Important notice to our supporters regarding WATSAN’s partnership with Tearfund

Important notice to our supporters regarding WATSAN’s partnership with Tearfund

Many of our supporters will know that for many years WATSAN has enjoyed a partnership with Tearfund, who have provided approximately one third of our total funding. This arrangement was underpinned by a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Tearfund and our partners in Uganda, NKKD WATSAN (NKKD).

Without notice, Tearfund indicated to NKKD on 18th May that they will not be renewing the MOU with NKKD, which expired on 31st March 2022, a decision that they indicated had been a difficult one to take and has nothing to do with NKKD’s performance. NKKD has recently completed and commissioned a large scheme at Ruheza, which was funded by Tearfund.

On 23rd June, when WATSAN’s UK trustees were informed, it came as a shock. We expected Tearfund to meet the costs of a new gravity flow scheme at Furuma, from the beginning of June, which would have met serious shortfalls in services to rural communities close to Rukungiri. This would have occupied the NKKD team for the next few months, whilst WATSAN’s UK Support team sought funds for a further project, Kazuru, in a remote and exceptionally needy area on the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Whether this proves to be a long-term decision or not, it has a serious short-term impact on WATSAN UK’s ability to fund the team in Uganda as presently set up. And it comes at a time of worldwide inflation, as well as a drop in the value of the pound against world currencies. There is a two-fold immediate impact: intended beneficiaries will continue in a state of water and sanitation poverty; and parts of the WATSAN staff team will inevitably have to be laid off.

Hence, we have no alternative but to appeal to our supporters for immediate additional help, as well as looking for new support. An immediate uplift of 10 – 25% in regular donations would enable us to secure the continuity of NKKD WATSAN for the time being, both in terms of core management and our ongoing sustainability programme.

Construction of both the above gravity flow schemes is ready to commence. Given that funding for Furuma is not forthcoming, inevitably this project must now wait. We will look for new individual supporters, and major new support from institutional funders, big and small, to fund Kazuru, our present target project, but we are in competition with many other urgent needs worldwide. One-off donations are needed urgently, with a target of £25,000, towards the £100,000 total scheme cost.

We hope you understand that this is an appeal that we are extremely reluctant to make. Our current predicament and the seriously adverse worldwide environment has pressed us into making this vital approach to our supporters.

Thank you so much for any additional support you can give.

Make a one-off or regular donation to WATSAN

Simon Piper completes 138km cycle marathon for WATSAN!

Simon Piper completes 138km cycle marathon for WATSAN!

On 3rd July Simon completed the Maratona Dles Dolomites in aid of WATSAN, completing 138km and six ascents in 8 hours and 53 minutes.

WATSAN is incredibly grateful to Simon for his magnificent achievement in completing the marathon, an annual single-day road bicycle race covering seven mountain passes in the Dolomites. Open to amateur cyclists, the Maratona – with 9,000 riders from over 70 nations – is one of the biggest Italian Granfondo bicycle races.

Simon’s personal video of the race can be seen below!

Simon’s fundraising will go towards the construction of a new gravity flow scheme at Kazuru, which is WATSAN’s current target project.

Simon has raised over £400 so far, but we think he deserves more for completing such a gruelling challenge! You can still donate to show your support for Simon and WATSAN via his Stewardship page.

Pupils at Kinyasano now have dignified sanitation

Pupils at Kinyasano now have dignified sanitation

Thanks to WATSAN’s latest intervention, community members at a primary school, child development centre and church are better equipped with facilities and knowledge about how to take care of their health.

The Kinyasano Hill project area consists of three institutions: Kinyasano Boarding Primary School, Kinyasano Child Development Centre (CDC), and Emmanuel Cathedral-Kinyasano. Between April and June 2022, the WATSAN team have been focused on building effective toilet facilities for children and teaching staff, and implementing a huge awareness-raising exercise to get everyone on board with better hygiene practices.

Alongside the construction of two new toilet blocks, WATSAN’s software team carried out a live assessment of the sanitation challenges faced by school pupils, which formed the basis for tailored training and engagement sessions. For example, the team observed that school members were initially not concerned about littering the compound with used toilet paper or sanitary towels. Staff were encouraged to form a school health club to raise awareness of the implications of this, and encourage better-informed behaviours. Pupils were also taught how to wash their hands properly, and how often to wash themselves and their clothes, giving them the scientific background to fecal-oral routes to infection with common ailments such as diarrhea and dysentry.

The engagement process culminated in a commissioning ceremony for the sanitation blocks – a way of formally handing over the facilities to the local community and ensuring they feel responsible for their upkeep. This was attended by Bishop Patrick Tugume of North Kigenzi Diocese.

Read more about the impact of WATSAN’s projects

Supporters and trustees celebrate WATSAN’s 18th birthday over tea

Supporters and trustees celebrate WATSAN’s 18th birthday over tea

WATSAN’s trustees were delighted to welcome 30 of their valued supporters to afternoon tea, hosted by our Patron Bishop Andrew Watson at his residence in Guildford.

It was a perfect English spring day: glorious sunshine, flowers in full bloom and tea and cake aplenty! WATSAN trustees are extremely grateful to Bishop Andrew for sharing the beautiful gardens and marquee at Willow Grange for our tea party, which was the opportunity to put faces to names for both our trustees and some of our most loyal and longstanding supporters, and to celebrate 18 years since WATSAN was founded by Chair Ian Bensted MBE.

  • Bishop Andrew WATSAN with WATSAN's 18th birthday cake

On arrival guests enjoyed a quiz around the garden, where they learnt eye-opening facts about water and sanitation in Uganda (for example, women typically walk 2km per water collection trip, carrying 20kg of water). There was a water relay game on the lawn, which gave a momentary insight into the effort required to carry full jerrycans of water, followed by talks from trustees over tea.

This was the chance for supporters to get to know each of the trustees better, and hear about their work for WATSAN and personal motivations for being trustees. WATSAN’s Chair Ian Bensted said: “Without you all, supporters and trustees, WATSAN would be nothing. I am personally grateful to you all for your support and assistance over the years, and many others who are unable to be with us this afternoon.”

Ian paid tribute to them, to the staff team in Uganda led by Rev Eric Baingana, and to those who we have lost in the past few years, in particular WATSAN’s longstanding Treasurer Stephen Bullett, and generous donor Sir John Houghton, whose recent legacy has enabled us to fund a new project vehicle in Uganda.

Bishop Andrew Watson said: “My connection with WATSAN goes back even beyond its 18 years – as I met the former director Eric Kamuteera when he came to Ridley Hall in the 1980s, when I was completing my training there. I was therefore really keen to be part of the project when Ian and Ellie later invited me to be its Patron.

“I visited the project in 2014 and what really impressed me was the fact that as much energy goes into making sure the community owns the projects as into the engineering side of things. It’s not something I had considered before and really makes WATSAN’s work unique.”

Trustees shared the personal greetings sent to supporters from Bishops Patrick Tugume and Dan Zoreka in Uganda, who are responsible for the two dioceses in which the charity operates. These can be seen here.

Another highlight was a new film highlighting the success story of a gravity flow scheme at Ruheza, and the need and potential for a similar scheme at Kazuru. Kazuru is WATSAN’s next target project and the subject of our current fundraising.

This film was put together collaboratively between the staff team in Uganda (in particular Moses Kabarebe, who narrates, and Marius Katungika, who shot the clips for it) and WATSAN trustee Kate Parrinder (who edited everything together).

We then heard from two supporters, Martin Fosten and Neil Fairlamb, on what inspires them to be WATSAN donors. Key to this was the trustworthy stewardship of donor funds, thanks to close connections with the partners and team on the ground, as well as the demonstrable impact on the lives of people in the rural communities served.

Reverend James Hunt also shared his experiences as leader of a trip to Uganda with his church group in 2017, and his intention to organise another trip next year.

Trustees closed the event by sharing how supporters could help with our ongoing work: by increasing standing orders to assist with rises in the cost of living for the team on the ground; by taking part in this year’s walks for water; and by helping us find a new secretary to join the Board of Trustees. Bishop Andrew gave WATSAN a blessing before beautiful cakes made by Jenny Shirley were cut.

Thank you so much to everyone who came, it was such a pleasure to welcome you!

Local Walks for Water planned in Sussex and Kent in June

Local Walks for Water planned in Sussex and Kent in June

As we shared earlier in the year, following the success of our dispersed Walks for Water during the pandemic, we are encouraging our supporters to organise sponsored walks local to them to raise funds for WATSAN.

Two supporters have stepped up to the plate and are running walks this June. Participants from other parts of the country are most welcome to join these walks if you would like to meet other WATSAN supporters and enjoy a day out in a new area.

Amberley Walk for Water, Saturday 18th June from 9.30am

This is a 12-mile circuit in the South Downs National Park in West Sussex, taking in beautiful countryside, woodlands and fields, and the River Arun near Arundel (pictured). Details can be found in this leaflet. The walk leader is WATSAN trustee Graham Piper – contact him to join the walk at graham.piper@blueyonder.co.uk.

Faversham Walk for Water (“Up the Creek for WATSAN”!), Saturday 11th June from 10am

This walk is a mere 10.5 miles (or 25,000 steps), wending its way past the ancient buildings of old Faversham, along Faversham creek, out to the shoreline of the Swale and along the Saxon Way footpath to Whitstable via Seasalter. The walk is flat and most of it on the springing turf as you walk by the sea wall. Details can be found in this flyer. The walk leader is WATSAN supporter Martin Fosten – contact him to join the walk at martfosso@yahoo.co.uk.

We know both walk leaders would give anyone who would like to join the warmest of welcomes. Online sponsorship pages are easy to set up using our fundraising page on Stewardship.