The remote village of Lugali is located in Kyampisi sub-county, Uganda. In an area which has an increasing rate of poverty, the village severely lacks support for education, health, transport, and food security. The women in the village are responsible for providing the basic needs of the family; yet many suffer from domestic violence and rape in their own homes.
Women and children from the village would travel miles each day to collect water for their families, mainly from stagnant ponds. These sources were used by livestock, as well as for bathing, washing clothes, and other domestic use. In addition, because of a limited awareness of correct sanitation and hygiene techniques, a local health unit was receiving around 35 patients a month suffering from water related diseases such as diarrhoea, dysentery, worm and skin infections, which, in poor communities such as this, can be fatal.
Need for the Project
The situation in Lugali also meant many children were kept out of school to collect water and perform other household tasks. It has also been reported that children in the village have been kidnapped and sacrificed as they collected water from sources deep in the forests. This has caused some parents not to send their children to fetch water – but doing so leaves the family without water at night.
One community member said: “Domestic violence has been closely related to the water problems: when women go to the borehole in the evenings – on their return, their husbands are not always happy, thinking that they spent all that time when they were at the borehole sleeping with other men. Women are frequently beaten by their men in this area – and some have been in killed in these fights. All this has been because the wells are very far from their homes.”
CHALLENGES DURING THE PROJECT
Unfortunately, heavy rains disrupted the construction activities. The already poor road network to the project area meant that the transportation of building and construction materials to the site was challenging and many of the roads were rendered impassable. This delayed the completion date of the project. In addition, there were challenges convincing the community that the borehole was going to be built in Lugali village. Many did not believe the project would happen, saying that that the government had promised to construct a borehole since the 1990s, but had never fulfilled that promise.
Maintenance and Sustainability
The water and sanitation committee of Lugali village that meet once a month have agreed to collect a monthly user fee of 500UGX every month (about 12p) from each household. This money will be used for maintaining and repairing the borehole. Those selected to form the committee had to be people the community trusted. The committee ensures community management and ownership of the project. In order for this to be successful, training of the community on all aspects of the project is being carried out covering the following areas:
- Hygiene promotion
- Construction of latrines
- Hand pump installation and maintenance
- The links between water, sanitation and health
- The importance and main elements of hygiene-promotion
- The complexities in delivering safe water and sanitation
- Reporting and monitoring
- Disease surveillance
- Coordination and partnerships
- Water quality testing and monitoring
- Environmental sanitation
- Site selection
The training empowers the community to plan, implement and manage the water, sanitation and hygiene project to meet their needs. During this training the village creates an action plan that forms the basis for monitoring and evaluating the project in the future. The committee will identify two youth volunteers to be trained as technicians, to help with technical problems and the cleaning of the facilities. A toolbox will also be bought by the committee with the first funds collected.
CLEAN WATER, HEALTHY BODIES AND PRODUCTIVE LIVES
The Lugali community are very happy with their new water source as is evident from the photos! The new borehole provides between 9,000 and 12,000 litres of clean safe water per day. A fence has been built around the pump to protect it from animals and prevent children playing on the pump.
Supporting this community with clean, safe water will significantly improve the health and wellbeing of the village. The project has aimed to improve access to an adequate, safe and reliable water supply and public sanitation services for the people in Lugali village on a sustainable basis. It is expected that the project will support local entrepreneurs, small businesses and contribute to boosting the local economy. The project will also save time particularly for women and children. The project is hoped to ease tension and conflict in homes, empower women, boost self-esteem and improve school attendance. The project will directly impact in the following areas:
- Reducingdistances walked to access clean safe water by up to 9km per day
- Reducing the amount of time wasted by women and children fetching water. It is thought an additional 15 additional hours will be available per week
- Reducing the risks caused by walking the long distances, such as rape, snake bites and child sacrifice
- Reducing the risk of illnesses caused by unsafe water including typhoid, bilharzia and diarrhoea
- Promoting positive behaviour towards water and sanitation
- Increasing the amount of time available for income generating activities
- Fostering education and increasing literacy by giving more children the time to attend school
Eight year old Gloria Nabakooza and six year old Simon Ganzi said, “We have been saved from covering long distances in search for water. We used to fetch water at 6am before leaving for school and by the time we got home it was already late for us to go. Fetching water is no longer a punishment to me as I used to think; this was because it was a long distance and it could hurt me. We survived being sacrificed. The fact that safe and clean water is nearby makes me believe we are saved. Thank you.”
Our sincere thanks to Stella Travel Services, Travel2 and Travelbag.co.uk for making this project possible.
Local Partner: Empower and Care Organisation, Uganda