vice President of the Church Network Committee commended the project for their tireless efforts to provide water to Rwandans. “This is a wonderful move that will help to reduce water born diseases among the residents,” she said.
Kananga Damascene, water and sanitation officer in Bugesera district, who stood in as guest of honor to represent the mayor of the district thanked the Water Project and promised the district’s total support in their endeavor. “As much as Rwanda is now developed, we still face a lot of diseases that are found among the undeveloped nations; such volunteered acts have to be regarded very important,” he said. “Water projects are very expensive and I am pleased that this project is able to find solutions to lack of access to clean and safe water in this country,” he added.
Marie Chantal Muhoracyeye, a resident, said the availability of clean water in the area has been a milestone. “A few people with money pay Rwf200 for a 20-litre jerry can of water, or else one has to walk long distances to fetch some,” she said.
Through its partnership with World Relief Rwanda and the local Rwandan churches, 20 Liters trains volunteers in health and hygiene skills and delivers clean water solutions to the most vulnerable community. The project has plans to distribute 2,500 water filters to residents’ homes, schools and all health centers of Rilima sector.
Adapted from article written by Geoffrey Wakibi