A Rwandan social enterprise tailors its approach to the needs of different communities
Spotted: According to UNICEF, around 418 million people in Africa lack a basic drinking water service, and almost 780 million lack basic sanitation. The resulting poor health, and loss of time and money keeps productivity low. For example, women lose around 200 million hours a day walking for water – time they could be using in education or work. Social enterprise Water Access Rwanda is working in many areas to establish affordable and reliable water infrastructure in Africa.
Water Access deploys several different models of water and sanitation access. For example, the organisation’s Amazi programme installs rainwater filtration and diverter systems to allow safe rainwater harvesting. Meanwhile, its Inuma programme creates a borehole-fed micro-grid water network to provide purified safe water at public points – reducing the cost of water and time needed to collect it. What is more it takes just 6 to 18 days to construct the micro-grid. Another programme, called Uhira, targets farmers and off-grid businesses.
The enterprise is also involved in custom-designed water and sanitation projects for NGOs, Carbon Credit Project Developers, governments, CSR partnerships, and others. Its services range from survey to maintenance.
In a recent press release announcing a $1 million in mixed equity and grant funding from the Steele Foundation for Hope, the organisation’s founder Christelle Kwizera said, “There is generally a lack of patient capital available in our ecosystem for innovative startups and their market-creating solutions. We have been relentless in trying to find well-aligned funders to help us tackle the huge water crisis. It is a joy to reach this milestone now.”
Written By: Lisa Magloff