The women and children were most affected, as they have the responsibility of collecting water. They used to walk up to 2.5km to access safe water sources, only then to then find themselves in long queues, taking up to two hours each time they went for water. This was time that could be spent at school or in work.
Because of this many households would resort to collecting water from nearby stagnant ponds which resulted in the prevalence of diseases associated with dirty water sources. Diarrhoea, dysentery, vomiting and skin infections were commonly reported by the community, especially the elderly and children.
In September 2013, work began in Kanywamusolo Village on an integrated community managed water, hygiene and sanitation project. The project was implemented by Just a Drop’s local partner Voluntary Action for Development (VAD), and sponsored by the Thomas Cook Children’s Charity.
The project aimed to provide clean safe water to Kanywamusulo Village and as a result reduce the common diseases caused by drinking unsafe water. The project targeted the following:
- Five families – deemed the most vulnerable in the community – were nominated to receive improved pit latrines and water jars in their households
- The training of five Water User Committees following the construction of five shallow wells in Lugonvu, Nansumba, Bagwanji, Doctor and Mukasa
- Twelve demonstration training sessions and three community sensitization sessions for the entire village
- The training of two community masons for future repairs and maintenance of the facilities, as well as the training of a Community Monitoring Team.
The entire community is responsible for the operation and maintenance of the facilities; however, the trained Water User Committees will steer the operations and maintenance of the constructed water sources. The trained community monitoring team members will be responsible for the continued promotion and sustainability of good hygiene and sanitation practices.
With the construction of the five shallow wells, 430 households and 1,998 people now have access to safe, clean water. This will change the lives of the 560 children in this community.
The community members participated during all stages of the project including: selecting and donating sites for water sources; nominating the disadvantaged families to receive water jars and pit latrines; excavating the shallow wells and pit latrines; all in addition to feeding and accommodating the masons during the skilled construction work.
The community also stored and helped transport the materials used during construction. Members of the community set up volunteer village Community Monitoring Teams and Water User Committees.
To ensure the sustainability of the project the community are trained on the maintenance of the facilities. The community are encouraged, for example, to put up a live fence around the shallow wells (to deter wildlife), clean the wells and sites, set up by-laws, continue training and pay water user fees, as well as servicing the pump every three months.
Each water source was equipped with a tool box comprising of a pump lock and simple tools for servicing.
The water users of each shallow well have agreed to collect monthly fees of 500 UGX a month per household (approx. 12 pence). The fees will be used for any repairs or maintenance needed.
All of this will ensure the long-term sustainability of the project, without need for further aid.
To date, at least 270 out of 430 households have improved their sanitation environment as a result of the house to house training conducted by the hygiene promoter.
Hygiene practice has improved with over 215 households constructing dish racks. Good practice of water storage has been observed during the house to house assessments. Over 73% were observed boiling water before drinking and collecting and storing it in clean containers.
Zeridah is 17 years old and an orphan; she is also physically disabled and unable to walk. She speaks of the difficulties she had before her water jar and latrine were built.
“Life was very difficult. We used to share the same latrine with three other families and it used to be very dirty and no one cared to clean it. I therefore found it very difficult to use it; sometimes I would dig a small hole in our banana garden and this was the only alternative for me since I couldn’t use the only existing one.
I used to have diarrhoea and stomach ache nearly every day – life was really too difficult for me. The constructed improved and friendly user latrine, although it is still shared with other families, there is a separate special stance for me, which has eased my life. I go to the latrine with ease now any time I need to. It is user friendly since it has got a seat where I sit and hand rails where I hold myself which makes it friendly and healthier for me.
With the water jar also constructed in our home, life has become even better for me. I no longer have to beg for water for drinking and washing my clothes. I can access it in our own house. Thanks and blessings go to our supporters.”
Nagadya Zeridah is just one of the many vulnerable people that have benefited from the support provided by Thomas Cook Children’s Charity.
Date of Project: February 2014
Beneficiaries: approx 2,000