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Case of Rainwater

At the beginning of 2009, the Government of Rwanda stated that 68% of the rural population had access to water, whereas 72% of urban population has access to this service. The lack of access to water is striking considering the abundant rainfall that the country receives, nine (9) months per year. If properly captured, rain alone could be used to wash cloths and dishes, clean houses, water gardens, and others. In urban areas, rainwater catchment would limit the formation of dangerous ravines. Water could also be used for the same purposes as in rural areas, e.g., cloths and dishes washing, house cleaning, and garden watering.

Populations have the capacity to improve their quality of life, namely food security, access to water, proper health, children education, and adequate housing if they are mobilized, sensitized and their capacities are developed. Unfortunately, development activities are often times not geared towards capacity building. One of the most efficient methods to fight poverty is through education and training of the poorest communities, providing them opportunities to develop activities that will allow them to improve their quality of life.

Approach

One of the technologies promoted by ANA Rwanda is rainwater catchment tanks made in concrete with a bamboo framework. Advantages of these tanks include:

  • By collecting rain water, they limit erosion around houses and buildings
  • All materials can be found locally, which eliminates the need to rely on costly imported materials, and encourage local producers and distributors.
  • The tanks are very durable. They cannot be punctured like plastic tanks, and do not rust like metal tanks.
  • They are less costly than any other tanks, and can be made by locally trained personnel and masons

With the aim of developing revenue generating activities, ANA Rwanda offers trainings on the construction technique of the rainwater catchment tanks. Local authorities and beneficiaries determine who will be trained: people trained must have a basic knowledge of masonry, must be honest and trusted by the project beneficiaries. ANA Rwanda ensures that a certain percentage of women are included, typically around 30 to 40%.


Before the technical training starts, ANA Rwanda provides general information on several aspects, including sensitization on the importance of:

  • Collecting rain water as a supplement to locally available water and prevention of erosion
  • Clean drinking water, including the use of products
  • Personal hygiene, including hand washing, cloth washing, and washing of houses, toilets, vehicles, and others
  • Home gardens
  • Children’s rights and gender equality

Technical training sessions are separated in theory (20% of the training time), during which each trainee receives a training manual, and becomes able to build water tanks for other person who need and getting some money for education of children, health insurance,… Approximately 80% of the training time is devoted to practice under the surveillance of expert technicians from ANA Rwanda. The project tanks are built during the practice part of the training.