Denver-based Water For People leading change in Rwanda

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Rwandan mayor Justus Kangwagye at CCA, May 10, 2012

For skeptics of Denver-based Water For Peoples goal to provide “full water coverage for the Rulindo district by 2014”, the goal seems too ambitious, or at least unrealistic. But not until you listen to the determination of the district’s mayor, Justus Kangwagye, who is the Rwandan governments’ point man to make sure this happens.

“If the entry point is water, then you can even talk of poverty reduction, you can talk of equality between man and woman,” according to Kangwagye, who was in Colorado recently.

The Rulindo district, which lies northeast of the Rwandan capital of Kigali, is in partnership with Water For People in what is called the Rulindo Challenge aimed at bringing the ambitious plan to fruition, with “safe water coverage for all 285,000 people in 494 villages. Full coverage for Everyone. Every family. Every school. Every clinic.”

The challenge kicked off May 7 at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, where Kangwagye was the guest of honor.

“This is the first effort of its kind at this scale, anywhere in the world, to bring full water coverage to Everyone Forever,” according to Water For People.

The organization has dubbed this campaign “Everyone Forever.”  Water For People was recently named to the top 100 best NGOs in the world by Geneva-based Global Journal.  In 2010 it was the recipient of a $5.6 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to support its Sanitation as a Business program.

Speaking during Africa Agenda organized Rwandan Progress at the Community College of Aurora, May 10, the mayor said while his district is the beneficiary of this partnership, the mandate that he has from the Rwandan people will help him provide water for his people forever.

“Today, we have a true partnership, and we must make sure that every Rwandan who resides in my district gets water,” he said.

Among the mayor’s other priorities is the provision of education for his people, road construction and electricity for the district, having signed a 2.6 billion franc agreement recently to bring electricity to Rulindo.

“The prosperity that we desire is undermined when we don’t work together,” the mayor said.

Watch the video clip to learn more…

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