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4-Year USAID Isuku Iwacu Project Celebrates Bringing Sanitation Access To 500,000 Rwandans

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Over the past four years (2016-2020), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID’s) Isuku Iwacu activity invested 10.5 billion RWF in highly successful measures to increase access to basic sanitation for the people of Rwanda. Thanks to USAID Isuku Iwacu, over 500,000 Rwandans have access to basic sanitation (such as improved latrines) for the first time.

“By working hand-in-hand with the Government of Rwanda, USAID Isuku Iwacu has been integral in increasing access to life-saving hygiene and sanitation solutions for the population in the eight districts where the project has worked. The United States is committed to doing more and to work with the government and the people of Rwanda to build public-private partnerships for sustainable sanitation,” said USAID Deputy Mission Director, Bill Hansen.

In a ceremony held at the Kigali Convention Centre, USAID, the Ministry of Infrastructure (MININFRA), as well as implementing partners headed (SNV) USA dba DevWorks International with SNV Netherlands, Water for People, and World Vision International, marked the culmination and remarkable achievements of the four-year effort that has enabled over 500,000 people to acquire basic sanitation in eight districts of the project’s work.

Isuku Iwacu Activity (2016-2020) represents the continued commitment of USAID to support Rwanda on its journey to achieve universal coverage of sanitation facilities for its 12 million people and Sustainable Development Goal 6 which focuses on water and sanitation for all.

The overall goal of USAID Isuku Iwacu was to increase local ownership and capacity to deliver sustainable, high-quality sanitation and hygiene services in order to decrease childhood stunting. Over the life of the Activity, the project has worked in the eight districts of

USAID Isuku Iwacu did this by working with leaders and local civil society organizations at national and decentralized levels.

USAID Isuku Iwacu focused on three strategic areas: Increasing demand for sanitation products and services at the household level, strengthening the supply of sanitation products and services, and developing an improved enabling environment to support new markets for improved sanitation.

The project realized several critical achievements in its four years of implementation, including 561,035 Rwandans supported to gain access to basic sanitation; 254,504 households with clean covered latrines; 219 villages pre-declared as Open Defecation Free (ODF) environments; and eight District Sanitation Centers (DSC) built across the areas of implementation.

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Regional Army Chiefs, Intel Directors Meet In Kigali To Discussion Reginal Security

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The Chiefs and Directors of Military Intelligence of the six EAC member States have today convened in Kigali for a two-day meeting. The meeting that ends tomorrow aims to review the regional security situation.

The Rwanda Defence Force Chief of Defence Staff, Gen J Bosco Kazura officially opened the meeting by urging the Chiefs and Directors of Military Intelligence to discuss what should be done to make sure that EAC member countries live together in peace and harmony.

“I want to express my appreciation to you for availing yourselves to discuss what should be done going forward in order to ensure peace, stability and harmony among our people,’’ said Gen Kazura, adding that there is a need to find home-grown solutions to own problems.

Col Raphael Kibiwot Kiptoo, the chair of Defence Liaison Officers, representing EAC Secretary General, said the quarterly meeting are organised in the framework of the EAC Protocol in Defence and Cooperation Affairs in order for the EAC Chiefs and Directors of Military intelligence of the EAC Armed Forces to develop strategies to ensure lasting peace and security in the EAC community.

The meeting was attended by EAC Chiefs and Directors of Military intelligence from Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda as well as Military Liaison Officials from EAC Secretariat.

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How The Red Cross Is Helping Dozens Of Rubavu Residents

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Residents of different sectors in Rubavu District are deeply delighted by the assistance and support extended to them by the Red Cross Society of Rwanda especially in aiding those that were affected by disasters.

In May 2021, the Nyiragongo Volcanic Mountain located in Congo erupted and left the residents of Rubavu in a miserable situation. Infrastructure, including houses, and roads were destroyed.

Jean Paul Uwiringiyimana, a resident of Bugeshi Sector in Rubavu District told Taarifa that previously, there is a lot in their day to day lives that they were not paying attention to but this has since changed.

He says that Red Cross has not only supported them with basic needs, it has also trained them on how to ensure proper sanitation in their places of residence, having vegetable gardens as well as handwashing facilities.

‘’The place we are settled in is one that yields a lot of agricultural produce but many people didn’t know how to prepare meals from our harvests,” he says, “but now we have been trained on how we are supposed to prepare meals out of our own produce.’’

Previously, there would be a lot of harvests such as vegetables and irish potatoes but instead of making nutritious meals for the family, they would instead sell them off leaving the family malnourished, inviting diseases such as kwashiorkor. Other diseases resulting from malnutrition were so common.

Jacquiline Tuyambaze, also a resident in the area, says that they used to eat a mixture of beans and irish potatoes and felt they have done their best to have a balanced diet.

‘’However, after the intervention of the Red Cross, we have learnt that a balanced diet consists of three types of food; carbohydrates, proteins and vitamins…we used to think of having all the three food types in one sitting as something really hard and expensive but we have since learnt that we can actually get all the food types from the crops that we grow ourselves,’’ she says.

On hygiene, she says,  “we have learnt that we must wash our hands with clean water and soap every time we are going to eat, after visiting the latrines… we are now living healthier lives.’’

They also boil water for drinking, a practice they have learnt with the help of the Red Cross.

Training Residents on the saving culture.

Besides training the residents on ensuring proper hygiene and eating a balanced diet, the Red Cross advised the residents to develop a saving culture through saving groups.

Anastase  Hitiyaremye, who is a member of the ‘’Duharanire Ubuzima Bwiza’’ Saving Group located in Bereshi Village in Bugeshi Sector, says that since they began saving in the Saving Group, he has seen its benefit to him personally and his family because there is no case where he can be in need of small amounts of money and he fails to get it.

‘’We have so far saved a total of Rwf 123,500. We are planning on buying animals such as goats, sheep, pigs among others which will be of great importance to our homes including providing manure,” he says.

As for Andre Nsengiyumva , he knew nothing about saving but after receiving training sessions from the Red Cross, he has had a change in his financial discipline.

He says, ‘’Previously, I used to harvest a lot of irish potatoes and I would get a lot of money but since we had no saving culture, all the money would be wasted in worthless ventures such as buying alcohol for my friends but now there is a certain amount of money that I save weekly as a must in our Saving Group.’’

Construction of modern handwashing facilities in schools

Handwashing is one of the measures that was put in place to curb the spread of the Covid-19 virus and it was noted that a number of schools in Rubavu District had issues of putting in place handwashing facilities for students.

Emmanuel  Habiyaremye,  the Headteacher of Gitebe II Primary and Secondary school says that the school has a total of 1,171 students who have to share just two handwashing facilities that are manually filled with water every now and then by a school employee and every jerrycan costs Rwf 100.

He says that a lot of efforts had to be applied in order for the students to be able to get water to wash their hands because there is no water source in the neighborhood. It would cost the school Fwf 800,000 to cover a distance of 300 meters and the school doesn’t have that amount of money.

The Red Cross has since built them twelve modern washing facilities and the budget that had been allocated to buying water for the students to be able to wash their hands has now been diverted to construction of a kitchen where meals for the students will be prepared from.

Bazaramwiranande Jean Damascene, Headteacher of Pfunda Primary and Secondary School shares the same vies with his counterpart from Gitebe II school as he says that currently, his school has a total of 1.154 and there is an expected increase in the number by around 300 students next year.

Other schools in the district are receiving the same assistance.

Assistance to residents neighboring River Sebeya

Among the many beneficiaries of the Red Cross were the disadvantaged persons whose houses were renovated after they were destroyed by River Sebeya which normally floods and destroys people’s homes.

Maniteze Venatie says that her house was destroyed by the river and she was left homeless. Well-wishers accommodated her until the Red Cross offered her iron sheets and cement to construct a new house. She also received food assistance because floods had destroyed her gardens and she had nothing to eat.

In other activities, the Red Cross has a team of volunteers that was trained them with rescuing and first aid skills. In 2020, this team helped in recovering the bodies of a boat accident in Lake Kivu on DRC side.

Emmanuel Mazimpaka, the Red Cross Head of Communication, Fundraising and Humanitarian Diplomacy Department says that they are pleased with their efforts because they can see that the livelihoods of people in Rubavu District have been uplifted.

“’It is not only in Rubavu Distric, where we have built the modern hand-washing facilities. We have done this in 62 schools around the country and this has cost over Rwf 200 million,” he says.

“Red Cross as a government partner, our role is to help the citizens that have been affected by natural disasters or war as well as improving the livelihoods of the disadvantaged.’’

The Red Cross is also involved in fighting the Covid-19 pandemic through its awareness campaigns as well as helping over 7000 homes get food.

The Vice Mayor of Rubavu District in charge of Welfare, Ishimwe Pacifique , said that the Red Cross has continued to be a very outstanding partner in solving the issues of the residents which include flooding of River Sebeya, the strong winds from the volcanoes, which destroy houses and gardens of residents, Covid-19 and the recent Nyiragongo Volcanic eruptions.

She said, ‘’The Red Cross is a very important partner in Rubavu District because of what it has done.”

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Government Shuts Down Baho International Hospital

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The Ministry of Health has closed Baho International Hospital after the death of a patient identified as Chantal lost her life at the health service facility earlier this month.

The death was a result of a simple family planning procedure which turned out fatal, prompting the ministry to put in place a Joint Investigation Team to investigate the alleged clinical malpractices.

This team consisted of 9 individuals who started their investigations on September 10, 2021 and were expected to provide a comprehensive report in 5 working days.

Health Minister, Dr. Daniel Ngamije, confirmed the closure of the Nyarutarama based hospital.  He said, ‘’In the coming days, we shall offer a communication on not only the closure of Baho International Hospital but to all private health facilities requesting them to comply with the standards as well as requesting them to up the quality of their services.’’

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