Kigali, 19 January, 2010

President Kagame today received in his office students from MIT who wished to share with him their experiences during the last 2 weeks. They have been working with local cooperatives to promote appropriate technologies for water, sanitation and energy solutions. The group, which comprised of 2nd-4th year undergraduates in the fields of Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, Management Science, Math, Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Civil Engineering, together with a Masters student in City and Regional Planning, have been in the country working mainly in Save sector, Huye District, with the logistical support of the Rwanda Village Concept Project. The Project is an initiative run by students at the National University to collaborate with international students on community development projects. The students were most interested in demonstrating the use of low-cost, readily available local materials so that these initiatives can be sustained after their departure.

After meeting the President, Marissa Simmons, one of the students, said that they had briefed the President on the projects they had undertaken with the rural people in areas like water sanitation, agriculture and the economy, in line with the policies in the President’s vision. “The response of the people has been generally good and we had interesting experiences. We were able to demonstrate to people that the water they use is not clean and therefore water for drinking and other purposes should be boiled first. We were also able to show them that although the water from Rwasco pipes and that from the mountains is generally clean, they contaminate it by using dirty jerry cans. They have understood the need to clean the jerry cans before using them to fetch water,” she said.

Feith Keza, a Rwandan student who was also part of the delegation of the MIT students, said that the local people with whom they worked expressed enthusiasm and will continue to use the technologies introduced to them. She said that the National University students who were partners on the project would follow up the projects and inform the MIT students if anything needed to be done.