A US$22 million project funded by the Netherlands Government to improve water and sanitation services in the Northern Province is underway.
It is being implemented by UNICEF in collaboration with the Ministry of Infrastructure.
The project will increase the government’s provision of water services as well as strengthening sanitation’s best practices.
The project dubbed “Water for Sanitation and Hygiene” (WASH) will also provide clean toilets for 500,000 Rwandans in Rubavu, Musanze, Nyabihu and Burera districts by 2013.
Speaking in Musanze, Friday, during the project launch, the Governor of the Northern Province, Aime Bosenibanwe, welcomed the initiative saying that it would address the water problems facing the four districts.
“This project will counter water challenges that prevail in this volcanic region. We have no access to water sources near here, hence sanitation has been hard to achieve.”
“This project will ensure community mobilization for water and sanitation management,” the Governor said.
Bosenibamwe said the area is very rocky hence it has been impossible to construct pit latrines, Eco sans latrines that the project provides, will ensure proper sanitation that has been a challenge for a long time.
Musanze District Mayor, Celestin Karabayinga, said: “The four districts surround the Virunga National Park; we have a common water shortage problem, our people have had to go deep into the forest to get water, this is not safe or sustainable.”
“This project will help us bring water closer to the people, for drinking and sanitation purposes.”
The Wash Project facilities that include safe drinking water, hand washing facilities, latrines, will be extended to 50 health facilities and 200 primary schools. In addition, it will provide appropriate technologies for excreta management, rainwater harvesting and household water treatment and safe storage.
UNICEF Representative to Rwanda, Dr. Joseph Foumbi, hailed the governments of Rwanda and the Netherlands for their joint commitment to bring drinking water and sanitation facilities to those who need them.
“We look forward to increasing water sources for sanitation and hygiene.”
He added that 400,000 people in the project areas will acquire access to safe and sustainable drinking water, 100,000 people will use the safe drinking water from rehabilitated water supply systems and 450,000 will acquire access to improved sanitation facilities and knowledge regarding safe hygiene practices including washing soap.