Upon completion of the project, our partner in the field reports...
The reality of living with unsafe water was faced daily by 196 families living in Nyarusange II Village in southern Ruhango, Rwanda. Safe water was not an option, as unprotected hand-dug wells, unprotected springs and other various forms of surface water were depended on by the entire community to support all of their water needs. Unsafe water was not, however, the sole issue. The adverse effects of unsafe hygiene and sanitation practices had sorely and, in some cases, morbidly impacted many families. This seemingly endless cycle of poverty had persisted long enough, as diseases such as typhoid, malaria, respiratory disease, diarrhea and severe dehydration had become commonly suffered by families – mostly children. Desperate for change, community leaders visited a neighboring community where Living Water Rwanda was working and asked for help. Living Water responded!
To further a working foundation secured by other NGOs, including Care International and SNV, the Living Water team diligently worked to provide safe drinking water in Nyarusange II Village. Safe drinking water will further support a developmental foundation for the community, allowing families to take the first step out of extreme poverty. During the construction of the improved water point, the community formed a five-person Water Committee who assisted with the water project whenever possible, supplied any materials they had available and guarded the team’s equipment. The Water Committee was also trained to maintain the improved water point and properly manage water resources to help ensure safe drinking water continues to flow for this generation and the next.
There are three churches working near the village including Catholic, Protestant and Adventist churches. These churches exist in a predominantly Hindu area, where there are many who have yet to hear the name of Jesus. To share the gospel in this Hindu-influenced region, the team worked with the local churches to reach the people through the provision of safe drinking water. Altogether, there were 50 people (14 men, 16 women and 20 children) who were presented with the life-saving gospel message of Jesus Christ – who alone satisfies the deepest thirst.
To allow families the full benefits of knowing safe water, the Living Water Hygiene Promotion team shared life-saving hygiene and sanitation lessons with 145 people. The Living Water team held two trainings, the fist training engaged 117 people who participated and benefitted from the following lessons: disease transmission, healthy and unhealthy communities, latrine perception, germs, proper care of the pump, keeping the water clean, hand washing-proper techniques and water saving methods, causes of diarrhea, good-bad hygiene behaviors, disease transmission and prevention stories, Living Well Club Bible stories, tippy taps, nutrition and oral hygiene. The second training was attended by 28 people (12 men and 16 women). During both trainings, participants were taken through different lessons and activities that are intended to help improve their personal hygiene and sanitation behaviors. After the initial hygiene and sanitation lessons, the community constructed tippy taps that are a simple hand-washing device intended for single household use. The adoption of this life-saving lesson – hand washing, was the first recognized step towards behavior change!
Community Member Interview
"It is that stream that we have been drawing water from - water that is turbid and dries up that we use to drink," shared 36-year-old community member and farmer, Nyirabahutu. "With this new well, it is a relief. The impact of having good water will not only be felt by this community, but also by neighboring communities and passers-by."