Water and sanitation are human rights.
Universal access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services are priorities in Rwanda. WASH is critically linked to improved nutrition, good health, gender equality, economic growth, and environmental management.
In Rwanda, only 57 per cent of the population access safe drinking water that is within 30 minutes of their home. When children are forced to spend time collecting water, it keeps them out of school. This is an issue especially for girls, who are often expected to take on the majority of household tasks.
Even if water is available near the home, that water is often not safe to drink. When children drink contaminated water, they risk severe illness – and even death – from water-borne diseases.
Basic sanitation means that every household has its own toilet and does not share with another household. These toilets should also keep human waste out of contact with people.
Only 64 per cent of the population in Rwanda have access to these sanitation services.
There is also a huge disparity depending on the wealth of the family: 94 per cent of the wealthiest households have their own toilet, compared to only 74 per cent of the poorest households.
Just 5 per cent of households in Rwanda have a place for family members to wash their hands with soap. Handwashing with soap at critical moments is essential for good health, especially in children.