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New-water-supply

Reliable Water Access Empowers Women

By Shadrak Kyobe, Director, EACO Uganda - December 2011

 

The Existing Water Situation/Facilities and Related Problems

The main problem or challenges that we face in Mukono District are:

  • Distances to the well from the households in hilly areas.
  • Time wasted by the women and children fetching water.
  • Water-borne and related diseases.
  • Risks like rape, and child sacrifice.
  • Risks on the way to the well; e.g. accidents, snake bites, etc.

 

Causes of these problems:

  • Poverty in the area: the community cannot afford enough money to built up a better water system to extend water near their houses.
  • The available water sources are unprotected, and therefore, probably polluted springs (pond).
  • Diseases due to the available contaminated water.
  • The distance between the water sources causes time wastage and the households.

 

Given the present human resource constraints that the sector is facing both at the central and district local government levels, it is recommended that the sector identifies and focuses attention and support to some critical areas that affect the service delivery efficiency.

For example, though Mukono is surrounded by the Lake Victoria, some other parts which are not near the lake –  people in that area fetch water from the trench, and water in these trenches is not safe.

The reason being that this water is used by both people and animals, which leads to an outbreak of diseases in this area.

Our Water and Sanitation Project

This project will combat the high levels of concern of the situation of the increased number sicknesses/illnesses, as a result of lack of clean and safe water in the area..

Statistics/evidence show that this area does not have any protected water source to provide clean and safe water to the people in the entire communities. As a result of this, several cases of malaria, typhoid, bilharzias and diarrhorea both in children and adults have been so rampant.

On a daily basis, Kyampisi Health Centre, a health unit in the area, receives a total of 25 to 35 patients suffering from such dirty water-related diseases.

This project basically aims at providing accessible clean and safe water for everyone in the community of Kyampisi Namanganga village for a better and healthy life.

Water supply, sanitation ,and health are closely related. Poor hygiene, inadequate quantities and quality of drinking water, and lack of sanitation facilities cause millions of the world’s poorest people to die from preventable diseases each year. Women and children are the main victims.

Water, sanitation and health are linked in many ways:

  • Contaminated water that is consumed may result in water-borne diseases including viral hepatitis, typhoid, cholera, dysentery and other diseases that cause diarrhea.
  • Without adequate quantities of water for personal hygiene, skin and eye infections (trachoma) spread easily.
  • Water-based diseases and water-related vector-borne diseases can result from water supply projects (including dams and irrigation structures) that inadvertently provide habitats for mosquitoes and snails that are intermediate hosts of parasites that cause malaria, schistomsomisis, lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis and Japanese encephalitis.
  • Drinking water supplies that contain high amounts of certain chemicals (like arsenic and nitrates) can cause serious disease.

 

Water, sanitation, and hygiene can affect health as you can see in the photo below. This water is consumed by both humans and animals.

Water-sourcesAll the wells in Kyampisi Sub County contain algae, germs, frogs, mad-fish, and crawling creatures like snakes. 

Groundwater is the main water source in the area. Perennial surface water is only in the form of surface ground traditional water wells, rivers and swamps.

Domestic Violence Tied to Water Problems

“Can you believe that domestic violence has also been closely related to the water problems?

When women go to the borehole in the evenings – on return, their husbands are not always happy, thinking that they spent all that time at the borehole sleeping with other men.

Women have always been beaten, battered by their men – and some have been killed in these fights, but all has been because the wells are very far, like three km away from their homes.”  – Shadrak Kyobe, EACO Director.

Inadequate water, sanitation and hygiene account for a large part of the burden of illness and death in developing countries like Uganda.

Available water sources in this area.

Shadrak-at-water-sourceEACO Director, Shadrak Kyobe, at the previous water source“This water source is deep in the forest and its the only source which has been serving the entire community, but we know that with more support, more sources of water will be set up in order to improve on the health of our community. Special thanks to Just A Drop for this Water and Sanitation Project” – Shadrak Kyobe

Water for Production

Data from Mukono district shows that 83% of the facilities used for livestock are used for domestic purposes. The lack of options of other improved water sources forces the rural population to use untreated water from the water for production facilities for domestic purposes.

In addition, 55% of all facilities in this district are not fully operational due to siltation.

These people have high rates of malnourishment, low but increasing levels of school attendance (especially low amongst girls), high rates of disease (especially malaria), and numerous other problems linked to severe poverty, and an exceptionally low standard of living.

In many households, children (especially girls), are kept out of school so that they can perform this, and other related chores.

In Mukono, the creation of a borehole well will put a clean, sustainable source of water in close proximity to approximately 3,000 beneficiaries.

The goal of this project is to put in borehole wells in five sub-counties. There are no sources of water in the vicinity.

Villagers (especially women) must spend hours walking to locations miles away in order to fetch water for household needs, and more so when we experience massive droughts.

The Solution and Objectives: Outline of What is Required

This Water and Sanitation Project aims at making measurable and sustainable improvements in water supply, sanitation, hygiene, and the overall environment in the communities we serve.

We recognize that in order to successfully improve health in developing areas, programs must be comprehensive, targeting both the direct and indirect causes of poor health and nutrition.

We therefore integrate our water and sanitation projects into our health and nutrition programs, as well as our workforce & enterprise development and food security and agriculture programs.

The objectives of this Water and Sanitation program are to:

  1. Increase access to potable water and sanitation facilities.
  2. Promote positive behavior towards water and sanitation facility utilization and hygiene practices (Behavior Change Communication).
  3. Strengthen capacities of relevant national, county, district, and community stakeholders to perform their role in community water and sanitation services delivery management.
  4. Improve clean water and sanitation standards, guidelines, procedures, and approaches achieved through regular and productive coordination and collaboration with relevant government, NGOs, and donor stakeholders.
  5. Increase access to seed funds to support community generated activities that will complement infrastructural development.
  6. Enhance strategic alliances and partnerships between public and private entities for development).

 

The community of  Namanganga village, Kampisi sub-county Mukono District, have agreed - with regard to the new water supply – to create a small fund, and this will be creating a monthly user fee of half a dollar every month from each household.

This money will be used for maintenance and servicing the borehole. These terms and conditions were shared in the general meeting they shared as a community.

Women Are Inclusive in Decision Making

The water and sanitation committee was formed to ensure that the community participates and owns the project.

At its formation, gender balance was considered whereby women are inclusive in making decisions at this level. Those selected by the community must meet certain standards of honesty and probity, and are people the community trusts.

The objective of participation through the demand responsive approach, is to ensure community management and ownership of their livelihood improvements as well as developments; it therefore becomes necessary to adequately prepare and position the village to do so. This is done through the training of the community on all aspects of the project and it covers the following areas:

    • Hygiene promotion (using hygiene evaluation procedure).
    • Construction of latrines.
    • Hand pumps installation and maintenance.
    • Minutes keeping and stock management for water and sanitation committee secretary.

 

New-water-sourceThe training empowers the community to plan, implement and manage the water, sanitation, and hygiene project to meet their needs. It is at this training where the village action plan emerges, which forms the basis for monitoring and evaluation of the project in future.

The community members of Namanganga village will own the facility; therefore, the community, by help of the water committee must meet the cost of its operation and maintenance to serve the community. 

The management committee has given assurance on this.

Community Responsibility

There will be a cost of 500UGX per home for a month to meet the costs involved in the maintenance and repairs.  We intend to have three water representatives for security, and they will be responsible for the collection of the money paid out by the community members per month.

The money will be used for maintenance. The point leaders will be working under the water committee and they be reporting any maintenance needed to be done. The committee will have a monthly meeting to review the performances of the point leaders and also to decide on what to spend on the required maintenance.

The signatories for the water  project account include – and they are on the water committee: chairperson, secretary, and treasurer.

They will be responsible to withdraw any amount approved by the general committee from the account in case there is any necessary need for repair or maintenance.

The management committee of the project will identify one of the volunteers of their community so the youth will be trained as technicians, to help on the technical problems and the cleaning of the facilities. The training will be done after the execution of the project; a toolbox will be bought by the committee from the funds after collection.

The company that will be hired to execute the project in its period of the guarantee, will be requested and paid a little amount of funds to train two youths to do the maintenance.

Youths who will be trained will be paid a motivation fee in case of any maintenance they will be providing. However, the committee will make the decision on when to call upon the technician if necessary; but in this case, EACO will be there to assist.

From Improved Access to Water to Women's Empowerment

The project seeks to improve access to adequate, safe and reliable water supply, and public sanitation services for the people in Namanganga Kyampisi sub-county on a sustainable basis.

It is expected that the project will contribute to the smooth running of daily domestic work, support local entrepreneurs, small businesses, and contribute to boosting the local economy.

The project targets rural settlements as well as homestead, schools, in Kyampisi  sub-county. The direct beneficiaries are the community members.

It will save time, particularly for women and children; this is a major benefit.

Beneficiaries of water and sanitation projects in Namanganga  village, Kyampisi sub-county will have less tension/conflict in homes and communities; community unity, self-esteem, women's empowerment (less harassment), and improved school attendance.

The outcomes of the project are increased coverage and functioning of water and sanitation services in the project area, and improved performance of work in Namanganga village.

We need to put up more safe water sources which are near. Maybe it will be another way of reducing child sacrifice, human blood sacrifice and violence in homes.

We need to point advocates to several cases where impoverished parents or relatives have tried to sell children to healers for money.

And advocate for common interests of the services provided, and issues (domestic violence, sexual abuse, child rights and others) of the infected and affected so as to influence policy- making.

As well as advocate for economic empowerment of the target groups through the introduction of  income-generating projects and adult literacy programs for development.

Conclusively, the above demands a responsive and community management process, including the sustainability elements that have been a secrecy in the rural community of Namanganga .

Even though there has been a challenge of commitment at both the local and state levels, for this note, the community will be empowered through these processes –  aiming at changing the story of Namanganga village, Kyampisi sub-county, Mukono District.

A safe and reliable water supply is a fundamental aspect of the quality of people's lives.

No quick fixes are available to correct a water quality problem, though many are sold. Proper operation and routine water testing is critical in managing any water supply. Many water quality problems can be avoided through a wellhead or watershed protection program.

If problems are discovered, consider all four options to find the most appropriate solution for our community.

Grateful Acknowledgments

EACO-water-projectThank you Just A Drop and Travel 2 for this water source.

We have been spending hours walking to locations miles away in order to fetch water for household needs – more so when we experience massive droughts, but now we have water.

The community is very happy for this borehole.