A team of volunteers from Balfour Beatty and Mott MacDonald 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 Balfour Beatty and five from Mott MacDonald, 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.
Balfour Beatty’s support for Bridges to Prosperity dates back to 2015, when the company built a 51m suspension bridge across the Mwange River in Rwanda. In 2016, following the success of the previous year, Balfour Beatty travelled to Tubungo, Rwanda to build a 48m suspension bridge, providing the community with access to essential health care, education and economic opportunities.
Balfour Beatty and Mott MacDonald 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.
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.
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Notes to editors:
Balfour Beatty’s sustainability strategy, our Blueprint, sets out how Balfour Beatty delivers long-term economic, social and environmental outcomes for its employees, customers, society and shareholders.
Balfour Beatty is committed to leaving a lasting legacy in the communities in which it operates, working with local supply chain partners wherever possible, investing in local community initiatives and building the workforce of the future through apprenticeship schemes and work placement opportunities.
The Company’s community investment programme. ‘Involved’ provides measurable objectives to drive added social value for the communities in which it operates.
Balfour Beatty formed Building Better Futures, the company’s Charitable Trust in 2009 to help the most disadvantaged young people in society. Through a mix of employee fundraising and financial contributions provided by the company, the trust currently supports three core charities: Barnardo’s, Coram and The Prince’s Trust.
In addition to fundraising for other charities, Balfour Beatty employees raised over £84,000 through the Building Better Futures Fundraising activity programme in 2016. The company matched this funding with an additional contribution and donated a total of £168,000 to the trust