In March 2013, work began in Kigunga Village on a project to provide a clean and safe water source in close proximity to approximately 1,700 beneficiaries. This project was implemented by Just a Drop’s local partner Butterman Out-reach Centre for Community Health Services (BORCCH) and was sponsored in memory of Alan T Waddell by his friends, family and Visit USA.
Kigunga Village is located in Irongo Sub County in Luuka district of Uganda. The urgency of this project was critical as women and children would walk a 10km round trip through thick sugar cane plantations to find themselves in long queues at overpopulated boreholes.
Failing to provide water is seen as a punishable offence by some men who think it is the role of women and children to fetch and provide this water. To save time many women and children were using nearby swamps and ponds to draw dirty stagnant water. They would drink this water, use it for washing, cooking, bathing, and for their animals. Many of the villagers then suffered from waterborne illnesses such as: schistosomiasis (bilharzia), worms, river blindness, skin infections, and cholera amongst others.
Implementation and sustainability
The first village meeting in Kigunga occurred on the 29th March 2013 at Kigunga Primary School. Many people in the village attended and together with the BORCCH social team they discussed the implementation of the project. Below are the outcomes from the first meeting with Kigunga village:
Election of the water user committee:
A Water User Committee was established and members were elected by the village. Three women and three men were elected to occupy the various positions. The village members registered the number of water users in the village and it was agreed that a small fee was to be paid by the water users of 1,000 Uganda shillings (which is the equivalent of 25 pence per household). This money will then be used for maintaining and repairing the borehole. The money collected was also used to make a plaque positioned at the borehole to display the collective responsibility of village to take care of the property.
Some of the villagers wanted the borehole near their houses but after some debate and assessment, it was agreed that it would be dug in the centre of the village. The owner of the central land that was selected agreed to donate it to the village.
Community members’ contributions:
At another meeting the village members agreed to clear the bush where the water source was to be constructed. They also pledged to provide food and accommodation to the contractors throughout the drilling process and they constructed a fence around the borehole to protect it from animals.
These meetings were followed by a series of village hygiene and sanitation training sessions.
The importance of hand washing after using a latrine was also explained. Members of the villages were also taught how to construct a ‘tippy tap’ (a hands free tap) near their latrine. Everyone was told why they should keep the borehole clean and also why they should use clean water collecting tins. Those who did not have dish racks were taught how to construct them and the reasons for using them.
Achievements of the project
The construction of a safe and clean water source in Kigunga Village is the greatest achievement of this project.
- Over 1,700 people in Kigunga Village are accessing the clean water
- Village ownership of the project has been achieved through the direct participation of the village during the implementation and decision making processes
- The project has helped to empower as well as save time for the women and children of Kigunga Village
- The children will no longer miss school and the women will have more time for income generating activities
- The project has improved security in the community, reducing the risk of kidnapping and rape
- The community have learnt about the importance of good hygiene and sanitation practices, such as boiling their drinking water and drying dishes on racks
- The project also inspired and encouraged team work and social responsibility throughout the village.
“The borehole has brought a smile to every face in the village.”
A pupil of Kigunga Primary School told her story in the Lusoga dialect and this has been translated:
“I am Esther Naigaga, and I am in primary four. I am so happy for getting a borehole in Kigunga; I have been fetching water every morning before going to school and again, alone in the darkness. One day some men ran after me at seven o’clock but luckily enough I met a woman in front who scared them. I was saved. I will always be the first pupil at school and no more reaching school late. Thank you.”
Florence Kyosimwe is 48 years old. Her son disappeared in February 2011 whilst collecting water from a local swamp and hasn’t been seen since. Now, not only has she lost her son but she also suffers from an abusive relationship with her husband, who had not approved of his son being sent to collect water. With a home to run and other children to look after, Florence didn’t always have a choice.
“My son was kidnapped early one morning in the sugar plantation, on his way to collect water. Announcements ran on the radio for six months but he was not found. I don’t know how to thank enough; if we had had this water source before, my boy would not have gone into the hands of ‘wicked people’. This project will always bring happiness, as it will save others.”
Date of Project: August 2013