UNICEF promotes introduction of innovative technology to Rwanda
Kigali, Rwanda - 16 February 2010 - At the launch of a safe water initiative today, UNICEF joined with the Ministry of Energy and Water and the Kigali Institute of Science and Technology to highlight how a marginalized community of “potters” can be empowered to produce and market ceramic water filters to keep a nation healthy.
“Eighty percent of all diseases that affect Rwandans are waterborne”, said Joseph Foumbi, UNICEF Representative to Rwanda. “And a third of all Rwandans do not have access to safe water. This is why this initiative is so important, because it is part of a larger UN effort in Rwanda to building local capacity and improve access to safe water”, he added.
The initiative, which has the support of the Dutch Government, through a generous grant of USD 200,000, will train 20 local potters (both women and men) within a month to produce filters made from clay and saw dust. These filters will then be coated in a silver colloidal solution to disinfect dirty water and remove an estimated 98 per cent of deadly bacteria. They will be sold at an affordable price and marketed to vulnerable communities.
UNICEF hopes that by the end November 2010, the Potters Association will have been able to produce 40 filters/day – or 1,000 filters/month – enabling 12,000 households by the end of the year to purchase and use these filters to reduce the risk of water-borne diseases.
The UN in Rwanda, through UNICEF, works closely with Government, the World Bank, the African Development Bank the Netherlands Government, the Gender and Water Alliance as well as with Potters without Borders to increase access to safe water in the country, while also mobilizing communities, parents, teachers and school children to adopt hygienic behaviors, such as hand washing with soap.
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