Our director Tony Fry had the good fortune to be invited to visit Rwanda last month to see the work WaterAid are doing there and witness the benefit George Leslie funding and support has brought to the local community.

Tony said: “The work being done by WaterAid Rwanda is truly humbling and inspiring. We visited communities in Bugesera and Nyamagabe districts who have been provided with access to clean water for the first time.

“From a civil engineering point of view, I was very impressed with the quality of the work. On one project 1000+ men hand dug 5.5km of rising main, built a 200m3 Service Reservoir and an attendant Pumping Station in four months, with not a digger in sight.

“Generally speaking, the remoteness of these communities makes the logistics of constructing anything an impressive achievement.”

During his visit, community leaders explained the difference made to local people’s health and lives. Hours once used for people to go and collect water are now used to generate income from farming and for taking care of their families in the communities.

The group that went to Rwanda were welcomed by all the communities and the schools they visited.

Tony said: “We met the Mayors of both Bugesera and Nyamagabe and we were really impressed with their clear vision for 2035 – to provide access to clean water for all citizens by then…. and it is worth highlighting that access means all citizens should be within 500m of a community clean water tap.”

During a visit to a District Hospital in Kaduha, the group were given a very informative presentation by the Director General of the Hospital who explained the massive reductions in neonatal mortality – reduced from 13 per 1000 to 5.4 per 1000 – are thanks to the improvements in water supply, handwashing stations, hygiene and sanitation facilities and practices. All of which were brought about by WaterAid fundraising and support from the Scottish Government.

Tony said: “My long-lasting memories from the trip are of the happiness and the celebrations within the villages because they have been given access to clean water and of leadership shown by communities, local government, and WaterAid Rwanda staff in getting it to them. Their clear and focused vision to work closely together to deliver improvements to their citizens through the provision of clean water, attendant facilities, and education was both humbling and inspiring. It was most definitely a week I will never forget.

“As with any partnership, learning and communication is a two-way street and I think there are lessons we can take from this trip about working more cooperatively to achieve common goals.”