Background of Rwanda

Rwanda is a small country, approximately the size of Massachusetts, in central Africa. It has a population of over 11 million people, translating to a population density of 1,150 people per square mile, the second highest population density in Africa. Because the majority of the population resides in the rural regions, around 70% of the working population must rely on agriculture alone to survive.

History of Projects

Auburn University Engineers Without Borders has been partnered with the community of Kabaya Rwanda for three years. In December 2015, the chapter was approved to work with a local NGO Vision for Life ICYUSA in the sector of Kabaya. Our first trip was in May 2016 to assess the project location and meet the local community leaders. Since then, we have completed a second assessment trip in January 2017 and two implementation trips in August 2017 and August 2018.

Successful Projects

Our first project served a local secondary school in Kabaya, Rwanda whose students had very limited access to clean water. With the help of the community, we designed a water distribution and storage system that carries water from a nearby spring to be stored in tanks on the school’s campus. Our system has successfully doubled the school’s water supply and given the students consistent access to potable water.

Our second project is in the neighboring town of Mwendo and was brought to our attention as the greatest need in the sector during our 2017 implementation trip at the Kabaya school. A one-mile long pipeline system was designed and implemented, with water access points at three different locations throughout the community, including at a primary school. Additionally, the team met with the community members to better understand their needs throughout the trip.

Current Projects

While on the 2018 implementation trip, we were shown a village in Mwendo that was considered in great need by the community leaders. Rubambiro is home to almost 900 people with only three main water access points, none of which are at convenient locations for the majority of the community. A few years ago, the community pooled together money to tap an underground spring and install a short pipeline to try and move the water access point closer to them. However, this point is still up to a 45-minute walk away for some of the community members. Our goal is to install an additional pipeline to bring water to the other end of the community, decreasing the time it takes to retrieve water by 50%.