We stay committed to build more bridges to prosperity


The global pandemic has resulted in this year's edition of Bridges to Prosperity being cancelled, but COWI will continue our support for the bridge-building charity. While looking forward to future projects, we look back at last year's project and the impact it made on the communities it connects in rural Rwanda.

The isolated communities where Bridges to Prosperity work are cut off from schools, health clinics, and markets for months out of the year. 

Since 2005, in partnership with Bridges to Prosperity, colleagues from COWI offices around the world have volunteered to construct 12 footbridges serving 46,429 people in some of the most remote, rural and isolated locations on the planet. 

Ten volunteers get two weeks to build one bridge

And the local community is very much involved in the project

Connection is the foundation for opportunity

Rural isolation is a root cause of poverty. The rivers the new footbridges spans are dangerous to cross by foot, and they often become completely impassable during the rainy season.

Each bridge provides isolated communities with lasting safe access to essential services and create new opportunities for local business. Tiffany Hwang, a COWI bridge engineer based in Oakland, California, was part of the 2019 mission to build a suspended footbridge in Ruharazi, Rwanda.

Tiffany Hwang (number three from the left) was part of the Ruharazi team of volunteers in 2019


"As bridge structural engineers, we often talk about the impact our profession has on the built environment. But it’s when our team saw children from the Mwoya-Nkakwa communities run back and forth on the bridge on inauguration day, that truly emphasizes the impact of our work", Tiffany Hwang remembers. She saw how the new bridge made a huge impact on the local community, giving children access to schools and residents easier access to the community market and a previously hard-to-reach health clinic.

Tiffany Hwang and her teammates visiting a local school

Something to build on

The bridge-project in Rwanda left a permanent impact on the local community – and the volunteering engineers as well.

"The personal impact on myself was the privilege to gain more cultural competency and understanding of Rwanda and their culture and history and to travel to the beautiful national parks and we got to participate in a community service day called Umuganda. Rwanda was the first country in the world to have a female majority in their parliament, and has a proactive environmental policy, with a ban on plastic bags and a monthly Car Free Day in the capital Kigali. We learned about the resilience of the Rwandan people, 25 years after the genocide, and the work to bring justice and to remember their history, Tiffany Hwang says.

Future bridge engineers

Since 2005, Bridges to Prosperity have constructed new bridges in Nicaragua, Panama, Bolivia and Rwanda. At COWI, we are proud to continue our support for this unique charity – and can not wait to be part of more exciting projects once the global lock-down is lifted. 

Get in contact


Ida von Huth Friis
Communication, BL International, Denmark

Tel: +45 31502850