Footbridge project aims to connect communities in Rwanda

An MPhil alumnus from the Cambridge Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction at Cambridge University is taking his engineering expertise to Rwanda to support the charity Bridges to Prosperity.

The Kucyaruseke Bridge (credit: Bridges to Prosperity)

Musa Chunge, who now works with COWI UK’s bridges division, will be the project lead for a team travelling to southern Rwanda in January 2018. The team comprises 10 volunteers from two organisations; COWI, the international consulting group, and Freyssinet, the civil engineering specialist. They will support the Ngaruira and Ngeri communities in Rwanda as they build the new Kucyaruseke Bridge that will provide a new crossing over the Akanyaru river.

A timber log crossing is currently in place but this is often compromised or washed away by heavy rain that can fall for up to three months each year, leaving the inhabitants of Kucyaruseke without access to vital services.

The group of volunteers, who will work alongside the community to build the bridge, is trying to raise funds to support the project but faces a short time-frame to secure donations before travelling to Rwanda to start work on the footbridge on 27 January 2018.

Musa said: “This project is an opportunity to contribute to the provision of a basic need. There is a purity to this kind of problem that those of us living in well-connected cities often forget about. It is therefore a fantastic opportunity to support the locals as they tackle their inadequate crossing and build something much more suitable.

“In reality, most of the work will be done by the locals. We are travelling to support and empower them by sharing our skills and expertise at the most technical stages of construction. We will also strive to share good health and safety principles as best as we can. I’m sure our team will learn a thing or two from the experience as well. We are very excited to work with Bridges to Prosperity.”

An 80m suspended footbridge will replace the set of logs currently used to cross the river improving access to healthcare, education and markets for the 3,000 plus people living in the area.

To follow Musa and the team’s progress read their blog: Support the project by visiting: Kucyaruseke Bridge 2018/Bridges to Prosperity project

Bridges to Prosperity works to remove poverty caused by rural isolation. Working in partnership with organisations and skilled professionals, the charity teaches communities how to build footbridges over impassable rivers.