Water For People in Rwanda has announced a new five-year country strategy aimed at increasing access to sustainable and resilient water supply services for 1.5 million people through direct investments in infrastructure development and rehabilitation. The plan was unveiled during the organization's 15-year anniversary celebrations at Kigali Marriott Hotel on February 5. ALSO READ: Water For People celebrates access to clean water for over one million people in Rwanda The Country Director of Water For People, Eugene Dusingizumuremyi, expressed excitement about the organization's commitment to bring safe water and sanitation services to an even larger portion of the population. We are happy to have you join us here as we celebrate bringing safe water and sanitation services to over one million Rwandans in five districts. This was no small feat, he said. Dusingizumuremyi emphasized the investment made in Rwanda, over $46.7 million, which enabled the provision of safe drinking water to more than one million people, as well as schools and healthcare facilities. With the new plan, he said, Water For People aims at creating an enabling environment to reach, indirectly, over five million people through the support of other national efforts by involving other stakeholders, partners to the government, financial institutions, and the private sector. Since 2008, Water For People, in collaboration with the Government of Rwanda, districts, communities, businesses, and other stakeholders, has been working to provide sustainable access to safe water, sanitation facilities, and hygiene education to Rwandans in Rulindo, Kicukiro, Gicumbi, Karongi, and Gisagara Districts. ALSO READ: Rwanda needs $400m to meet water demand by 2050 The organization's achievements include the implementation of water infrastructure in three out of the five target districts, benefiting over 1.02 million people. Additionally, Water For People partnered with the Government of Rwanda to address sustainability challenges, supporting 24 out of 30 districts in developing Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) investment plans and water resource management plans. They also supported the establishment of three faecal sludge treatment plants (DEFATS) in Gicumbi, Rulindo, and Nyamagabe Districts to improve waste management. ALSO READ: 420 million Africans still lack basic drinking water, continent seeks solutions One of Water For People's innovative initiatives is the distribution of SATO products and the establishment of District Sanitation Centres (DSCs) to promote access to safe sanitation technologies. The organization's Everyone Model, first implemented in Rulindo District, in 2010, serves as a proof of concept and has been replicated in other countries. This model aims at ensuring sustainable and lasting water and sanitation services for every family, school, and healthcare facility in a district. Over the past 15 years, Water For People has invested over $46.7 million (Rwf60 billion) in providing water and sanitation services in the districts of intervention. As a result, approximately 1.02 million people across five districts now have access to clean water and sanitation services. This translates to 1,297 villages, 297 schools, and 64 healthcare facilities benefiting from safe and clean water. ALSO READ: There can’t be food without water; let us protect it Ten more districts; Nyagatare, Kayonza, Rwamagana, Ngoma, Kirehe, Nyabihu, Ngororero, Ruhango, Nyanza, and Nyamagabe, are supported under the USAID-funded project called Isoko y'Ubuzima. The project aims to enhance institutional strengthening and improve service delivery of water and sanitation services and products. The board chairperson, Greg McIntyre, applauded the impact Water For People has had on improving access to clean water in the partner districts. The recent government data from the 2022 fifth population and housing census shows that the districts where Water For People is a partner have one of the best-improved levels of access to clean water in Rwanda, he said. McIntyre expressed gratitude for the successful 15 years and emphasized the organization's commitment to continue working with the Government of Rwanda to ensure universal access to sustainable sanitation and resilient water services. The Co-CEOs, Samson Bekele and Mark Duey, acknowledged the urgent need to address the water crisis and its connection to climate change. They emphasized the importance of making communities more resilient to climate change through investments in climate-resilient water, sanitation, and hygiene solutions. They highlighted the progress achieved in Rwanda and the key factors, including a clear vision, political will, a strategic plan, and strong institutions, that contribute to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG6). The Minister of Infrastructure, Jimmy Gasore, commended Water For People for their contributions to bringing clean water and sanitation services to Rwanda. Gasore acknowledged the challenges that persist in achieving universal access to water and sanitation services and expressed his commitment to continued collaboration with Water For People to find lasting solutions. While progress has been made, he acknowledged, the journey ahead remains long. With the commitment of organizations like Water For People, the Government of Rwanda, and communities, the vision of universal access to safe water and sanitation services in Rwanda is within reach, the Minister said.