World Water Day event brings first-time clean water to 17,000 Rwandan children and their families
Nyabihu 19 March 2012: It was a memorable day. The sun was shining; children were smiling and the Mayor of Nyabihu, a district some two hours away from Rwanda’s capital was beaming with pride. He had reason to. For today, he was inaugurating a new water system that would provide clean water to over 17,000 people in Mukamira, a village in his district.
This water system, built with technical support from UNICEF and generous funding from the Government of the Netherlands, is part of an innovative project, which in partnership with the Rwandan Government, local engineers and communities, promotes hygiene, while also constructing/rehabilitating water and sanitation facilities for close to half a million people by 2013.
Today’s launch event was part of a bigger celebration of World Water Day in Rwanda (which will be celebrated on March 22nd as part of a week of activities) to call attention to the importance of food security and water, particularly in terms of supporting good nutrition and ensuring that children stay healthy.
“We hope that this new system will not only improve child survival and promote healthy nutrition,” emphasized UNICEF’s Representative to Rwanda, Ms. Noala Skinner, “but also decrease the amount of time spent in fetching water, so that the children of Nyabihu can play, learn and become the healthy and productive citizens that we all aspire them to be.”
Rwanda is one of the few African countries on track to achieve seven of the eight Millennium Development Goals. Access to water and sanitation has increased during the past decade, and while nationally three-fourths of the population has access to both; regionally, the picture is different, with rural and certain water-deficit areas, noting gaps, especially for the most vulnerable.