60-metre footbridge brings community out of rural isolation

The community of Rugusa, Rwanda, is celebrating the opening of a brand new 60-metre footbridge completed by COWI engineers, a local construction team and the NGO Bridges to Prosperity.


The 850-person community of Rugusa, Rwanda, has lost 20 people to date due to the lack of a safe river crossing, with three lives lost in 2016 alone.

The new Rugusa Bridge completed by COWI engineers, a local construction team and the NGO Bridges to Prosperity.will provide consistent and safe access to educational, economical and medical resources for years to come in the rurally isolated community.

Ian Firth, chair of the Bridges to Prosperity UK Trust and Director at COWI's bridge group in the UK:

"We are very proud of the team that has just returned from Rwanda. This footbridge is so much more than just a structure across a river for the residents of Rugusa. The new bridge will help create economic prosperity; access to healthcare, education and markets; and most importantly, a safe crossing for all."

Watch this time laps video to get an impression of the new suspended footbridge, which was completed in just two weeks.

Facts about the project

In March 2001, Bridges to Prosperity (B2P) founder, Ken Frantz, saw an image of men dangling precariously, using ropes to pull each other across a wide, high and broken bridge span over a portion of the Blue Nile River in Ethiopia.

The photo in National Geographic Magazine inspired the formation of B2P.

Shortly after, Ken, who owned a construction company, donated time, money and materials, and enlisted eager family members, friends and his Rotary Club to support the inaugural Bridges to Prosperity project at Sebara Dildiy in Ethiopia.

Now, 15 years later, Bridges to Prosperity envisions a world where poverty caused by rural isolation no longer exists, and it is through the support of organisations like COWI that the charity is able to change the lives and livelihoods of people in some of the poorest rural communities.


Rwanda, Africa

Improve Access

  • School attendance: Up 12%
  • Visits to health care facilities: Up 18%
  • Pedestrian, livestock traffic: Up 100-500%

Increase Commerce

  • Number of retail businesses: Up 15%
  • Employed women in community: Up 24%
  • Per capita increase in 2 years: Up 10-20%

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COWI employee Søren Kragh Pedersen

Søren Kragh Pedersen
Head of Group PA & PR
Communication, Denmark

Tel: +45 2025 7018