It is early morning and as we rush to find a motorcycle to get to town in time for our early morning meeting, I can see there is a lot of activity in the neighborhood with gates opening and people bringing out sacks of rubbish and pilling them outside their homes.
Am wondering why residents are pilling sacks of garbage outside their homes and before I ask the question, we turned and ahead of me is a truck with men in blue overcoats which, as we get closer, I realize is a garbage truck from Ubumwe cleaning services.
Instantly the men jump from the truck and start loading the sacks in to the truck as it moves along from one home to another.
Kagire Moses, my host, who lives in Kagarama Sector, in Kicukiro District, appreciates the current status of waste collection and transportation services in terms of improved level of professionalism of the companies involved. He explains that, some years back, there was no order in the way waste was collected and transported thus creating unhygienic conditions. “Back then, it was really hectic. We used to stay with sacks of rubbish in our homes without knowing who or when they would be collected, as there was no regulations and guidelines. Again, one was not always sure of which cleaning company he or she was dealing with and there were always issues when it came to payments,” Kagire says. But he is happy to say that today the sector is very organized thanks to the intervention of the Government of Rwanda that put up clear Policy to regulate sanitation sub sector.
“We no longer worry about domestic and public waste collection and transportation because the companies responsible for these services have the expertise and necessary equipment to collect waste from house to house,” he adds.
Having a licensed sanitation operator per sector has improved the cleanliness of the City of Kigali and improved the service delivery at household level.
Provision of proper policy, legal and regulatory framework in sanitation sector improved the professionalism sanitation service delivery. Operators in this domain are mainly composed of companies, cooperatives and individuals providing solid waste collection and transportation services, cleaning services and waste recycling among others.
According to the latest survey, EICV 2013/2014, access to sanitation services has reached 83.4%. The target is to reach 100% by 2020 as per the Vision 2020.
Access to water
In order to improve water supply services, The Government of Rwanda through the Ministry of Infrastructure put in place National Water Supply Policy and its Implementation Strategy which promotes regulation of rural water supply services by engaging private operators.
The key strategic actions included clustering water systems to create economy of scale and attract professionals, creating District Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Boards for planning and overseeing the management of rural water supply infrastructure and recruitment of WASH Officers at District level. Private operators managing rural water supply systems through Public Private Partnerships (PPP) scheme were licensed and this helped solve many issues in the water sector.
Umurangamirwa Diane a resident of Umunanira village, Gati cell in Gishari sector Rwamagana District appreciates the efforts being made to address water shortage issues.
“It is long since we faced a problem of water scarcity in our area and we are really grateful for having a constant flow of water in our taps, thanks to the good governance of his Excellency Paul Kagame, the president of Rwanda. We used to frequently have water shortages and that meant travelling long distances with jerrycans in search of water,” she told The New Times.
So far, licenses for urban and peri-urban water supply service provision were granted to competent operators. In rural areas, about30 licenses were granted to private operators managing water supply systems through PPP scheme.
According to MININFRA, there has been an improvement in accessing clean drinking water. During the fiscal year 2016-17 a total of 331,530 new people were supplied with clean water equivalent to 66,306 households. However, This fiscal year 2017-2018, the target is to increase the water production capacity from 47,673,706 m3 to 52,029,510 m3.
According to the latest survey, EICV 2013/2014, access to improved water sources has reached 84.8% and the target is to reach 100% by 2020 as per the Vision 2020 as well as achieving progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals.
Policy framework is the key
The Ministry of Infrastructure in partnership with its water and sanitation stakeholders launched the new Water and Sanitation Sector Policies and Implementation Strategies (National Water Supply Policy and Implementation Strategy as well as National Sanitation Strategy and its Implementation Strategy) on 22nd March 2017, on the occasion of the 2017 World Water Day.
These policies and strategies were approved by the Cabinet of Rwanda on 9th December 2016 and aim to ensure sustainable, equitable, reliable and affordable access to water and sanitation services to all Rwandans, as a contribution to improving public health and socio-economic development.