Through South-South cooperation, young Kenyans share the success of their “A Water Kiosk in School” project with Rwanda

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There is a vast number of young people below 30 years old living in developing and low-income countries, and it is important to realize that young people living in countries of the Global South are a driving force in advancing the development agenda. Thus, the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation jointly with its partners has launched a global initiative called Youth4South Solution Awareness Contest. As a result of the competition, three young people won the opportunity to transfer their solutions to the youths of other countries, one of which was Venuste Kubwimana. (Please click here to watch his solution video entry).

Kubwimana is a young man working on the development challenges for the youth, including the issue of access to clean drinking tap water in Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and several more African countries. The youth activist and social entrepreneur was born and brought up in a rural and poor community with seven other siblings in the Southern Province of Rwanda. He lost most of his family members during the 1994 Rwandese genocide, and when he was 14, his last family member passed away.

Due to his studiousness and commitment, Kubwimana started an NGO called International Transformation Foundation (ITF), that provides youth leadership and entrepreneurship programs to harness creativity for a youth system that provides jobs; offering security, opportunities to grow and contribute to the development of local communities. He and his team recognized that school going children in Africa face various challenges because of lack of clean water in rural and peri-urban areas; large number of school drop-outs, sanitation and hygiene problems and lack of safety for children walking long distances to fetch water. All these pushed Kubwimana and his team to research a solution for the water problems faced by many local communities.

With support from a European NGO, they studied the issue and identified bottlenecks and possibilities for placing water kiosks at the territories of public schools. They managed to convince the local administration through incentives of clean water, additional income for the schools and selling of water to the local community at affordable prices. In addition, not only does Venuste arrange for access clean drinking water but also for refillable water bottles for the children to drink water from at school. These refillable bottles are made of BPA-free plastic. Moreover, they ensure that children do not sustain physical injury from constant lifting and carrying heavy loads of water on their heads. This is by providing Jerry Carry Carts which are used to wheel heavy loads of water.

Now, with the help of the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation, Kubwimana is replicating the solution to Rwanda in close cooperation with the Government of Rwanda.

“I am very happy and altogether grateful for the opportunity South-South cooperation has given to us. Us young people have enough energy, knowledge, experience, and dedication in spreading solutions and experience between each other and solve the various problems that different countries face all around the world. I hope to give my support not only to Rwanda but other African countries with the same problems that we have. In the process of knowledge exchange, we also learn and fill our own knowledge gaps. For this reason, we will do our best to continue implementing our solution through the best support and cooperation” says Kubwimana.