Thanks to funds brought in during 2019 and early 2020, it has been possible to complete work on two substantial projects this Spring, which will give communities crucial access to improved sanitation during the pandemic.
The two projects have been the subject of many months of fundraising in both the UK and Uganda, and between them reach 3,400 people.
Buhunga gravity flow scheme
Thanks to WATSAN’s longstanding partnership with Tearfund, it was possible to complete a large-scale project at Buhunga, where more than 60% of the population were previously drawing water from unprotected springs, ponds and streams. The project was completed in two phases and consists of 11,375 metres of pipeline, starting from a protected spring and flowing downhill to nine tapstands serving over 2,000 people with first-time improved water supply, integrated with sanitation facilities and health and hygiene education. The slideshow below brings the project to life.
The project included several innovations by the WATSAN team: in particular clothes washing stations for local communities that will help families with personal hygiene during COVID-19. Notably, it will also protect girls and women from the dangers of having to fetch water from isolated locations where their safety can be compromised. Additionally, a series of pipeline markers were also established so that any future excavations, such as for new roads, would not interfere with the water source; and a solar-powered pump was installed enabling water to be supplied at higher altitudes.
The team adapted their usual health and hygiene education to incoporate COVID-specific guidance, including mask-wearing, social distancing and use of hand sanitiser.
A commissioning ceremony was held on 22nd September 2020, with speeches from the local bishops and testimonials from project beneficiaries. Local resident Catherine Bishandiko said: “Before we were provided this water, I used to fetch water for domestic use 1km away from my home in the stream. It was dirty and tiring to collect it. These days I find it very easy to collect water I need from this tap. Because of the poor water we used to have in the past, we used to suffer from stomach diseases like diarrhea, but these days such diseases fled from us. Thank you our Bishop Magezi and the visiting Bishop for loving us and giving us this good water. Tell your friends who have funded this project that we thank them and they visit us we shall show our hospitality.”
Kihihi Hill rainwater harvesting and sanitation improvement
This project was funded thanks to the 2019 Walk for Water in the Quantock Hills, our pitch to The Funding Network London in January, and over £4,000 raised by our partners in Uganda from local contributions.
The project addresses water supply and sanitation needs at Kihihi High School, a small nursery school and a church. Children at the school were generally drawing water from two small rainwater catchment tanks or from the very intermittent gravity supply, but often had to walk one kilometre to a town spring.
The sanitation facilities at the school were pitifully inadequate, with a ratio of 1 latrine stance to 64 girls and 1 to 49 for boys.
The WATSAN project included education and training of the pupils, staff and community in a wide range of health and personal hygiene related topics, together with the improvement of sanitation facilities, provision of hand washing facilities, and promotion of bath shelters, dish drying racks and tippy taps across the community. Hardware constructed included three 30 cu.m. rainwater harvesting tanks; three five-stance lined pit latrines with emptying facilities.
Work was completed in Spring 2020, with an official commissioning ceremony held on 30th June 2020. At the ceremony, the Rt. Rev Dan Zoreka – Bishop, Diocese of Kinkiizi urged beneficiaries take care of the infrastructure and ensure that they have a maintenance/sustainability plan for the whole project so that it lasts longer. Quoting Isaiah 48:21, Genesis 1:2, John 10:10, the bishop said that water is old as God’s creation. It is a formal symbol of creation and without it nothing exists whether humans, animals or all of nature.