In pictures: Bridge building in Rwanda

A team of 10 engineers, volunteers from Arup, Bechtel and Bridges to Prosperity, have built a 42m suspension bridge over the Mukungwa River this summer, for the 12,000 residents of Kukibuye in north western Rwanda.

Two people have been killed and seven injured over the past year walking across the logs that previously formed the region's only crossing of the Mukungwa. The new bridge, paid for with a £45,000 contribution from the Arup and Bechtel Group Foundation and £6,000 raised by the volunteers, will provide safe, year-round access to schools, markets, and health care facilities in the area.

Rwanda bridge

The people of Kukibuye prepared the foundations for the bridge and they were involved in the main construction as well, over two weeks in July this year. The volunteers worked closely with the local community to share knowledge on building safe and efficient footbridges appropriate for the area.

Rwanda bridge

Arup engineer and Bridges to Prosperity trustee, Phil Borowiec, said, “Arup have worked with Bridges to Prosperity for the last five years to help build essential, safe links. It’s a tremendously rewarding experience working with local communities and seeing first-hand the significant positive impact that a bridge makes to their daily lives. We’re really pleased to partner with Bechtel this year, and we look forward to continuing our great work together.” 

Rwanda bridge

For Bechtel, the Kukibuye project was its first in partnership with Bridges to Prosperity. Bechtel volunteers have previously partnered with another non-profit organisation, Engineers Without Borders, to help improve the lives of local citizens in nine countries. "We are delighted to engage in this first assignment with Bridges to Prosperity and to team up with Arup in this important work that will have a lasting impact on the village,” said Charlene Wheeless, Bechtel's principal vice president and manager, global corporate affairs.