World map highlighting Africa

Access to Clean Water in Rwanda

The United Nations has declared access to clean water an essential human right. Yet, worldwide, 1.1 billion people don’t have access to safe drinking water.1 This problem is particularly acute in developing regions in Asia and Africa. One country experiencing water shortage is Rwanda. To learn more about access to clean water in Rwanda, consider the following:

  • Water is an essential resource, yet 1 in 3 Africans experience water scarcity. According to Brookings Institute, “Water remains a pervasive development issue across the continent.”2
  • Half of rural households in Africa don’t have access to clean drinking water.3
  • Drinking unsafe water leads to waterborne diseases, including cholera, dysentery, typhoid, polio and diarrhea. According to Koshland Science Museum, “Some 1.8 million people die every year of diarrheal diseases like cholera. Tens of millions of others are seriously sickened by a host of water-related ailments—many of which are easily preventable.”4
  • Global Citizen estimates “115 people in Africa die every hour from diseases linked to poor sanitation, poor hygiene, and contaminated water.”5
  • According to UNICEF, “In Rwanda, only 57 percent of the population access safe drinking water that is within 30 minutes of their home. … Even if water is available near the home, that water is often not safe to drink.”6
  • While drought leads to a host of problems, Rwanda lacks storm water protection, so heavy rains and flooding in the area increase water pollution.7
  • “Most Rwandans do not have access to running water,” says Global Press Journal. Instead, “walking long distances to fetch water from natural springs remains common here, and health consequences from waterborne diseases are a continuing problem.”8
  • Even in Rwanda’s capital of Kigali, only a small percentage of the population have taps connected to the water system.9
  • Most people in Rwanda live in rural areas and drink untreated water that is often contaminated. As a result, diarrheal diseases, often caused by drinking this water, is a leading cause of death for children under the age of 5.10

Obviously, despite recent improvements, the need for clean water in Rwanda is still substantial. Thankfully, various non-profit organizations are helping the people of Rwanda. GFA World, for example, has recently begun helping the impoverished children of Rwanda through GFA World’s Child Sponsorship Program. This program empowers children, their families and their communities through various community development projects, including clean water projects such as Jesus Wells that freely offer life-giving water year-round to communities in need.

1 “Water Supply & Sanitation.” World Water Council. Accessed August 11, 2021.
2 Holtz, Leo and Christina Golubski. “Addressing Africa’s extreme water insecurity.” Brookings Institution. July 23, 2021.
3 Dovi, Efam. “Bringing water to Africa’s poor.” Africa Renewal. October 2007.
4 “Safe Drinking Water is Essential.” Koshland Science Museum. Accessed October 7, 2021.
5 Rodriguez, Leah. “4 Factors Driving the Water & Sanitation Crisis in Africa.” Global Citizen. October 7, 2019.
6 “Water, sanitation and hygiene.” UNICEF. Accessed October 5, 2021.
7 Rubini, Andrea & Sarah Uwimana. “Blog: Water Supply Shortage in Rwanda.” AfriAlliance. Accessed October 5, 2021.
8 Isugi, Gloriose. “Rwandans Struggle as Tap Water Dries Up in Capital.” Global Press Journal. April 29, 2018.
9 Isugi, Gloriose. “Rwandans Struggle as Tap Water Dries Up in Capital.” Global Press Journal. April 29, 2018.
10 Thomas, Evan; Jean De Dieu Ngirabega & Thomas Clasen. “Lessons from Rwanda on tackling unsafe drinking water and household air pollution.” The Conversation. February 24, 2020.