A retired water engineer who teaches communities how to harvest rainwater and turn it into clean drinking water has just returned from his 20th trip to Rwanda.

Rob Hoy, who has a CAF Charitable Trust, has helped thousands of people through his water harvesting and filter projects, but says his work so far is just a ‘drop in the ocean’.

Over the years, Rob has funded 25 large-scale rainwater projects for churches and schools, and another 40 small-scale projects for individual homes.

He has also distributed over 1,300 filters that help purify water to several communities, schools and health clinics.

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In his most recent trip he spent four days in Uganda, then three weeks in Rwanda visiting projects, distributing filters and teaching people how to build water tanks and purify contaminated water sources.

Speaking about his work with the communities there, Rob said: 

“We are so lucky to have all we have and I always feel so humbled.”

He added: “I have made some wonderful friendships and strong bonds along the way. During the tank construction training this time there was a lot of banter and because I am much older (in my 60’s) by the end they were endearingly calling me grandfather.”

Rob started the journey among a refugee community in Northern Uganda in February.

There, he worked alongside local churches and the organisation Life in Abundance, who helped him arrange the delivery of 104 water filters to the area, providing 500 families with access to safe drinking water.

Next, he travelled to the Northern Province of Rwanda where he worked with the local church to visit several rainwater harvesting projects.

After that, Rob visited the Western Province to work alongside Christian Engineers in Development (CED), a UK-based NGO, to help train  people on how to build economical water tanks.

Then he moved on to train and distribute filters to Congolese refugees.

Sharing an anecdote from the experience with the refugee community, he said: “Before one of the training sessions,  the heavens opened. Those caught in the rain looked so cold and downtrodden. I had no idea what I was going to do to help them but suddenly thought of the bubble wrap protecting the filters and wrapped it around myself. In no time all the bubble wrap was distributed, everyone had warm blankets and smiles on their faces and the atmosphere had lifted. It’s those small things that make it so memorable.”

Asked whether or not there is scope to spread the projects further afield, he said: “There is huge potential for the work I am doing. This is just a drop in the ocean really.”

Working alongside CAF’s Private Clients Team and UK-based Safe Water Trust, Rob buys water filters and pays for the delivery costs with funds from his CAF trust. The filters operate independently of any external power source and remove bacteria and viruses from contaminated water – making it an easy and sustainable solution for local communities.

9. Cyangugu 1000 litre tank training (2 of 2) 20190221_085941_resized_2


  • Sub-Saharan Africa has a 60% of coverage of clean water – leaving 40% of the 783 million people in that region without access to clean drinking water.
  • Water is a fundamental human need. Each person on Earth requires at least 20 to 50 liters of clean, safe water a day for drinking, cooking, and simply keeping themselves clean.
  • Polluted water isn't just dirty—it's deadly. Some 1.8 million people die every year of diarrheal diseases like cholera.
Rob Hoy

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