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Words from Bruce Uwonkunda, Deputy Chief of Party

Isoko y’Ubuzima speech at the project launch site, 17th March 2022

Guest of Honour Honourable Minister of Health
Your Excellency Chargé d’Affaires representing the US Government
Honorable Governor (if applicable)
Honorable Mayors
Distinguished Guests (All protocols observed)
People of Kayonza District


Water For People and the Isoko y’Ubuzima consortium members are very happy to participate in this formal launch of the Isoko y’Ubuzima and Gikuriro Kuri Bose projects.

We are honored to have been selected by USAID to implement Isoko y’Ubuzima program to improve water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services in Rwanda

The Isoko y’Ubuzima project follows a previous USAID-funded program called Isuku Iwacu, implemented from 2016-2020, which was designed to increase access to basic sanitation in 8 districts namely Kayonza, Rwamagana, Ngoma, Ruhango, Nyanza, Nyabihu, Kicukiro and Nyarugenge. This project surpassed its target of supporting over a half of a million people to access basic sanitation, and its goal of a quarter of a million households with hygienic latrines.

Despite these positive gains, challenges such as waterborne diseases remain a reality that threatens the welfare of too many children and too many families.

Critical challenges continue to prevent Rwanda’s poorest people from gaining sustainable access to even basic water supply and sanitation services: One in ten households still lack access to basic sanitation services, and one in four have no access to safe water supply services.

The Isoko y’Ubuzima project was designed to build on Isuku Iwacu’s past achievements, and we will work together with all WASH stakeholders to contribute to the government target of universal access ac to water and sanitation services for all Rwandans, and to sustain these services for current and generations to come.

We know this is not an easy task because as we speak, only about half of the rural piped water schemes in Rwanda are fully functional; nearly half of the water that is produced is not sold or doesn’t reach the consumers due to leakages in the pipes, improper metering, and commercial losses. Improving this situation will require significant investments. 

Over the next 5 years, Isoko y’Ubuzima in partnership with the central and local governments and the private sector will ensure that over 200,000 people of the Districts of Rwamagana, Kayonza, Ngoma, Kirehe, Nyagatare, Ruhango, Nyanza, Nyamagabe, Ngororero, and Nyabihu receive improved drinking water services; and 100,000 people to have increased access to basic sanitation services, through a number of activities, including but not limited to:

  • Supporting the development of district WASH investment plans to reach universal coverage and ensure sustainability of services
    • Rehabilitation of non-functional water schemes
    • Strengthening the capacity of the government and private sector to plan and budget properly to sustain water systems for decades
    • Build the capacity of private operators to identify water losses and stop them, and be strong, professional businesses that provide great service to their customers.
    • Support the private sector to provide sustainable access to sanitation and hygiene products close to the communities that need them

We strongly believe that these achievements will provide protection against water-borne diseases; improve nutritional status; improve the household economy, with fewer days lost from work, less spent in health care, and less of a burden due to fetching water – a task that weighs disproportionately on women and children; and improve school attendance for children, especially girls.

We urge community members to take care of the water supply system, avoid vandalism of the infrastructure and report any inadequate services they receive from the service providers to the District WASH Board.

Getting involved in Village Savings and Loan Associations and actively participating in Community Health Club meetings, and Water Users Committee meetings, are some of the ways in which you will become an active stakeholder of this project.

We are happy to continue working very closely with the Ministries of Local Government, Infrastructure, Health, Education, Environment, Finance and Economic Development, as well as WASAC, LODA, and GMO, the Governors, and District Mayors, their WASH teams and communities to achieve our common goal.

Thank you once again to USAID for entrusting us with this responsibility and thank you to the Government of Rwanda for a long, rich history of collaboration.

Bruce Uwonkunda is a water resources expert with 10+ years of experience in government regulations and policy reforms in the water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) sector in Rwanda. He is the Deputy Chief of Party for the Isoku y’Ubizima consortium. Bruce joined Water For People in September 2015, where he has focused on coordinating sustainability interventions to make sure they can be replicated countrywide

He has a master’s degree in Water Resources and Environmental Management and a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Chemistry from the National University of Rwanda. He also earned an advanced diploma in Hydraulic Engineering in River Basins from the Hydraulic Research Institute in Egypt.