We were delighted to see so many people at our most recent webinar, which focused on the potential of a new project at Bwanga Hill, and was the chance for supporters to share their plans for a series of virtual Walks for Water over the summer.
At the webinar testimonials from the community in Bwanga Hill were shared. This is WATSAN’s next target project and will rejuvenate crumbling water facilities at a High School of 650 students and the surrounding church and community. This was compared to a completed project at Kihihi Hill – a similar location where school students now have a water supply within the school and don’t have to miss lessons walking back and forth to distant, polluted sources. The full video outlining the potential of this project has now been published.
Plans were outlined for 12 different sponsored walks to take place in the UK during June, with walk leaders in rural and urban locations in Somerset, Kent, London, Leicester, Birmingham and Oxfordshire mobilising local friends and contacts to raise money for WATSAN. Full details of all the available walks, which will be risk assessed in a consistent way for both Covid and general safety, will be shared shortly.
We were lucky to be joined live from Uganda by Field Director Rev Eric Baingana, and Kinkiizi Link Moses Kabarebe.
Thanks to the WATSAN staff team we have been able to collect testimonials from the schools and communities in desperate need of our next project.
Staff members Marius Katunguka and Moses Kabarebe have collected new video that brings to life both the dire need for our planned project in Bwanga Hill, and some inspiration from a similar, completed project in Kihihi Hill. The new video can be seen below.
We hope that those taking part in our dispersed Walk for Waterin June will be able to use this video to encourage their friends, relatives and colleagues to sponsor them to walk and raise money for the Bwanga project.
Following the success of our first webinar in November, we will be holding another on Saturday 20th March from 3.00 to 4.00pm. It will be the chance to hear another update from the team in Uganda, in particular about the need for our target project in Bwanga Hill, and the plans in place to help the community there to lift itself out of poverty.
This live online session will be held on Zoom with WATSAN’s UK trustees, where we will explain why we are targeting Bwanga with a new water, sanitation and health education project. We have collected testimonials from the community we hope to serve with the project, and the session will bring the nuts and bolts of our work to life.
Alongside the present difficult conditions at Bwanga, we will share the potential positive outcomes by comparing it with a similar but completed project at Kihihi Hill. The webinar is a chance to see and discuss the real impact of WATSAN’s work, all of which is enabled by the generosity of our supporters.
We will also share more details of our planned series of 11 dispersed socially distanced Walks for Water in June. Look out for one near you!
We hope this short event will be a moment of solidarity and positivity as we plough on through the final weeks of lockdown.
Joyce and Lydia might be at opposite ends of the age spectrum, but they have passionate support for WATSAN in common.
Joyce Currie at 95 plus is probably our oldest supporter. Still living independently in her bungalow on the west Wales coast, Joyce regularly swam in the Atlantic until she was 90.
Recently featured on the front page of her local paper, Joyce has campaigned tirelessly to restore access for pushchairs and wheelchair users to the extensive sandy beach at Fairbourne.
Passionate about Fairtrade, Joyce has run a stall at her local church, St Cynon’s, for many years, and helped introduce members to WATSAN, which they now support.
A tame blackbird keeps her company, hopping up to the French windows for the feast of currants Joyce keeps for him! Despite her declining health, Joyce sends a generous cheque for WATSAN every few months. She says, “I’m so glad to be able to help in a small way.”
At the other end of the age spectrum, Gap Year student Lydia Hunt has had a rough ride this year. Along with her cohort she was very disappointed not to be able to take her A-Levels due to the Covid lockdown. However she achieved excellent assessments and hopes to study medicine from next autumn.
Lydia writes, “I think many of us in the lockdown feel rather hopeless. What can I do to help those in need? How can I make a difference? The penniless Gap Year student that I am…? However, for me painting has always been a joy; there is nothing more satisfying and nothing more peaceful. It’s a delight for me to paint portraits of people, and sometimes their pets! The Lord has put on my heart the people of Uganda. I have little money to give, but friends have commissioned me to paint for them, so I have been able to give the proceeds to WATSAN.”
At the end of last year we appealed to our donors to help us support the staff team through the challenges posed by COVID-19. We received a fabulous response enabling us to set up a hardship fund, and begin the project at Bwanga Hill. An increase in standing orders gives us greater stability.
Firstly, we are delighted to report that we have since raised further funds towards our target project at Bwanga Hill, meaning that the first phase can start in Spring 2021. This brings crucial resources to a very deprived community, and also keeps WATSAN’s staff in employment. In the meantime, the team has carried out baseline surveys for two new water sources, which will inform future grant-funding applications by the team in the UK; reconstructed a low-yield spring in Kisharara, serving 540 people with a refreshed and clean water supply; and advocated widely for safety measures communities can take to protect against COVID-19. A full report from the final quarter of 2020 can be found here.
Secondly, we have already seen our generous community of donors initiate or boost their standing orders to WATSAN so that we have achieved 50% of the additional £500 per month we were looking for towards our core costs and hardship fund. This means that, for example, we were able to give staff their Christmas bonus in December (pictured above). Eric reports: “The shared items among others included maize flour, rice, chicken and soap which staff members took with them to their respective families. This made a great relief and enjoyment to our families as far as Christmas related ceremony at homes was concerned.”
If you are able to help us raise a further £250 monthly, or indeed contribute towards the remaining phases of Bwanga Hill, please visit our donation page.