Successful 2019 Walk for Water raises over £17k for WATSAN

During WATSAN’s Fifth UK Walk for Water, 57 wonderful supporters took part in walking, dispensing refreshments, marshalling and chauffeuring, with many more providing the vital sponsorship that enabled us to reach a fundraising total of over £17,000. This will go a long way towards funding a new water and sanitation project at Kihihi Hill in Uganda.

The Walk for Water took place on Saturday 22nd June 2019 amid the glorious scenery of the Quantock Hills in Somerset. We were delighted that so many took part and a very high proportion reached the summit of Will’s Neck, and completed the full 20 miles. The video below, courtesy of Jonny Bensted, gives a real flavour of the day.

We are extremely grateful to each and every one of the 57 people who took part: six in support (dispensing refreshments, marshalling and chauffeuring), 31 completing the whole 20-mile walk, and another 10 completing at least 10 miles. And special thanks to those who were unable to be with us, but kindly sponsored walkers so generously!

Elizabeth completing her stepsThere were two special features this year. Firstly, Elizabeth Starr, who has been with us on three out of the four previous walks, but sadly suffered a life-threatening brain haemorrhage in September 2018, was able to join us. Elizabeth is well on the road to recovery, and plans, God willing, to resume her studies for her final year at Sheffield University this month September, using her wheelchair and specially adapted student accommodation. Her participation in the walk was short but spectacular, achieving a record 120 steps, supported by her parents and encouraged by her sister Joanna and the other participants during our lunch break at the National Trust’s Fyne Court, the half way point of the main walk. You can read about Elizabeth’s experience on her blog here.

Secondly, it was a special pleasure to have Eric Baingana and Moses Kabarebe with us, from the WATSAN Team in Uganda. We received this note from them two days later: “Praise God. Words cannot express the gratitude upon our hearts, (Canon Eric and I), for participating in yesterday’s walk for water activity in the Quantock Hills. First I want to thank you for considering us to be part of it. Organizing such a great team of dignified men and women, young and old to be part of the activity was so superb. More so, for the overall arrangement, a well thought about route and special thanks go to our day’s guide and the hospitality team. To us walking over 20 miles in amazing hills, valleys and rugged paths increased our sense of a deep love for WATSAN activities. Though we are still feeling the aching, pains and dizziness in our body parts, we are nonetheless so thankful.”

Turning to outcomes of the Walk, it is good to be able to report that work has already started at Kihihi Hill, the main objective of this 5th Walk for Water. Our Field Director Eric Baingana has written recently that “Implementation of Kihihi project is ongoing. Construction of both a rainwater harvesting tank at Kihihi church and a six-stance pit latrine for boys at Kihihi High School has started.”

The somewhat less good news is that proceeds from the Walk, at around £17,000 after expenses, will not meet the full cost of the project, especially as we were hoping to be able to fund a motorbike to enable Moses to get around the area in his important role as our Link Man in Kinkiizi Diocese, and in monitoring past projects in Kanungu District, both physically and managerially.

We are extremely thankful that work has been able to start at Kihihi. However, the total cost of the project is around £35,000, of which some £27,000 has been raised to date, including, remarkably, a sum of £4,500 in Uganda at their own Walk for Water, held in Kihihi itself on 15th March 2019. After allowing for a further £4,000 contributed by beneficiaries and institutions in Kihihi, we need a further £11,000, including £3,000 for the new motorbike referred to above. Gift-aided contributions could reduce this target to less that £9,000. We would be very grateful if our supporters would consider making a contribution towards this life-saving project.

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