A team of volunteers from Mott MacDonald and Balfour Beatty are set to build a pedestrian footbridge in rural Rwanda with the charity Bridges to Prosperity. The bridge will provide a safe year-round crossing over the River Nyagako for 10,000 people in the Nyamirama and Kanyinya communities, whose access to schools, markets, farms, and health services is cut off when the river rises to and over its banks.
Ten volunteers, five from Mott MacDonald and five from Balfour Beatty, will travel to Rutaka to build the footbridge with the local community between 17 June and 2 July. As well as providing a safe river crossing, the project will comprise an educational programme to share the knowledge and skills of safe, efficient and appropriate footbridge construction with the local population.
Since 2002, Bridges to Prosperity has worked with isolated communities around the world to create access to essential healthcare, education, and economic opportunities by building footbridges over impassable rivers. Within the communities where Bridges to Prosperity has previously worked, there has been on average a 12% increase in children’s school enrolment, a 24% increase in healthcare treatment, a 15% increase in local business and 18% increase in women’s employment. In the last three years, four people have died and two have been injured attempting to cross the Nyagako River.
Mott MacDonald and Balfour Beatty will sponsor the construction of the Rutaka footbridge through Bridges to Prosperity’s Industry Partnership Programme. The team of volunteers are leading fundraising efforts to support the project, as well as preparing to apply their engineering skills and knowledge on the ground.
Ian Towler, senior civil engineer with Mott MacDonald and project manager for the bridge build, expressed the sentiment of the team: "I feel ecstatic and privileged to have been chosen as part of the team and I am looking forward immensely to contributing to the successful construction of the Rutaka footbridge. The idea of being able to apply skills and knowledge from our day jobs to help the local communities and to create a positive legacy is an exciting prospect."
The project team will be posting regularly on their project website at: rutakabridge.wordpress.com. You can find out more about the team and how you can contribute to the story of the Rutaka Footbridge on this website or via Facebook @rutakafootbridge and Twitter @rutakabridge.
Find out more about Bridges to Prosperity at: www.bridgestoprosperity.org.