As we begin our scaling efforts in Rwanda, our team in-country is working hard to finish 2019 strong. On October 3, Bridges to Prosperity, together with the Government of Rwanda, inaugurated the first of 355 bridges that will connect the entire country’s rural last mile.
The 42-meter Gashyushya Suspension Bridge in the Muhanga District of the Southern Province serves an estimated 2,200 residents in surrounding communities, including 440 children and 660 women of child-bearing age. These residents are primarily subsistence farmers, and must cross the Makurungwe River to access the marketplace to sell or trade their crops. Schools, health services, and employment opportunities also all lie on the opposite side of the river. When the Makurungwe River floods, it becomes extremely dangerous due to the violent current. During the rainy season, the river can stay flooded for up to three days at a time, resulting in injuries, deaths, and missed opportunities. The Gashyushya Trailbridge will provide essential safe access to critical resources.
The Gashyushya Trailbridge will provide essential safe access to the local communities. When the Makurungwe River floods, it becomes extremely dangerous due to the violent current. During the rainy season, the river can stay flooded for more than three days at a time, resulting in injuries, deaths, and missed opportunities.
“We could not be more excited to provide safe access to these communities and launch our scale-up program. In 5 years time 1 in 12 people in Rwanda will cross a B2P bridge on a regular basis, the Gashyushya Bridge is just the beginning – there is so much more to come!” – Hannis Whittam, Rwanda Program Director, Bridges to Prosperity
During the inauguration, one community member recalled seeing a child being swept away when trying to cross the river, and that seven others have shared the same fate in the past three years. Today, residents of the surrounding communities can step onto the decking* of their new suspension bridge, knowing that they are safe to cross the Makurungwe River for years to come.
*Due to the urgency and priority of this bridge site, the initial decking is local timber. Bridges to Prosperity will be re-decking in galvanized steel early in the new year.