Rwanda leadership pushing for progress; clean water key to development

By February 28, 2008

Rwanda (MNN) — Rwanda's president is taking a hard look at the progress made on his country's development roadmap over the last year. 

President Paul Kagame says a lot has been done since the civil war, but he wants to accelerate Rwanda's economic growth and socio-economic transformation. Unsafe drinking water claims over 14,000 lives a day and is responsible for 80% of sickness in the world.

The "domino" effect of unsafe water comes when people fall ill after drinking it and are unable to work. In agricultural communities, this has a devastating impact on food security. For some children who fall ill, they miss out on their lessons and fall further behind in their education.

For some children, it's enough to discourage them from finishing school, eventually perpetuating the cycle of poverty.

Among changes that benefit Rwanda is bringing access to clean water. That's a primary purpose of Living Water International, says Melanie Dewveall. They dug a well in Rugando, a village of roughly 700 located about a half hour outside of Kigali, the capital city.

On a recent visit back to the area, Dewveall said, "We talked to several of the women in the community and asked them how it's affecting their lives. And pretty much across the board they said, 'Our kids are not as sick as they were.' Therefore the kids are able to go to school more often."

Close access has helped the village and surrounding areas begin to thrive. The well is attracting many people to the point now where a second will should be dug. Living Water's goal this year is to drill one well per kilometer in the Kigali region. 

But it's not just about relieving physical symptoms. For LWI, it's about: "Bringing God's love and His truth to them, I think it's demonstrated more than anything in our actions and in the gift of water that we're bringing to them. They are about to start doing a health and hygiene initiative. In this health and hygiene curriculum that we've established, it touches a lot on the Gospel."

It's an ambitious goal they have, and they're asking not only for prayer support but for financial help, too.  $1 provides water for one person for an entire year, but it also allows them to hear the Gospel. Go to http://www.water.cc to help.

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