MUTARE, Zimbabwe - A girl dances across a new footbridge in the rural Mutare district of eastern Zimbabwe. With the old bridge damaged beyond repair, and the closest safe crossing miles away, local children once had to wade across the river to go to school – a dangerous or even impossible trip during the rainy season when the water level is high. Recently, one man drowned and a child almost died while trying to cross through swift currents.
When the International Rescue Committee brought local leaders from opposing political parties together to choose the projects that would benefit their community the most, a new bridge topped their combined list. Now as many as 1,000 people a day can safely cross the river – no longer cut off from their school, health clinic and other vital services.