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Our Program
Bridge Span (feet)
Team Members
Working Days
Lives Improved

The Region

Located just south of the equator, the East African nation of Rwanda is known for its rolling hills, lush forests and spectacular wildlife. Nicknamed “the land of a thousand hills,” the country has mountainous terrain and steep river valleys that can create isolation among its rural population. Rwandan residents living in the Nyabihu municipality—located northwest of the capital city of Kigali—experienced this isolation.

Nearly 3,500 local community members must cross the Giciye River to reach schools, healthcare facilities and markets. But during the rainy seasons, which typically last from March to May and October to December, crossing the river becomes dangerous and often deadly due to flooding. No safe crossing existed for these community members, so they were cut off from essential resources when the river flooded. The nonprofit Bridges to Prosperity (B2P) identified a site for the Kigusa Trailbridge to meet the needs of these communities.

The Project

Ten Michael Baker International employees from across the United States made the long journey to Rwanda to embark upon a two-week bridge build in partnership with B2P. On the ground in Rwanda, the team worked to construct a 246-foot suspended bridge over the Giciye River that would connect the villages of Jomba and Moringa.

The team exemplified Michael Baker’s Wolf Pack Philosophy—that we are stronger together—as they worked tirelessly alongside B2P staff and members of the local community. They partnered and problem-solved through each step of the build, which included installing the bridge cables; cutting and bending rebar for the bridge suspenders; constructing the abutment wall masonry; painting the concrete abutments blue, yellow and green to match the Rwandan flag; backfilling the abutments with large rocks; hanging suspenders on the bridge cables; installing decking panels; adding permanent fencing; and installing handrails leading up to the bridge. The entire team signed their names on the final decking panel before it was installed, leaving their mark on the bridge that would positively impact thousands of lives.

The team members also forged relationships with local community members during their time in Rwanda. In their free time, they enjoyed soccer matches with local residents, played games, hosted a barbeque for the local construction crew and took countless photos with their new friends to commemorate their time together. The team also visited a local school, where they distributed coloring books, Lego sets and other toys and played volleyball and soccer with the children.

Our Impact

To mark the grand opening of the Kigusa Trailbridge, the Michael Baker team participated in a special inauguration celebration attended by B2P staff, local government representatives and community members. Following a ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially open the bridge, the team had the honor of watching community members of all ages cross the new bridge for the first time.

The newly constructed bridge provides thousands of community members with safe, year-round access to essential resources and opportunities for themselves and their families. One young community member, Claudine, is now able to safely make her way from her home in the village of Jomba to her school in the village of Muringa. The Kigusa Trailbridge provides her with the opportunity to pursue her education and achieve her dream of one day becoming a teacher.

The team’s efforts and partnership with B2P are a shining example of how We Make a Difference for communities near and far.

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Michael Baker Bridges to Prosperity Project Top Image
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