Category Archives: Rwanda

Tour de Rwanda

During the week of 16 to 23 November we were witness of the Tour de Rwanda. This is one of the big UCI Africa tours and a big happening in Rwanda. A time trial as prologue and seven stages of which the last one consisted of 9 rounds through Kigali. The stages went through the whole country from Gisenyi to Huye and from Muhanga to Kibungo. We saw them leave for the first stage, saw them pass our bus during the sixth stage when we were traveling to Huye and we saw them 10 times touring through Kigali including the grand finish. For the first time since the tour is an official UCI tour it is won by a Rwandan; Valens Ndayisenga!

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Land of a thousand hills

The real experience of the land of a thousand hills is while biking the Congo Nile trail. This trail of 250 km goes from Gisenyi at the northern end of Lake Kivu to Cyangugu at the lake’s southern extremity. It was an amazing, exhausting and muddy week. No kilometer was flat and no day was dry but the views were stunning and so much worth it!

WakaWaka launch in off-grid Rwanda

Tunga WakaWaka uyu munzi, uzigamire ejo hazaza hawe heza!
Get your WakaWaka today, safe for a better tomorrow!

This is the slogan of the WakaWaka Virtual Grid in Rwanda. The small, efficent and low-cost WakaWaka provides smoke-free light in the evening, energy to charge a mobile phone and looks like a cool gadget. To create awareness into the rural areas we had to go to the local markets, far from the tarmac road. In all of the three target districts there has been a so-called roadshow; a day-filling program of sketches, music, dance, games and prices. The result was hundreds of WakaWaka’s being sold and a lot of happy faces! To make it all official the final launch was in Kigali, in a chique hotel with a famous Rwandan singer and speeches of important people.

Baseline survey

WakaWaka will enter the Rwandan solar market this November to pilot a new pay-as-you-go energy service; the Virtual Grid. To measure the impact of the WakaWaka Virtual Grid a baseline study has been carried out. The baseline gives the current status of the livelihood circumstances of the target popluation; off-grid households in rural Rwanda. For an accurate and fast data collection the Akvo flow has been used. 30 enumerators were trained in how to use this mobile phone app in the field. In total 638 households were interviewed during one week among several villages in Gicumbi, Kamonyi and Rulindo district.

Lake Burera

In the outskirts of Musanze lays Lake Burera, accessible via undeveloped dirt roads and surrounded by small
villages. The scenery is breathtaking. The shores of the lake are heavily terraced and cultivated with crops. Impressive
volcanoes loom in the distance. An overnight stay in the lakehouse, wandering among the Eucalyptus trees with many
villagers, eating fresh fish, watching the Milky Way floating on your back in the water, a campfire and new friends made
this experience complete.

Is this Rwanda?

My first impressions of Kigali: no visual pollution, no piles of waste along the road, no plastic bags floating in the wind choking waterways and destroying ecosystems, no sign of illicit electricity wiring, no busy and chaotic roads, no loud honking of impatient traffic drivers, no unused traffic lights, no corrupt policemen, no ‘give me money’, no ‘muzungu, muzungu’… Is this Africa?

Since 2008 the use and sale of non-biodegradable polythene bags in Rwanda is prohibited. Businnesses have been forced to replace plastic carrier bags with alternatives as paper, cotton and banana leaf bags. Rwanda developed a reputation for its extreme cleanliness.