Project work begins in earnest at Bwanga Hill

Project work begins in earnest at Bwanga Hill

Thanks to the record-breaking fundraising efforts during our series of dispersed Walks for Water, work is now advancing well on the ‘hardware’ components at Bwanga.

The dispersed Walks for Water across the UK, mandated by COVID restrictions, raised a fantastic total of £28k for our project at Bwanga Hill. This secondary school and rural community was seriously in need of support, and WATSAN’s dedicated trustees and supporters readily stepped up to help.

In his most recent report from the field, Project Director Eric Baingana has itemised the spending so far on the construction of a rainwater harvesting tank within the secondary school, as well as three tapstands, and two latrine blocks:

He says: “The tank is situated adjacent to the church building and is intended to serve resident staff and boys at Bwanga Secondary School. The purpose for this location is that the church is located uphill above the school staff quarters, which enables water from the tank to move down to the school by gravity, and the church has a massive roof which helps to serve this tank with enough rain water.”

The team is making great progress in spite of the ongoing challenges presented by COVID, which include school closures, curfews and limits on travel. The latter has prevented them from making as many inroads as they would like into the ‘software’ part of the project – engaging the local community in health and hygiene education, building a sense of ownership around their new facilities, and preparing to hand the structures over to them for ongoing maintenance. Restrictions have been easing into November and so we hope that these activities will recommence, so that work on this project can be completed by the end of March 2022.

Thank you so much again to all who raised funds for this project!

Find out more about our projects

Walks for Water – the future

Walks for Water – the future

COVID provided an opportunity to rethink WATSAN’s flagship fundraising event in 2021. Plan to be with us in June 2022!

Every two years since 2011, WATSAN Walks for Water have been key fundraising opportunities, raising vital funds for our projects in Uganda. In 2021, due to COVID restrictions and uncertainties, it was not possible to organise a single weekend gathering, as on the previous five occasions. However, the alternative of local walks held across England resulted in both a record number of participants and our best result ever of £28,212 for the Bwanga Hill project, which is now under construction and due for substantial completion by March 2022.

The trustees have therefore been presented with something of a conundrum. The local walks were popular and successful, thanks to our trustees and supporters, who worked so hard for us to achieve safe and successful outcomes. On the other hand we know that gathering everyone together occasionally has also produced enjoyable and worthwhile experiences.

We hope we have come up with an integrated plan, which relies once again on the willingness of trustees and supporters being prepared to organise local walks. Trustee Graham Piper and his wife Philippa are willing to offer a repeat of the popular South Downs Walk in June 2022. We would be delighted if others may be willing/wish to follow suit in 2022 and/or later years, and to organise their own local walks.

But this approach leaves us without any face-to-face contact with and between our supporters as a whole. To remedy this we are planning an afternoon gathering to which all our regular supporters will receive a personal invitation in due course. Meanwhile, please save the date of May 21st 2022! More details will follow, and we would hope to have a Ugandan presence, at least on screen.

In the meantime, we would be delighted to hear from previous organisers and new recruits who would be willing and able to organise a local walk on a date or dates in June 2022. Please contact Ian and Ellie.

Seeking new Secretary to join the WATSAN UK team

Seeking new Secretary to join the WATSAN UK team

Would you like to become more involved with WATSAN? The UK Support team is offering the opportunity for like-minded volunteers to join the Board of Trustees to offer their skills for the benefit of disadvantaged communities in Uganda.

Since 2005, WATSAN Uganda: UK Support has been raising funds from voluntary sources in order to work in partnership with a separately constituted Ugandan delivery team, which incurs project and running costs. We employ no staff in the UK, and have an annual turnover of up to £100,000, including regular donations, grant receipts and sponsorship from our regular big event: the Walk for Water.

The current trustees are looking to bring a more diverse range of perspectives and specialisms to the Board – and in particular to recruit a new Secretary with up-to-date administration skills. A full briefing and handover will be given by current Secretary Ellie Bensted, who has ably helped steer the charity in this role since WATSAN was founded in 2005!

A full job description for the Secretary role can be found here.

We would also be interested to hear from volunteers with experience in fundraising and event management.

Contact us to enquire or apply

Buy from Fair2All around World Toilet Day and 10% goes to WATSAN

Buy from Fair2All around World Toilet Day and 10% goes to WATSAN

WATSAN supporter Mandy McIntosh runs a fair trade shop in Ashby de la Zouch and online. To mark World Toilet Day on 19th November, she is donating 10% of her takings to WATSAN takings from 15th to 30th November.

The offer will include both sales from Mandy’s bricks and mortar shop, and her online shop www.fair2all.net, where you can buy upcycled and fair trade gifts, homewares, accessories and cards.

In 2017 Mandy was part of a team who went to South West Uganda and participated in a WATSAN project working with the local community to provide latrines in their school. Once the latrine block for older girls was completed, over 60 girls returned to education.

WATSAN’s trustees would like to thank Mandy very much for this generous contribution to WATSAN – and of course encourage other supporters to do their Christmas shopping on the Fair2All website!

Visit the Fair2All website

Legacy from Sir John Houghton makes a huge difference to the staff team

Legacy from Sir John Houghton makes a huge difference to the staff team

Many of our supporters will know from past posts of the problems faced by our Ugandan Team with the elderly and erratic pick-up truck, which used to transport them and their kit to often remote villages, over what our friends over there describe as the “dancing roads”. This aptly describes the bone-shaking effect of travelling in rural South-West Uganda, where at times one wishes for a crash helmet as you jerk up and down, almost hitting the car roof!

Now much has changed! Sir John, who died from complications of Covid-19 on April 18, 2020, aged 88, most thoughtfully left WATSAN a wonderful legacy, and his wife Sheila thought it would be very appropriate to use this gift to purchase a brand new vehicle for WATSAN.

The new Toyota Hilux truck comes with a three-year warranty. Due to the Covid-19 lockdown in Uganda the transaction took some time to achieve, involving several 500-mile round trips to the capital, Kampala, before Canon Eric was able to take delivery. But what a wonderfully thoughtful gift by which we may all celebrate John’s amazing achievements and his association with WATSAN.

Canon Eric writes, “The acquired vehicle is operating very well, using relatively less fuel. We are certainly achieving more progress regarding water, sanitation and health projects under implementation like Bwanga Hill and Ruheza gravity flow scheme because of this reliable transport.”

As COP 26 gets underway, we remember John particularly as one of the very first scientists to begin investigations about the cause and implications of climate change, way back in the late 1950s and early 60s. He outlined his research in his 2013 autobiography In the Eye of the Storm (where WATSAN also gets an honourable mention on page 259), and has recently been honoured by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), of which he was Co-Chair.

Find out more about the projects John’s legacy will facilitate