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Last edited 16 Jul 2020
Bridges to Prosperity programme
Young engineers will be working on the Bridges to Prosperity programme to help build infrastructure to connect people in developing countries, but need the support of the engineering community to help fund this vital work.
Rural isolation is often cited as a root cause of poverty. Connecting communities to essential education, healthcare facilities and economic opportunity is one of the cornerstones of social development and genuinely life-changing.
COWI UK has teamed up with WilkinsonEyre Architects to build its fifth bridge in Rwanda with the charity Bridges to Prosperity (B2P). The Kazabe footbridge will be a great help for the local community and create safe, all year-round access to facilities, schools and markets.
 Building connections to development
Safe access unlocks economic opportunity for a community. Farmers are able to sell their crops at outside markets or access agricultural inputs like fertiliser or seed. Bridges ensure consistent access to non-agricultural jobs. Women save time on household activities, spurring an increase in women entering the work force.
Last-mile connectivity goes beyond transforming local economies. When a rural community is networked to the world around them, they participate in the national and global economy, bringing transformation to the greater population as well as to their local community.
This is where a bridge can help.
The Sebeya River is impassable 45 days out of the year, and hence, students cannot attend school, the tea plantation workers cannot safely get to work, and residents are isolated from the nearest health centre and market.
 Durability and sustainability
Professionals from around the world volunteer their time and resources to return to project communities, inspecting footbridges and providing support for upkeep.
Local residents also commit to maintain and inspect the bridge, and are trained to do so.
This article was originally published here by ICE on 15 Nov 2018. It was written by Balint Penzes, COWI.
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