The Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC) through the Integrated Water Resources Management Programme (IWRM) team conducted a two-day training for Rwandan media and communication professionals on the importance of water management from 7th-8th December, 2022 in Kigali, Rwanda.
The training aimed at equipping over 13 media and communication professionals with knowledge and skills related to IWRM, generating media interests in covering IWRM and motivating trainees to create an IWRM-Media Network for effective LVBC-Media engagement.
In her opening remarks, LVBC’s Deputy Executive Secretary, Eng. Coletha Ruhamya underscored the relevance of the training as it relates to LVBC’s mandate and sustainable development agenda. “The news media and communication professionals shine a spotlight on problems and offers practical solutions,” Eng. Coletha Ruhamya said, adding that the training is an opportunity for media and communication actors to understand, but also to communicate Kigali Faecal Sludge Treatment Plant with diverse audiences in Rwanda.
Her sentiments were echoed by KFW representative, Ms. Ann-Marie Ran who acknowledged the role of the national media specifically in contributing to the realization of the objectives of the IWRM program.
“You know much better what your role is, but what I could see is linked to the program is lobbying and advocacy to support government institutions and companies to protect their environment, monitor the impact of interventions and encouraging people to change certain negative behaviors,” Ms. Ann-Marie Ran said.
She stressed the importance of news media in promoting and rewarding good practices, holding people and institutions accountable among other things,”
Using a participant-centered approach, the trainees covered storytelling concepts, principles relative to IWRM, Kigali Faecal Sludge Treatment Plant, strategies of engaging media and communication professionals to communicate water and sanitation interventions.
Eng. Ruhamya noted that Rwanda’s Project – Kigali Faecal Sludge Treatment Plant, to be located in Masaka suburb of Kigali, will contribute to Rwanda’s National sanitation priorities as outlined in the National Strategy for Transformation (NST1) and Green Growth and Clean City Agenda. This is also inline with global development agenda relative to sanitation and access to water.
To enable participants to benefit meaningfully from the training, LVBC IWRM implementing team presented IWRM programe to trainees; specifically its objectives and key deliverables in Rwanda. Kigali Faecal Sludge Treatment Plant was one of the deliverables and it will contribute in effective wastewater management in Rwanda’s capital, Kigali.
Key statistical data presented in the training established, an estimate of 92% of Kigali’s population rely either on pit latrines or septic tanks as sanitation facilities, while 7%use semi-centralised systems. It was revealed, the current practice of dumping collected wastewater in Nduba landfill is not environmentally sound and sustainable, hence the rationales for Kigali Faecal Sludge Treatment Plant. The project will be completed by 2025. An estimate of 1,836685 Rwandans are expected to benefit from the project by 2035.
The participants that involved journalists from different media organs and communications officers seconded by sectoral ministries, corporates and institutions in Rwanda, specifically the Ministry of Environment, Water and Sanitation Corporation Agency (WASAC), and the Rwanda Water Resources Board (RWB) applauded the Kigali Faecal Sludge Treatment Plant’s potential to trigger socio-economic and sound environmental benefits and impacts.
The Government of Rwanda targets delivering 100% clean water and sanitation respectively by 2024. Currently, access to clean water for all is at 89.2% and 89.6% sanitation, according to Rwanda Household Survey (2019-2020).
Journalists were involved in techniques of identifying and prioritizing water and sanitation socially impactful and locally relevant media stories. Training was conceptualized with the view of responding to trainee’ knowledge gaps, needs and interests relative to the Integrated Water Resources Management in Rwanda. Training covered different topics; IWRM, effective communication and media coverage of IWRM, audience-centred storytelling, strategies of making water and sanitation newsworthy, generating compelling story angles, among others.
Coordinated by LVBC of the East African Community, the Kigali Faecal Sludge Treatment Plant Project is financed at a tune of EURO 7.5 million out of the regional total budget of Euro 42.3 million. It contributes to LVBC’s sustainable development agenda. The Lake Victoria Integrated Water Resources Management Programme (LVB IWRMP) is a regional programme coordinated by the LVBC and implemented in the five Partner States of the East African Community. The LVB IWRM Programme aims at improving water quality and availability through the strategic and sustainable management of the Lake Victoria Basin.