In August 2013 work began in Bibbo Village on the construction of two improved water sources, three water harvesting jars, three improved latrines and the promotion of better hygiene and sanitation. The project was completed on the 15th October 2013. This project has provided clean safe water to over 600 community members of Bibbo Village.
The project has as part of its aims supported the most vulnerable and elderly members in the community. The following activities were carried out to bring about effective and sustained change to the water and sanitation problems faced in the rural village.
- Construction of two water sources – Mawemuko shallow well and Kasamba shallow well – in Bibbo village
- Training two Water User Committees
- Construction of three water jars and latrines for the elderly
- Training in operation and maintenance of the facilities constructed
- Training Community Monitoring Teams
- Training masons on the repair and maintenance of the constructed water sources.
The community members enthusiastically participated in every activity that was conducted. They helped select the elderly beneficiaries most in need and selected the best communal sites for the water sources. The owners of the land volunteered their land for the project. Many villagers offered storage in their homes for the construction materials, like cement, and helped to transport the materials to the sites. The villagers also excavated the wells, and fed and accommodated the masons during the construction phase.
The community agreed to form a volunteer Community Monitoring Team (CMT) and Water User Committee (WUC). The committees are gender sensitive: Mawemuko shallow well committee comprises six men and three women and Kasamba shallow well comprises six women and three men.
The water users of each water source have agreed to pay 500UGX (about 12p) per month per household as of the 1st November to be used for the maintenance of the facilities. The community has also agreed that in the future they will invest some of this money into income generating activities.
Various challenges occurred during implementation of this project. The village depends on subsistence farming and the current rainy season meant much of the community had to leave the project site at various points to work in their gardens causing delays during construction.
With the construction of the two shallow wells, eighty nine households are now collecting clean, safe water from the wells. Before the project, women and children would spend two hours or more walking 1.5 to 2.5km each way, every day to reach water.
They now walk a round trip of between 800 metres to 1.5 km to fetch water from these water sources and it now takes between 30 to 45 minutes to access clean safe water. The old water sources are now being used for irrigating gardens and many youths in the village use the sources for brick making.
The WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) training that was given to the community included the following activities:
- Demonstration training in 12 model homes
- Seminars promoting good hygiene and sanitation practices
- Operation and maintenance training was conducted by a project engineer
The impact this training has had, with regards to behavioural change, has led, to date, to at least 50 out of 89 households transforming their hygiene and sanitation situation by improving their latrines.
Driven by the house to house training, proper storage of utensils and construction of dish racks has been implemented in over 65 households.
Over 65% of the households visited during the house to house trainings were observed boiling water before drinking and collecting and storing it in clean containers.
Elizabeth is 80 years old. She lives alone with her great, great, grandson, aged two. She recounts how she has lived a very challenging life over the past 30 years: “I am now 80 years old, with no children, all of whom died years back. They left children (my own grand children) but I do not know where they stay.
One of the grand daughters brought me this very young boy Simon, her son, to stay with me; I welcomed the idea because I was tired of staying alone. At least I could talk with somebody. Simon is equally helpless as me, he can not do any work. We both depend on begging for basics like water for drinking, cooking food and washing clothes, it became even worse when it came to the time of the toilet. I had no latrine at all, I was used to the bush near my house and when I was alone, I did not mind.
But with Simon life was even more difficult because he used to ease himself around our house. Simon would get diarrhoea nearly every day; I did not know what the problem was. I would also have diarrhoea and a stomach ache most days.
We would only get help for treatment from our neighbours. They were also tired of us because we had so many problems. We were begging for water from them everyday but they did not want to come to my home because it was smelly and unhealthy.
However, life turned around when I was selected by my village leaders to benefit from a project that supported elderly persons by constructing for them water jars and improved latrines. This came like a dream to me but it saved both our lives me and Simon. With a new latrine at home, Simon and I are very healthy, we no longer have diarrhoea, we have water all the day and I can boil my tea at anytime of the day. I now wash all our clothes twice a week. Life has now changed. I have a new life. Now I know I can live more years than I expected to live. I am now healthier than ever before. I thank my village leaders and God for the chance I got to be one of the beneficiaries of this project.”
Elizabeth is one of the many elderly people who live in such conditions but there are very few who are lucky as she was to get this opportunity to turn around her life at such an old age.
Our sincere thanks to Stella Travel Services and the Global Travel Group for making this project possible.
Date of Project: October 2013