As qualified mechanical engineer, Christelle Kwizera could have easily lived a comfortable life like most youth do after they completed their studies. Instead she decided to pursue a noble cause that will benefit ordinary people in her country – Rwanda. She founded Water Access Rwanda (WRanda) focusing specifically on making water affordable, accessible and clean while also creating employment opportunities for young people. The company currently employs 61 young professionals with an average age of 30 years old and with 48% of them being females.
Difficulties faced by rural households
Providing clean water still remains one of the most critical challenges facing communities in many countries across Africa and WRanda was designed to help alleviate the situation. Kwizera says the idea to form WRanda came about after she witnessed the difficulties endured by rural and urban households. She says lack of clean water affects over 400 million people in sub-Saharan Africa, adding that even in communities where there is abundant water it is often contaminated. And that is why she formed WRanda to create easily scalable and sustainable solutions that can substantially improve the lot of the affected communities.
No one-size-fits-all solution
Kwizera says her company aims to provide solutions for different sectors of the market ranging from agriculture, education to households and everything in between. She says all living beings depend on water with over 72% of productive sectors requiring water. However, she adds, there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to providing clean water. According to Kwizera the solutions that WRanda offers are designed to target a different customer segment. Each solution, she says, is complemented with their internal capacity to conduct geophysical surveys, drill boreholes and to design and install water systems.
Affordable and reliable access
In addition, says Kwizera, WRanda is designed for all budgets and also develops financing models that can accommodate even the poorest communities. She says their products are focused on providing affordable and reliable access to water through simple and effective delivery methods. This is particularly great for clients as the company is the one that shoulders the burden of the outcome (finding water) instead of charging for services or products supplied only.
Explaining more about her company, Kwizera says her services are structured in the following four categories:
INUMA creates a borehole-fed micro-grid piped safe water network where purified safe water is available at public points and piped into households for private access. All water is purified through a treatment process, pumped using solar and AC and sold via pre-paid water meters activated through a token for only RWF 1 per litre (USD 0.001/litre). INUMA™ points can be made from rehabilitated existing handpumps and create jobs locally in the community.
- UHIRA – IJABO
Targeted at farmers and off-grid businesses, hire includes a borehole, a solar pump, a pipeline, elevated storage system and an optional cattle trough or tap system from the tanks. This system is offered to groups of farmers who pay per use under the IJABO model or on a 0% credit to farmers with 25% down-payment, followed by equal monthly payments for 12 months.
In a bid to increase rain-water harvesting and ensure all taps in urban households provide safe water, Amazi provides first flush diverter systems and point of entry and point of use filtration systems. With this solution, households, schools, camps, clinics can save on their water bill in the rain season while reducing the amount of run-off water that would otherwise cause flooding. The systems come with a one-year warranty. Filters include in-line filters, table-top, portable and Aqua tabs Chlorinators.
The full company’s technical capacities can be re-arranged and bundled up to achieve other project objectives for custom-designed projects ran by NGOs, Carbon Credit Project Developers, government, CSR partnerships, etc. With VOMA projects, we also offer WASH trainings, baseline surveying and M&E aspects through smart surveying tools. For example, under Voma Projects, over 54 public water points are maintained with monthly preventive care provided.
Winning several awards
Kwizera has won several awards for her passion and vast experience in water projects and environmental activism. She has been globally recognised for her selfless leadership and pioneering work in promoting the need to provide clean and affordable water access for East Africa’s citizens. About her future plans, Kwizera says she want to quickly expand her company to reach the current water-scarce areas with reliable and affordable water. We see our solution work for the current 67,000 beneficiaries including the 400 million who currently do not access reliable water to benefit from the initiative. She says her big ambition is to see her company deployed in 12 countries by 2030 through their INUMA(TM) mini-grids.