ICRC boosts access to safe water through partnerships and innovative financing solutions


The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is running a vast water project in the city of Goma, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, to help over 330,000 people access safe and affordable drinking water by 2026. The implementation of this large-scale project is possible thanks to the trust and confidence of key partners and innovative public-private financing solutions.

More than half of Goma’s 800,000 inhabitants lack basic access to drinking water. People either have to fetch untreated water from the Lake Kivu, carrying heavy 20-litre jerrycans long distances, or they pay high prices at water distribution points. Both ways, people risk getting sick, putting additional stress on the most vulnerable communities.

The Goma West Resilient Water Project includes the construction of a drinking water supply system composed of water treatment plants, pumping stations and reservoir, as well as investments into accompanying measures to ensure system sustainability, and continuing emergency works.

The CHF 40 million project brings together humanitarian and development funding with private sector participation and investment.

The World Bank, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency and the Fondation Lombard Odier are already supporting the project. Around CHF 17 million has been raised as of May 2022, including CHF 15 million foreseen from the World Bank, while an additional CHF 8 million funding is being sought to finalize the preparation and continue essential emergency activities.

To ensure the project remains affordable and relevant for the residents of the city, the ICRC is working closely with local partners and supporting the establishment of the Régie Provinciale, a body that will monitor the quality of service provided by the private water operator.

“New approaches and partnerships are an essential component to increase the long-term stability of a region that has endured successive conflicts and crises for far too long,” added Maurer.

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