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Village Health Works



  • CLIENT: Village Health Works

  • LOCATION: Kigutu, Burundi

  • SIZE: 40 acres

  • COLLABORATORS: Bergen St. Studio

  • SERVICES: Infrastructure Planning, Engineering Design and Construction Document Delivery, Implementation Services, Procurement and Bidder Outreach Services, Construction Support, Operational Support

  • DATE: 2014 - present


Developing High-Quality Infrastructure Systems that Bring Global Best Practice and Dignity to Kigutu, Burundi

Burundi is one of the poorest countries in the world, exemplified by poor quality healthcare and education. In 2006, Village Health Works, a New York-based non-profit founded by a Burundian doctor, established a health care facility located in Kigutu, Burundi to combat these negative statistics. With a holistic vision of creating peace and prosperity for communities throughout Burundi, VHW integrates education, agriculture training and production, community and economic development, music and arts, and health care systems. 

VHW is rapidly expanding, with plans for a new Women’s Health Pavilion, a 120-bed, state-of-the-art teaching facility that will provide emergency obstetrics care, neonatal care, and comprehensive surgical services. This critical hospital will more than double the built floor area of the campus, in turn doubling the demand for basic infrastructure. 


Village Health Works Infrastructure Master Plan

LEVEL is providing ongoing support for campus growth initiatives: infrastructure planning, design, and construction services for roads, electricity, drinking water, wastewater, drainage, and solid waste on the growing campus. 

We developed a comprehensive Infrastructure Master Plan to support immediate campus needs for the Women’s Health Pavilion as well as growth through 2030. The plan focused on developing high-quality, scalable infrastructure systems that are appropriate to the site and the limitations of Burundi, while bringing global best practice technology and, most importantly, dignity to the Kigutu community. 


Village Health Works - Micro Hydro Power Plant

The first project to be realized from the Infrastructure Master Plan, LEVEL designed a 130 kW micro hydro power facility one kilometer from the campus along the Buhinda River. The design included a concrete weir, 50 cubic meter silt basin, 450 meter conveyance channel, 25 cubic meter forebay tank, and 750 millimeter steel penstock. 

LEVEL also provided procurement services for the 130 kW crossflow turbine and remote construction supervision services. The project was constructed using local labor, providing income and skills training for hundreds of community members. 

Key Specifications: 

  • Run-of-river design

  • 130 kW crossflow turbine

  • 700 L/s average flow

  • 18.2 meter net head 


  • Design completed in 2015
  • Construction completed in 2016 

Village Health Works - Wastewater & Digester

The next infrastructure project undertaken by VHW was a site-wide wastewater collection system and treatment facility to accommodate existing flows and future flows from the Women’s Health Pavilion. The collection system is 100% gravity fed, and the 100 KLD liquid treatment train includes primary sedimentation, secondary treatment using an aerated sequencing batch reactor, and treated effluent storage for landscape irrigation.

On-site solids treatment includes an anaerobic digester, dewatering reed beds, and a co-located composting facility for final processing of biosolids with campus carbonaceous waste streams, reducing incinerated waste volumes by 10%. Biogas produced in the anaerobic digester will be bottled and used as cooking fuel – a design that will completely eliminate the campus’ reliance on wood products for cooking. 

Key Specifications:

  • 100 kL/day average day flow
  • 150 kL/day peak day flow
  • SBR treatment technology (by others) 


  • Design completed in June 2016
  • Construction starts July 2016 


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