AMU and Casobu, the Burundian association which has been a partner of AMU for many years in local community development projects, started the path with the Church, the bishops of Burundi, COPED Caritas Burundi, the Government with the Ministry responsible for the water sector and provincial authorities, but above all with the inhabitants of Rukanda hill who provided manpower and goods, with their commitment to preserving and maintaining the common good that was being built.
To this end, 24 people were trained to raise awareness among other members of the community about management and 74 people, organized into 35 committees, were trained to ensure the water access points were properly managed.
With the fundamental contribution of all those involved, 24.8 km of aqueducts and infrastructure, 8 reservoirs, 39 drinking fountains, both single and multiple, have been built enabling water from the two available springs to reach the homes of 1,150 families in Bururi, and 20 experimental ecological toilets have been built for a number of local families.
Thanks to the nearby reservoirs and drinking fountains, women and children no longer have to walk for hours on steep and rocky roads and paths to collect unclean water, especially after the rains. Each house is now no more than 500 metres from a source of drinking water. The water from the fountains is now clear and purified, even when it rains.
Drinking water and the correct use of ecological latrines which allow organic waste to be reused in agriculture will improve the health and hygiene of the population and lead to a reduction in illnesses and deaths caused by parasites in the intestines.
The project “Water as a source of life and development” to unleash and stimulate the potential for development of the community itself has produced a training course on community micro-credit.
This is a system of savings and credit managed in small groups where each member gives a small amount of money which together goes towards setting up a common fund from which each one in turn can withdraw money to start an income-generating activity. Those who benefit from a “share” then commit themselves to return the share with the proceeds of the new activity.
This part of the project has achieved results far beyond expectations: 15 groups were envisaged, but 23 community micro-credit groups have been set up for a total of 572 people involved, for Rukanda Hill, 66% of whom are women. 300 loans were envisaged, but members of the community micro-credit groups have already been able to obtain 1,184 loans and members’ savings amount to 22,091,200 BIF (about €11,000).