Partnering with the Government of Rwanda and local communities, USAID is working to enhance private-sector involvement in rural sanitation markets to help the nation achieve 100 percent improved sanitation coverage by 2020. Meeting this goal means overcoming a number of challenges, including a shortage of sanitation supplies and contractors; a lack of construction professionals involved in household sanitation; the need for a variety of latrine models that function in unique geographies and take consumer preferences and water access into account; and limited financing options.
As a market facilitator, USAID’s Rwanda Rural Sanitation Activity, known locally as Isuku Iwacu meaning “hygiene in our area,” engages the private sector in six rural and two urban districts across Rwanda to increase demand for sanitation, raise awareness of available technical and financial solutions, and ensure the supply and accessibility of sanitation products and services to communities.
Tapping into the know-how and entrepreneurial spirit of professional engineers and contractors, and introducing them to new technologies and training, has already opened up new possibilities. Isuku Iwacu facilitated a five-day SAFI (Kiswahili for “clean”) latrine construction training that Tuyisenge Emmanuel, CEO of Temaco Builders, attended. Shortly thereafter he expanded his business to include latrine construction and developed his own toilet model geared toward disabled clients, which he calls the Eco-teto toilet. “I am passionate about finding innovative solutions to solve problems in the society, so I was excited to find out from Isuku Iwacu that through my construction business I could make a positive difference in the lives of people,” he said.
Isuku Iwacu is looking to centrally located district sanitation centers—with one in each of the eight districts—to become one-stop shops for a household’s sanitation needs. These centers will feature latrine prototypes; sanitation products, services, and salespeople; financing information; and WASH–related trainings. Business people like Emmanuel will use these spaces to exhibit their products and services and generate new business.
By 2020, Isuku Iwacu aims to help more than 113,000 Rwandan households gain access to improved household sanitation.