As our Peru project comes to a close, we are excited to announce our new project. We have been approved to design and implement a water system that would provide safe, potable water for the Kanembwe Batwa community in Gisenyi, Rwanda. We will partner with the Hand in Hand Development organization as well as other community based organization in order to meet the needs of the Kanembwe Batwa people.
Our first trip to Gisenyi will be in August, 2019. The goal of this trip is to build a relationship with the Kanembwe Batwa community and Hand in Hand Development, as well as to collect important information on how to move forward with technical aspects of our project goals.
Project Background and History
We will be working with the Kanembwe Batwa of Rwanda, a community originally from the Great Lakes region of Africa. The Kanembwe Batwa are a minority in Rwanda, making up about 0.5 percent of the total population. Due to recent governmental actions, the Kanembwe Batwa have been relocated from the forests, their original home to an area north of the town of Gisenyi. Without proper access to water, resources provided by the forest, and unable to obtain their own farm land, the Kanembwe Batwa have been forced to seek alternative methods of income. This has forced them to turn to making crafts to sell, agricultural labor, and begging. Due to their current state of living, the Kanembwe Batwa are unable to make enough money to put towards saving. Furthermore, the lack of clean water costs them much time in their day, which could be time spent for income-earning tasks and attending school. Because the Kanembwe Batwa cannot afford public water due to high costs, many of them collect surface water during the rainy season leading to many water-borne illnesses. This is their most urgent need and we will be addressing it with our project.
Within the community, there is a need for potable water. This would include water that will be consumed, and water for household uses. The Kanembwe Batwa’s use of surface water has rendered them to be susceptible to disease. According to the health center, 98 percent of illnesses in this region are due to lack of clean water.
Project Goals and Objective
To combat the use of harmful water, the proposed solution is to construct rainwater harvesting systems, and water filtration systems. Specifically, these would be ferrocement tanks and bio-sand water filters
Our team will include one Walla Walla University professor, one alumni, as well as three current Students.
Our community partners will include the Hand in Hand for Development organization, and the local government in the Gisenyi region. We will also have Community Based Organizations such as the local water board, community development board, and other councils.