The SOS Eau Giteranyi initiative was born thanks to Xavière Sinaraha and Anna Renda in 2015.
Xavière, a social worker in Geneva, comes from Giteranyi, where she left in 1996 to escape the difficult political situation in Burundi.
When she returned to Giteranyi in 2005, she found that the situation had not changed and that children, especially young girls, were still responsible for fetching water for their families everyday. The water source is located about 4 to 5 kilometers away, requiring much time and effort from the children charged with the task. This naturally implies a high illiteracy rate, since the girls sometimes skipped school to get water. During her return visit to the village, the inhabitants of Giteranyi asked her to help them. Because of her personal connection to the people there, Xamière decided to try to find a way to help them however she could.
One of Xavière’s friends, Anna Renda, a French teacher at the EPFL Language Center, shared her desire to work on a sustainable development project with the help of her students. In 2015, they joined forces to implement a project in Xavière’s homeland.
At this time, Anna launched a pilot project at the EPFL Language Center to apply pedagogy to the newly-founded project. The objective of the resulting course, which is still active today, is to allow the students to practice the language by working on concrete tasks related to this social and environmental project. To do this, the participants, made up of non-French-speaking researchers and students, apply their transversal skills toward the progression of the project, through tasks such as writing proposals and maintaining this website. Since 2015, more than 60 students have devoted their efforts to the success of this project.