The 11-Hour Journey for Clean Water

Dire statistics are an inherent reality of EWB-USA’s field of work. Globally, 663 million people lack access to clean drinking water, 2.4 billion people lack access to basic sanitation, and one in five people lack access to modern electricity.1

The uplifting part of this numbers story is that we know how to drastically reduce these figures. Our highly skilled project teams and motivated community partners are changing this reality through hundreds of community-driven projects around the globe. We’re transforming one life, then another and then another.

Jenne Nyiraburanga is one of those lives. She lives in Rwanda and is the wife of the village chief — a position of prominence, for sure, but not one that could gain her access to safe water.

Jenne used to have to walk 5 hours across the border to a lake in Uganda for water. She would spend an hour at the border, get to the lake, fill her 20-liter jerrycan and then haul it on the 5-hour trek home. That adds up to an 11-hour journey for clean water.

We hope you agree that no one should have to travel 11 hours to access clean water.

Jenne said the toll of the journey made her, and her neighbors, live like animals. They didn’t have water to do laundry or bathe. Their children would only attend school for half of the day so that they could make the trek as well. They couldn’t keep any animals, because they didn’t have time to collect food for them.  

The rainwater tanks that EWB-USA implemented in her community have transformed lives. Her children now go to school regularly, she can do laundry, and, importantly, she can take care of herself. She and her husband have time to collect feed for animals and have acquired a cow, four goats and a sheep.

Interested in learning more about the impact we have had in the lives of our Rwandan community partners? Check out this report >>

About the Author
Engineers Without Borders USA builds a better world through engineering projects that empower communities to meet their basic human needs and equip leaders to solve the world’s most pressing challenges.