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

New look and contact details for WATSAN

New look and contact details for WATSAN

There’s a new way to contact all of the trustees and to find us online…

WATSAN leaflet front cover

The eagle-eyed amongst our supporters will have noticed that WATSAN has a refreshed logo – something of an evolution rather than a revolution, bringing our visual identity up to date whilst, we hope, retaining the spirit of the classic logo, which was designed by our friends in Uganda.

We wanted to make sure everyone was also aware that we have now retired our previous website address (nkkdwatsan-uganda.com, which is no longer available) in favour of the much simpler watsanuganda.org. Additionally and most importantly, you can now contact the whole trustee team at hello@watsanuganda.org.

We have also produced a new information leaflet about what WATSAN does and our impact, which can be found here. If our supporters would like printed copies of these for their own fundraising or events, please do let us know!

Dispersed walks for water raise over £28k for Bwanga Hill!

Dispersed walks for water raise over £28k for Bwanga Hill!

Due to COVID restrictions, 15 different local walks were held across England, bringing in a record number of participants and raising £28,212 for WATSAN.

Walks of all kinds across many different terrains took place up and down the country throughout June 2021, and photos from each walk can be found here. Participants ranged from families of two or three people completing their own walks, to larger groups of up to 30 walking together and supported with refreshments along the way. The map shows the locations of the walks!

Our first walker and youngest participant was Amber Bushell (pictured), aged just 7, who completed her accompanied ascent of Coniston Old Man (2633 ft.) to mark her birthday. All the walkers completed personal challenges, whatever the length of their walk, to remember the difficulties that men, women and children face each day in Uganda on their walks to collect water.

On the evening of 19th June, we held a short celebration of all the walks on Zoom, after many walkers had completed their challenge that day. It was a chance to come together to hear how the walks had gone, discover more about the target project at Bwanga, and find out roughly how much we had raised collectively. A recording of this event can be found below.

Well done everyone, particularly to the hard-working organisers of each event, and our thanks to each and every walker and donor, great and small, for such an amazing result! Funds will be directed towards WATSAN’s project at Bwanga Hill, which will now proceed, and £10,000 has already been sent out to Uganda. More will follow in October. The educational components are likely to be delayed by the ongoing Covid-19 lockdown there, which we expect to last at least until September.

A further sum of £2,300 has been sent during the third quarter of the year to cover ‘furlough’ payments to the software team, who cannot work at present as no more than six people are allowed to gather together; safety measures for the team such as hand sanitiser and face masks; and support for those in the team suffering from Covid, or isolating as a result of contact with the disease. Field Director Eric Baingana tells us that prices have risen astronomically since the pandemic took a hold, not only for basic medicines such as paracetamol but also for fruit and vegetables and other necessities.

The Ugandan team is thrilled with the results of the various walks and send their heartfelt thanks to the walk organisers and to each and every participant.

Find out more about Bwanga

Bishop Benon Magezi is lost to Covid-19

Bishop Benon Magezi is lost to Covid-19

It is with great sadness that we received news from Bishop Dan Zoreka late on June 15th of the death that evening in Kampala of Bishop Benon Magezi of North Kigezi Diocese, at the age of 60. Bishop Benon’s battle with Covid-19 had begun two weeks earlier when he was admitted to hospital in Mbarara.

He was consecrated as Bishop in January 2017 and is the second good friend of WATSAN lost to the pandemic, following the death last year in the UK of Sir John Houghton.

Prior to being installed as Bishop of North Kigezi in January 2017, Benon had been Treasurer of North Kigezi Diocese. He served for many years on the Ugandan WATSAN Management Committee. Members of the St Peter’s Bishops Waltham tour of the project in August 2017 will remember him at the inauguration of the Rumbugu Primary School project (pictured).

Each of the WATSAN projects, small and large, completed in his Diocese since then, has been graced with his presence at their inauguration ceremonies. In 2018 he led the first Ugandan Walk for Water, which raised over £4,000 for our Bwambara community project. In 2019 he visited the UK with his wife Gladys and confirmed his ongoing support and enthusiasm for WATSAN.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Gladys and their five children, our friends and colleagues in the WATSAN team, and across the Diocese at large, devastated by this sudden tragic loss of their leader. The UK Trustees give thanks to God for Bishop Benon’s faithful leadership in Rukungiri, where the WATSAN team is based, and for his friendship and support over many years, culminating in his four years as Bishop of North Kigezi.

Twelve local Walks for Water to take place during June 2021

Twelve local Walks for Water to take place during June 2021

For our 2021 sponsored event, because of the uncertainties associated with the Covid-19 pandemic, we are offering a series of dispersed local walks of between 12 and 20 miles, at 12 venues across the country. Local teams will fundraise towards our water and sanitation project at Bwanga Hill.

Bwanga Hill consists of a community of 876 people, mainly pupils and staff of the secondary school, and a small kindergarten. In common with many schools in Uganda, the present water supply is inadequate and inaccessible, and sanitation facilities are likewise poorly constructed and overloaded. The new scheme will provide new large tanks, repair of the borehole and the spring plus new latrines and health and hygiene education, and sanitation improvements for pupils and the wider community.

We need £25,000 to complete this project, which has already commenced with repair of the local community spring. To achieve this, WATSAN volunteers are coordinating a series of dispersed Walks for Water – sponsored events that will see up to 30 people per event walk between 12 and 20 miles. The full list of walks is as follows:

LocationDateLengthWalk leader
South Downs, West
Pilgrim ways via Beacon Hill, Old Winchester Hill and Cheese Foot Head
19th and 26th June12.5 or 25 milesJames Hunt: jameshunt1966@gmail.com
Quantocks
Quantock Lodge or Great Wood car park to Merridge then up to Will’s Neck and back
19th June11 milesJulie Bullett:
sandjbullett@gmail.com
Thames Path, East
Putney Bridge to Teddington Lock
19th June 12.5 milesMartin Fosten:
martfosso@yahoo.co.uk
South Downs, East
Amberley via Bignor Hill along the South Downs Way and Monarch’s Way
26th June 12 milesGraham Piper:
graham.piper@blueyonder.co.uk
Cotswolds
TBC
19th June TBCAndrew Maclean: junglemacleans@gmail.com
Thames Path, West
Kingston Bagpuize to Farmoor Reservoir, returning via Appleton and Northmoor Lock
19th June 18.5 milesIan Bensted: bensted@easynet.co.uk
Charnwood Hills
Bardon Hill (the highest point in Leicestershire), Beacon Hill, with panoramic views and Bradgate Park
19th June 17 milesAndrew Starr: leicstarr@gmail.com
National Forest
South of Derby, figure of eight centred on Ticknall, via Foremark Reservoir
12th June16 milesMichael Vick: f.andm.vick@gmail.com
Cleveland Way
A circular walk from Sutton Bank Visitor Centre via Gormire Lake and Boltby to High Paradise Farm cafe, and back along the Cleveland Way. 
19th. June10 milesAndrew Bailey: 58abailey@googlemail.com
Birmingham Canals
Olton, across SE Birmingham, taking in the canals and sights of central Birmingham, Grand Union canal
12th June16 milesAli Fergusson: alijfergusson@gmail.com
Winsley, Wiltshire
Winsley vis Monkton Farleigh to the north and the Kennett and Avon Canal and Westwood to the south
19th June 20 milesJonny & Ivana Bensted:
jmbensted@gmail.com
Ham Hill, Somerset
A circular walk on Ham Hill, with several access points from the various villages – with picnic at the hill top or one of our many excellent pubs
12th June TBCAnnie Gurner: revgurner@btinternet.com

We hope that many of our supporters will join one or other of these walks, and help to raise money through sponsorship (details below) for Bwanga Hill. Anyone wishing to join a walk local to them can contact the walk leader directly and request details of the meeting point and route.

Walk leaders are responsible for planning the route (including regular breaks), risk assessing the event, providing a first aider and communicating with walkers. You take part in the event at your own risk.

We will have a celebratory event on Zoom for all walkers on Saturday 19th June at 8pm. Your walk leader can send you the details once you sign up for your walk!

Sponsorship

You can collect funds via our sponsorsheet sheet, or by creating an online fundraising page using our online donation platform Stewardship. Our Treasurer Ali Fergusson has set out step-by-step instructions for the latter to help you!

Alternatively, you can ask your sponsors to donate directly to our dedicated Bwanga donation page.

The more sponsors you get, the closer we will be to raising our target of £25,000 for Bwanga. Use the video above to persuade your friends, family and colleagues to donate.

People in rural Uganda walk miles every day to collect water from distant, polluted water sources. Let’s stand with them and walk our paths for their water.