Creating time out of thin... water

Christelle Kwizera

Time is precious — the absence of it and the way we spend it affects our families and our communities. Around the world, millions are spending their precious time walking long distances every day to collect an equally precious resource: water. Christelle Kwizera is disrupting that.  

Christelle knows water access is a fundamental human right. And she knows that the burden of finding water falls disproportionately on women: women spend 40 billion hours every year gathering water. 40. BILLION. 

That is why Christelle is increasing access to water through her company, Water Access Rwanda, to provide purified water at a low cost at convenient, public kiosks. 

And while that was well and good, she realized that conveniently locating kiosks cut down on the time women spent fetching water — a non-revenue generating activity — but she also knew that Water Access Rwanda could do better. Now, households can pre-pay their water meter at home, and in turn, Water Access Rwanda will pipe water directly to them. 

By creating additional water points and piping water to homes, Christelle and Water Access Rwanda are not just creating convenience, they’re also creating time. Time to educate their children and community members. Time to work. Time to dedicate to crafting a gender-equal future worthy of the next generation. 

Arizona State University's Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability is proud to be part of Christelle's and Water Access Rwanda’s leadership story, and we’re excited to work with her along with all of our wonderful collaborative partners as a 2019 WE Empower Challenge Awardee. The WE Empower UN SDG Challenge brings together innovative women entrepreneurs advancing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and inspiring their communities to create change — just like Christelle.

Christelle will join our four other Awardees in New York this month for a week of in-depth trainings, skills building, and high-level conversations in association with the U.N. General Assembly, and will have the chance to pitch her business for a $20,000 grant! We are excited to have Christelle join us in New York and even more excited to watch her leadership journey continue. 

A version of this story originally appeared in a newsletter by Vital Voices.