The Rwanda Project has been working since 2019 to provide the ESAPAN boarding school in Ngoma, Rwanda with an effective rainwater catchment system. Their current water source was found to be contaminated and unreliable. In September 2022, five team members traveled to ESAPAN to implement phase 1 of the design, and the team is currently working towards implementing phase 2.
2019 Assessment Trip
In September 2019, the team traveled to the ESAPAN school in Ngoma, Rwanda to assess the issues faced by the community. The water provided by the government was found to be contaminated with Coliform bacteria, correlating to frequent illness amongst the students. The community expressed their interest in a rainwater harvesting system since wells drilled in the past ran dry during the dry season. In anticipation of a future rainwater harvesting project, the team used surveying equipment to measure the distances between buildings and the dimensions of the buildings’ roofs.
2022 Implementation Trip
We spent several years designing a rainwater catchment system and planning out an implementation trip that would be safe for our travel team and the ESAPAN community. In September 2022, 4 students on our team traveled with our EWB-USA mentor to Rwanda. We installed 77.3 meters of gutters along the front side of the building. The gutters not only catch water to be used for handwashing and drinking, but also prevent water from pouring on the students entering the building and from eroding the school's walking paths. We worked with workers from the community to lay pipe and build foundations and retaining walls for the water storage tanks. We also worked with an engineer from Uganda to build a biosand filter that can clean up to 2600 liters of rainwater per day. The cleaned water is safe enough to drink and is used by the students and locals in the community. While this does not solve all of the community’s water issues, it greatly improves the community's access to clean water throughout the year.
On our next trip, we will expand our rainwater catchment system so that it can sustain the community throughout the entire year. We will install more storage tanks and gutters and improve and expand the existing distribution system. We hope to also connect the contaminated municipal water source to our filtration system. This trip is scheduled for Summer 2024. We are working now to design this expansion and raise funds for materials and travel.