Last year, we announced a new audacious goal of providing clean water to everyone, everywhere we work in Rwanda by 2022. This article provides an update on that effort.
Our commitment to Rwanda is complementary and flows out of two other high-profile commitments that we have made for World Vision’s water programs. The biggest goal is to reach everyone, everywhere we work with clean water, which is 50 million people, by 2030. This is consistent with and shows World Vision’s commitment to help achieve the UN Sustainable Goal 6.0 of universal access to clean water and sanitation by 2030. To ensure that we stay on track, we set an interim goal of reaching 20 million people between 2015 and 2020. We’re on track towards both of these and have reached 10.4 million people with clean water in the first 2.5 years.
As we began fleshing out our plans towards our 2030 commitment, we realized that some countries would reach this goal sooner. And, that thinking lead to the idea to bring one country forward and demonstrate that we can finish the job within just a five-year period. We picked Rwanda because we have great partners there including the Rwandan government that is funding some of our work, because there’s great need with half of the people in rural areas still needing clean water, and because our track record of results during the previous five years. Essentially, we have to increase our work by 3-fold from previous performance (340,000 people reached over 5 years) to reach the 1 million people still needing clean water where we work in Rwanda.
Rwanda is a mountainous country with many natural springs. For this reason, we rarely provide drilled wells with 90 percent of our work focused on utilizing the springs or rivers that can be protected, treated, and piped through the hills of Rwanda. We construct, frequently with support of other partners, sophisticated pipeline projects that include pumping stations as well as utilizing solar-powered pumps, and where possible gravity to reach communities, schools, and health care facilities with clean water.
During the first 9 months of our commitment, we have completed feasibility studies and developed more detailed plans under the leadership of Sean Kerrigan, World Vision National Director of Rwanda and Nicaise Ugabinema, World Vision Rwanda Leader for water, sanitation, hygiene, and health. You can listen to my 30 minute interview with Sean and Nicase here and see an updated project summary here.
During 2018, we reached more than 66,000 people with clean water and more than 130,000 with improved sanitation and hygiene education in Rwanda. We’re excited about the response from our donors and partners for this work and pleased to report that we’ve received more than $9 million in donations and pledges.
Now that we have the team in place, comprehensive plans, and initial funding, we expect to more than double the number of people that we’ll reach with clean water in 2019. We’ll be reporting on the number of water points provided and people reached as we reach community after community with clean water. Frankly, when we first announced this project, we were holding our breaths because of the audacity of the challenge but now we’re gaining confidence and momentum. While we’ve raised about one-third of the funds needed, we’ll need many more people to join us to make this a reality. Imagine, when together we show the world that we can get the job done. If everyone does their part, according to their own capabilities and inspiration, we will get the job done. Thank you for being part of this journey with us.