A while ago a couple of engineers from Engineers without Borders (EWB) Germany approached LIFESAVER to see if we could help supply them with access to clean drinking water on a forthcoming project.
The project was to build a footbridge near the village of Kamajanga in North-East Rwanda. Kamajanga is in the Mountains (2100m above sea-level). In the rainy season the Giciye grows to a big river with a strong current. Often the inhabitants of Kamajanga cannot cross the river. With the rainfall little rivers and creeks appear. Because of this footpaths and detours are not usable. This has led to several deaths. The bridge will provide safe and year-long access to the hospital, market, school, and much more.
A bit of background info
Students of civil engineering of the Kigali Institute of Science and Technology (KIST), Rwanda, and the Technical University of Munich (TUM), Germany, designed and built this footbridge together near the village of Kamajanga.
The Bridge Building and Structural Design Group of Engineers without Borders (EWB) Germany, supervised the project with its technical expertise. The group consisted of professional structural engineers, professors and students and has realized five bridges in Kenya and Rwanda during the last decade.
All students and engineers committed their work voluntarily, the material, transport and labour cost were paid for through fundraising.
EWB Germany met with the Rwandan students and discussed possible bridge types and their feasibility at Kamajanga. They first chose the best place for the bridge considering things such as erosion of the river banks, the high water level, traditional crossing, etc. The design was a collaborative process. A bridge committee was also formed, consisting of the local leaders and two chosen people (with engineering backgrounds) as contact persons. The Bridge Committee represented the people of Kamajanga and the surrounding places. Because these are the people who will need, use and maintain the bridge.
To make sure that a bridge was needed they also asked the community to participate voluntarily. This meant volunteers dug holes for the abutments, collected construction materials to make concrete, etc.
The finished Kamajanga footbridge – finished this month
Photo courtesy of www.ingenieure-ohne-grenzen.org
How LIFESAVER are involved
LIFESAVER supplied two LIFESAVER Aid jerrycans to assist the crew with their supply of clean drinking water for the entirety of the project. This allowed them to stay healthy and focus on the project
Information courtesy of www.ingenieure-ohne-grenzen.org
For further information please visit the project’s blog: http://www.ingenieure-ohne-grenzen.org/de/Kompetenzgruppen/Kompetenzgruppe-Bruecken-und-Hochbau/Berichte-ueber-unsere-Arbeit/Bridge-Building-in-Kamajanga-Rwanda-2012-2013