Rwandan Social Activist Awarded By Queen Elizabeth

The Queen of England, Queen Elizabeth II, has recognised a Rwandan social activist, Christelle Kwizera, as one of the young leaders impacting the community.

She was presented with the Queen's Points of Light Award on Tuesday, June 21, for having founded Water Access Rwanda, a social enterprise that scales up water access to vulnerable communities in Rwanda.

The Queen's Points of Light Award is a global prize that identifies leaders in the Commonwealth who are particularly doing impactful social activities for their communities.

It is coming to Rwanda for the third time after previously being given to Solid Africa's Isabelle Kamaliza and Rwanda Women Network's Mary Balikungeri.

Presenting the award, the UK Minister of State for Commonwealth, Lord Tariq Ahmad of Wimbledon, described Water Access Rwanda as a ready and frankly good business.

"Her innovative social enterprise is making phenomenal impact having provided water to over 100,000 vulnerable populations in Rwanda, it is in this regard that she was recognised by the Queen," he announced at the awarding ceremony.

The ceremony also coincided with a business networking event for British owned businesses operating in Rwanda and the CHOGM delegation from the United Kingdom.

Omar Daair, the UK High Commissioner to Rwanda, highlighted some of the criteria of the assessment that led to her recognition.

"Her company is a profit making company, but working very hard to provide safe and clean drinking water in a way that is more affordable. But on top of that, she is also that person who often talks to other young entrepreneurs who hope to start businesses and gives them some coaching and mentoring," the High Commissioner said.

Commenting on the award, Kwizera said it is an opportunity for exposure to more investors who want to impact the African community.

"Although they are recognizing us as points of light, they are also shining the light on our work. This means recognizing us during CHOGM. It means the delegates who want to invest in Africa, can notice us as the opportunity to have impact, make money and help people," she noted.

Kwizera launched Water Access Rwanda in 2014 when she was 20 years old to provide a safe and sustainable way for Rwandans living in rural communities to easily access clean water.

With a network of 95 boreholes and purified clean water grids, the enterprise now provides clean water to more than 100,000 Rwandans every day.

At the same time, it is providing employment opportunities for young people.

Kwizera's work in water and geophysics has seen her train and support the development of social water businesses across the continent.

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