Tag Archives: Rwanda

Rwanda, Kigali: more connections to sewerage system planned

Kigali Eco-Toilet. Photo: Eugene Dusingizumuremyi / SuSanA

The capital city of Rwanda has turned a delay in funding into an opportunity to revise its plans so that more areas get connected to a new centralised sewerage system. Construction of a US$ 70 million wastewater treatment plant in Giti Cyinyoni, Nyarugenge District, was due to start in 2012 but has been delayed by one year.

The lack of a centralised sewage system in Kigali (pop. 1 million) has been forcing real estate developers to provide onsite sewerage systems for new housing units. Schools, hospitals and other public buildings are already required by law to have their own sewerage systems. In future all these onsite systems will be connected to the new centralised system.

In 2008, according to a survey, 80% of the people in Kigali still used pit latrines [1]. These have proved to be not only hard to maintain, but also expensive to manage in the long run. That’s why the city council recently passed a bylaw that instructs developers to install flush toilets connected to septic tanks.

[1] Hohne, A., 2011. State and drivers of change of Kigali’s sanitation : a demand perspective : paper presented at the East Africa practioners workshop on pro-poor urban sanitation and hygiene, Laico Umbano Hotel, Kigali, Rwanda, March 29th – 31st 2011 . [online] The Hague, The Netherlands: IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre. Available at: <http://www.irc.nl/page/64586>

Related website: Kigali City – Water and Sanitation Programmes


  • Susan Babijja, City Council reviews sewage management plan, New Times, 26 Oct 2012
  • Rwanda: Kigali sewage system delayed by funds, Rwanda Express /  allAfrica.com, 14 Jun 2012
  • Eric Didier Karinganire, Sewage in Kigali still an issue of concern, Rwanda Focus, 09 Apr 2012

Leveraging Partnerships to Achieve Total Sanitation in East Africa

A 2010 analysis showed that most East African countries have national sanitation policies and plans in place, but that the actual programs often lack coordination. To meet the Millennium Development Goals for sanitation, such programs must combine their efforts to achieve behavior-change outcomes and focus on commonalities, which include an emphasis on learning, demand creation, and capacity building.

These key understandings are among several discussed in a new Water and Sanitation Program (WSP) Learning Note, Partnering on the Road Towards Achieving Total Sanitation in East Africa. The report highlights the objectives and initial outcomes of a learning exchange held in Tanzania, which focused on how governments and agencies can work effectively as partners to achieve sustained sanitation scale up.

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Rwanda in the fast lane, sanitation field visit confirms

Around 30 percent of the national budget of Rwanda is made available to district authorities. This high share makes Rwanda a front-runner in Africa, Stephan Klingebiel and Timo Mahn, two German banking specialists write in the June 2011 edition of Development and Cooperation, Vol. 38.2011:6. In only a few years, the country has considerably improved its public financial management. And the reform impetus started in the country itself. Donors helped to mobilise reform forces, but no one questions Rwanda’s leading role.

A similar drive can be reported on sanitation. ‘From the ruins of years of war and genocide, Rwanda has moved to improve household access to hygienic sanitation  facilities faster than in any country in Sub-Saharan Africa””, writes Nitin Jain in the July 2011 Getting Africa to meet the sanitation MDG: Lessons from Rwanda.

And from my four days in Rwanda during the AfricaSan3 Conference I can confirm this reality. I had talks with a national planner who finances district level Training of Trainers on Sanitation and Hygiene, district level officials who were trained and Community Mobilisers who trained village level Community Health Workers. I also visited and talked to the Community Hygiene Club in Rwanagala umudugudu (village) in Kazence cell, in sector Ntamara, in district Bugesera, Eastern Province, some 30 kilometres out of the capital Kigali.

Handwashing facility at road toilet, Photo IRC/Dick de Jong


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Rwanda: Nation Achieves MDG Target On Sanitation

Kigali — Rwanda achieved the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) on sanitation and surpassed it by eight percent, State Minister for Energy and Water, Eng. Colette Ruhamya announced yesterday.

According to Ruhamya, about 58 percent of Rwandans have access to adequate sanitation.

MDG target 7c calls for reduction by half (50%), the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation by 2015.

The minister made the remarks at the official announcement of the upcoming continental conference, AfricaSan 3, slated for next month in Kigali.

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Brisbane WASH Conference 2011 presentations on hygiene and sanitation

Dr Val Curtis

“The most cost-effectiveness intervention for improving public health [is] improving hygiene promotion [and] without change in hygiene behaviour, we get none of the benefits of water, none of the benefits of sanitation”. This was one of the messages that Dr Val Curtis conveyed in her introduction to the session on “Behavioral change and social sustainability” at the WASH Conference 2011 (download audio of her presentation).

Some 224 conference delegates from over 100 organisations in 40 countries came to Brisbane, Australia for the WASH Conference 2011. Below is a selection of the presentations on sanitation – powerpoints + audio files – given on 16-17 May. (If you have never heard him speak before, don’t miss the presentation by CLTS-guru Kamal Kar). The presentation streams dealt with institutional, environmental, social and financial sustainability respectively.

Most of the presentations were about Asia, the focus area of conference co-organiser/sponsor AusAid. There were also a few presentations from Africa, a region where AusAid is looking to expand its WASH activities (see AusAid focus regions/countries).

WASH Conference 2011 presentations on sanitation


Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS), Origin, Spread and Scaling up
Presented by Kamal Kar
Slideshare presentation | Download audio

Planning Behaviour Change: Chances and Challenges
Presented by Dr. Christine Sijbesma, IRC
Slideshare presentationDownload audio

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Rwanda: Nation Targets 100 Percent Sanitation Coverage By 2012

Apr 20, 2011 – The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Infrastructure, Marie Claire Mukasine, yesterday announced that there would be 100 percent sanitation coverage by 2012, and stressed on accelerating strategies to achieve this target.

She made the remarks while addressing a preparatory meeting of the forthcoming third African Sanitation and Hygiene conference (AfricaSan 3), slated for July in Kigali.

Mukasine added that the overall objective is to get Africa on track to meet the sanitation Millenium Development Goal; the focus has to be on building and sustaining momentum through improved action plans and renewed commitments.

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Eco-Friendly, Women-Centric Approaches Towards Female Sanitation

Many women in the developing world can miss up to 50 school or working days per year due to lack of proper feminine hygiene.

Jani Pad

To alleviate the problem, in Rwanda a Harvard MBA graduate Elizabeth Scharpf formed the Sustainable Health Enterprise (SHE). The organization then started working with Rwandan women to make sanitary pads made with banana-tree fibers. Since 2009, SHE has also trained 5,000 Rwandan women to set up their own micro-enterprises, creating an industry that is as sustainable as its product. They have also been educating women about female hygiene to create health awareness.

With every woman-led business that SHE invests in, roughly 100 jobs are created and approximately 100,000 girls and women gain access to affordable sanitary products. Scharpf hopes to expand the Rwanda model to other countries over time.

The Jani Pad

More recently, five students from Sweden and Norway banded together to create sanitary protection using fibers from water hyacinth. The water hyacinth in Lake Victoria, Kenya is an invasive plant that causes a lot of environmental problems. As the plant grows very fast, it can easily blanket an entire lake cutting off light – this creates havoc for transportation and also destroys local ecosystems. However as the fibers of the plant can be spun and used for paper making, it was put to use to create sanitary pads.

Roughly 870,000 girls in Kenya miss four days of school every month due to a lack of feminine protection and underwear. The Jani pad is made of four layers of water-hyacinth paper. Each layer has different characteristics like perforated holes to  improve absorption or beeswax to prevent leakage. The pad also comes with slits on the top layer to conform to the wearer’s body.

Importance of Women Entrepreneurs

Both of these products have women-centric approaches to women-centric problems. According to the US State Department there are more than 200 million women entrepreneurs worldwide and they earn more than $10 trillion every year. Environmental issues, social problems and community upliftment are all areas that women naturally gravitate towards and all these areas present ample business opportunities as demonstrated by these two initiatives.

However in spite of everything that women can bring to the work place, in many parts of the world they are met with unfair disadvantages. International Women’s Day highlights this and brings to light the importance of women towards creating balanced societies everywhere.