‘Water is the lever for development,’ is a motto for PROTOS, a Belgian water development non-governmental organisation whose goal is to work for a better world for the underprivileged people by providing them with safe drinking water.
According to information from SNV, a Netherlands development organisation, today, more than 1.1 billion people in the world do not have access to safe drinking water and 2.6 billion people live without decent sanitary infrastructure.
PROTOS provides equal opportunities to the less privileged Rwandans, by either providing them with safe drinking water, a clean toilet in the immediate surroundings, or by enabling them to make optimal use of the available water for agriculture.
According to PROTOS’ country representative Hester Kapur, engaging with local people is of paramount importance and PROTOS’ strategic objectives include emancipating local people with regard to their local or central government, and bringing all interested parties around the table to avoid conflict around water.
PROTOS also puts a lot of emphasis on equal opportunities for women, a principle shared with SNV-Rwanda which is working with PROTOS in supporting the participation of women in water projects’ planning and implementation.
Another SNV-Rwanda partner, COFORWA, a local Rwandan NGO, is collaborating in the same projects. Its mission is to help rural populations reach water under good conditions, improve sanitation and to train local people who will deal with the development and maintenance of the water infrastructure.
COFORWA has contributed to the construction of half of the water infrastructure in the rural areas in Rwanda.
A water and gender training manual for water professionals has been developed through this partnership to ensure more women participation.
The manual will be initially used in Rwanda but is also intended to be used in other countries where SNV and PROTOS work.