Water, sanitation and hygiene access: using the district-wide approach in Bugesera, Rwanda

Ayinkamiye Zebuliya, 36, carries her daughter and collects water without difficulty as the kiosk is a few minutes away from her house. Nzangwa, Mugina, Rweru, Bugesera, Rwanda. 03 May 2017
Image: WaterAid/ Behailu Shiferaw

Rwanda has an ambitious goal to reach everyone with clean water, sanitation and hygiene by 2024. This learning note explores how a district-wide approach could help meet this target.

Between 2017 and 2019, Rwanda’s Ministry of Infrastructure, in collaboration with WaterAid and other water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) organisations, supported the development of a costed WASH plan for the district of Bugesera as part of the government-endorsed district-wide approach.

A district-wide approach focuses on the district – often the lowest administrative and geographical unit responsible for providing WASH services – as the entry point for support from WaterAid. The desired outcome of this approach is for the district to have the necessary plans and processes, finances, human resources, skills and knowledge, coordination and accountability mechanisms in place to achieve and sustain universal access. Evidence gathered at the district level is used for advocacy efforts at the national level to push for improvements in other districts and address systemic blockages, such as poor fiscal decentralisation to districts.

The costed WASH plan for Bugesera district aimed to accelerate progress towards universal access to basic water and sanitation services by 2024, and increase the coverage of safely managed water and sanitation by 2030. Developing the plan was part of broader collaborative efforts to strengthen WASH systems across Rwanda.

This learning note outlines the process taken to develop Bugesera's costed WASH plan, the outcomes achieved and the lessons learned. The note also provides background information to the district-wide approach in Rwanda, gives an overview of the remaining national and sub-national barriers to sustainable and inclusive WASH provision, and sets out recommendations and next steps for how they could be addressed.

Top image: Ayinkamiye Zebuliya, 36, collects water from the kiosk a few minutes from her house in Bugesera, Rwanda, May 2017