A new Japanese road construction and maintenance technology, Do-Nou, has been introduced in Rwanda with view to improve feeder roads condition in rural areas.
Loosely translated as ‘wrapping soil in a gunny bag’, the technology will be used in maintaining unpaved roads. It will be implemented by the Community Road Empowerment (CORE), a Japanese non-profit organisation, through its project ‘Sustainable Youth Employment Taking Locally Available Material Based Approach.’
The Japanese government will provide Rwf250 million for the project’s implementation.
During the grant signing between the Japanese Embassy and CORE on Thursday, Japanese envoy Amb. Miyashita Takayuki, said the technology, which has been used in Japan for over 100 years, will help residents easily go about their daily activities including business, education and transportation.
The project also seeks to create employment opportunities, especially for the youth.
“Rural roads are in a critical condition, which hinders the pace of business development in one way or another. But I believe the technology is going to address this and create a lot of employment opportunities for the youth during the project implementation. We expect a successful implementation, not only in the targeted areas, but in other areas as well,” Miyashita said.
The new technology will specifically be applied in rural areas, with the first phase starting in March in the four districts of Rulindo and Gakenke in the Northern Province, and Nyamasheke and Rusizi in Western Province for a period of one year.
The main activities set to be done during the one-year project will include transferring business and road repair skills to youth groups with on-site road repair training using the new technology. Contractors will be obliged to increase non-agricultural employment opportunities for the youth and to encourage self-reliance.
The technology uses locally available materials like bags, gravel, farm tools and equipment, making it easily adoptable for road repair.
Kei Nakajima, the project manager, said the organisation is ready to dedicate all efforts not only to repair rural roads, but also to equip the youth with skills needed to set up their own construction companies to undertake future construction projects using the same technology.
“We are looking to transfer the knowledge we have to the youth who are Rwanda’s future, to help them set up their own construction companies that will play a key role in the labour market, hence reducing the unemployment rate,” he said.
The project is expected to benefit at least 6,000 residents from the four districts while also creating jobs for over 160 youths.
The technology can also be used in construction of dam embankments, water harvesting pans and retaining walls. It is currently being used in different African countries such as Kenya, Burkina Faso and Uganda.
Alfred Byiringiro, the transport division manager at the Ministry of Infrastructure, told Saturday Times that Do-Nou is a labour-based technology, which reflects the country’s ‘Feeder Road Policy and Strategy for Rwanda’ and is confident the technology will have a big impact on the country’s economic situation, by especially helping to reduce some transport incidents caused by damaged sections of roads.
“The technology will not only facilitate rural areas in terms of transport by reducing the amount of produce lost during transportation, but also provide employment to youth,” he said.