Rwanda remains one of the world’s poorest countries, though its progress since the 1994 genocide has been remarkable. Between 2011 to 2014—just three years—poverty dropped from approximately 60 percent to 40 percent. Between 1990 and 2015, the country reduced the under-5 child mortality rate by two-thirds and achieved an extraordinary 85 percent decline in maternal mortality. Rwanda has an abundance of water resources, but improvements to water access remain slow. Piped water access climbed from 68 percent in 2000 to 72 percent in 2015 in urban areas, and actually dropped from 32 percent in 2000 to 27 percent in 2015 in rural areas. Basic sanitation access improved from 42 percent in 2000 to 64 percent in 2015 in rural areas, but it remained unchanged in urban areas during that time period, at 57 percent.
USAID is helping Rwanda address its water and sanitation needs through an integrated program that provides positive benefits for health, food security, and climate resilience among vulnerable populations. USAID is building a water system in one of the country's driest regions that will serve more than 30,000 individuals as well as key community institutions. Other activities focus on building capacity to monitor and manage water resources, develop water and sanitation services, and improve WASH behaviors. USAID also works with the Government of Rwanda to improve its WASH capacity and build a stronger enabling environment for WASH solutions.