17 August 2020
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Scottish Water Helps Kids Flourish with WaterAid Projects in Rwanda17 August 2020
Thousands of schoolkids have access to clean water, decent toilets and hygiene facilities, thanks to Scottish Water's partnership with WaterAid. We're helping to fund projects which include helping girls manager their periods with dignity, and building rainwater harvesting tanks for local communities. All images: James Kiyimba, WaterAid.
“Girls from other schools want to move to ours, because of the availability and accessibility to water, sanitation and hygiene facilities.”Regine Kayitesi
Student,Groupe Scolaire Kibumbwe School
Scottish Water has helped more than 100,000 children with decent sanitation, key health and hygiene skills in Rwanda, thanks to our partnership with WaterAid.
Since 2018, our staff, and their families and friends, have raised vital cash to build toilet blocks, menstrual hygiene management rooms and rainwater harvesting tanks in the Nyamagabe District.
The four year project aims to improve health and sanitation in vulnerable communities and schools in the Southern Province by 2022.
More than five million people in Rwanda don’t have access to clean water, one in three don’t have a decent toilet and more than 1,000 children under five die each year from diarrhoea caused by dirty water and poor sanitation.
Life is already difficult. But with the current Covid-19 pandemic sweeping the world, the need for clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene has become even more urgent.
Our support has helped WaterAid launch coronavirus prevention awareness campaigns to even the most remote villages, build handwashing facilities in public places, and give out hand sanitisers and liquid soap to all healthcare facilities in the district.
With just over a year left, WaterAid’s latest update outlines the incredible difference these fundraising efforts have already made.
One of the greatest achievements of the project last year has seen a significant increase in hand-washing facilities and those washing their hands with soap.
More than 2,700 students in six schools now have access to decent toilets with hand-washing facilities.
Almost 1200 young girls now have somewhere safe and private to manage their periods with dignity thanks to six new menstrual hygiene management rooms and, of 131 schools identified, almost 90% now have access to and use hand-washing facilities.
We’ve helped establish 637 School Hygiene Clubs, teaching nearly 105,000 students about hygiene and sanitation.
Community campaigns and hygiene sessions in the school clubs delivered essential WASH messages to more than 303,000 people.
Across the district, more than 85% of households now have hand-washing facilities, and mover 44% have improved their toilets – with many using loans from the Savings and Credit Cooperatives supported by the project.
In the past year, Scottish Water’s support helped build vital facilities at schools, such as Groupe Scolaire Kibumbwe School, to allow girls to stay clean and healthy while learning.
Emmanuel Nizeyimana, headmaster, said: “Our country is promoting education for all. While this is a good initiative it means schools are accepting more students, so school facilities including toilets and hygiene remain a serious issue.
“In the past 1,471 students shared 24 toilets. During break time two teachers had to help manage the queue to avoid fights.
“Now, thanks to the support from WaterAid, there are no more queues. Toilets are always kept clean and you cannot smell any bad odours as before.”
Regine Kayitesi, a student at the school, said: “We feel like our school is the best learning environment in the region. We’ve even heard girls from other schools want to move to ours, because of the availability and accessibility to water, sanitation and hygiene facilities.”Scottish Water has helped more than 100,000 children with decent sanitation, key health and hygiene skills in Rwanda, thanks to our partnership with WaterAid.
We're helping to build new toilet facilities for schoolchildren
Scottish Water's Shirley Campbell talks to girls about managing their periods safetly
She said: “It was incredible to see first-hand how the support and fundraising efforts of Scottish Water staff are making a life-saving difference to these young children and communities.
“We take it for granted that we turn a tap on and fresh, great tasting drinking water comes out, or that we have the luxury of flushing toilets and women and girls are able to manage their periods with dignity.
“Seeing the impact these basic facilities can have on a young person’s life at school, or at home, really reinforces why it is so important we continue to support the work WaterAid is doing.”
This year, Scottish Water will help WaterAid build underground rainwater harvesting tanks at five schools and implement rooftop rainwater harvesting systems to boost the water supply.
To help with the funding loss due to Covid-19 Scottish Water launched a nationwide 5 in 5 Challenge, to complete a 5K walk, run or cycle on five consecutive days, which we started during lockdown to promote mental health and wellbeing.
Ewan Robertson, Specialist Services General Manager at Scottish Water, is Chair of WaterAid Scotland and Northern Ireland.
He said: “Covid-19 has left these communities even more vulnerable. Basics, such as clean water, sanitation and good hygiene are things we all take for granted, and are particularly vital to keep us safe from this virus.
“I’ve visited Rwanda and saw for myself how these communities are benefiting from the projects funded by WaterAid, and how happy the children are to be in school, learning with access to water, and decent toilet facilities.
“The pandemic has also left a funding black hole for WaterAid, and many other charities, with lockdown restrictions meaning many annual fundraising efforts have had to be cancelled.
“Scottish Water’s Munro Challenge had to be postponed earlier this year, but our generous staff wanted to continue to support this incredibly important work in Rwanda.
“They to ok on the 5 in 5 challenge, and many raised funds for WaterAid, while looking after their health and wellbeing during the pandemic.
“We’re proud to work with WaterAid and will continue to work hard to support these life-saving projects in any way we can.”
5 in 5 Challenge
We still need to raise funds to support the next phase of the project in building rainwater harvesting systems.
You can take part in the 5 in 5 Challenge, to walk, run or cycle 5km for 5 consecutive days whilst raising money for WaterAid. Share your challenge using #5in5 and make a donation to WaterAid via the JustGiving page.
Thanks to support from Scottish Water, the Scottish Government, and other partners, we are transforming lives by bringing clean water and decent toilets to schools and remote communities in Rwanda.