Critical Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Challenges in Rwanda

Working paper, Sanitation, September 2018

11 Pages Posted: 25 Oct 2018

See all articles by Aime Tsinda

Aime Tsinda

University of Rwanda

Pamela Abbott

School of Education, University of Aberdeen

Date Written: September 7, 2018


The world’s population is expected to grow from 7.6 billion to 8.6 billion by 2030 and to 9.8 billion by 2050. A large proportion of this population growth is expected to occur in Africa where the population is expected to double from its current level of 1.3 billion by mid-century. Most of this growth will occur in urban areas as Africa’s cities and towns triple in size.

Rwanda is among the countries with highest population density in Africa. In addition, the population is projected to double by 2050 and 70% of people will be in urban areas. Compared to 2012 levels, by 2032 the total number of households is expected to increase from 2.4 million to 5.3 million with over 100% increase. Such rapid growth will further add pressure to the already increasing demand for water, sanitation and hygiene related facilities and services, especially from low-income households.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted in September 2015 by the United Nations, have sparked a renewed focus on what strategies will be necessary to achieve universal access to safe water and basic sanitation by 2030. To achieve SDGs targets, Rwanda will require US$134 million to build and maintain universal basic coverage and an additional $286 million to build and maintain safely managed services each year up to 2030. This working paper analyses four main challenges to achieving sustained, universal access to safe water and sanitation in the context of Rwanda:

1. The scale of the need for safe water, sanitation and hygiene. 2. How to best sustain essential WASH services over the long-term? 3. How to reach people most in need? 4. The integration of water, sanitation and hygiene for health.

Addressing the above four challenges will require organizations implementing many projects to work of varying scale, technology and approach to work in harmony and optimize interventions. There is a need to build capacity, create and sustain demand, provide products and services, monitor for improvement and provide appropriate financing. In this way, we can collectively achieve sustained services in WASH for generations to come.

Keywords: WASH, Issues, SDGs, Rwanda

Suggested Citation

Tsinda, Aime and Abbott, Pamela, Critical Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Challenges in Rwanda (September 7, 2018). Working paper, Sanitation, September 2018, Available at SSRN:

Aime Tsinda (Contact Author)

University of Rwanda ( email )

KG 11 Avenue, 47 ; P.O.Box 5039 Kigali
+250 788305960 (Phone)

Pamela Abbott

School of Education, University of Aberdeen ( email )

Aberdeen, Scotland
United Kingdom

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