The Rwebigwara Community needs our help! Please join us in raising funds for safe water access for over 600 people in this Ugandan village
Up to $10,000.00 will be matched dollar-for-dollar, so your impact doubles in this effort! Read about the people of Rwebigwara below, visit the link to donate, and thank you all!:
The 600 people of Rwebigwara are suffering from a lack of safe water.
The nearest water source is a borehole well at a nearby trading center, which sounds great, but the well yields only hard, salty water that is impossible to use for drinking, cooking, cleaning, or washing clothes. When people use the water to prepare matooke (bananas), it turns black. No matter how long you boil beans in the borehole’s water, they will never cook all the way through. And porridge will never thicken.
20-year-old farmer Lawrance Namara (shown in the below photo fetching water) explained: “The nearest borehole is in Rwebigwara Center, but I don’t use it because the water is salty. Even when you cook food with it, it does not get ready. It is so hard that you can’t use it for washing clothes.”
So the people have resorted to getting water wherever they can, which is usually a dam used for bathing and watering cattle (where Lawrance is in the above photo).
“We use dam water, which is not safe for drinking and cooking food because this dam is shared with animals,” Lawrance continued.
13-year-old Steven A. (in the photo below) dreads getting water, no matter where he goes to get it. “I fear to go to the dam because there was a man who fell in it and died.”
As Steven said, there was an unfortunate situation where a man fell into the dam and drowned. Authorities didn’t remove the body for a full three days, during which the community members still fetched water from the dam—because contaminated water is better than no water at all.
There is another borehole farther away, but it’s in a bustling town full of people all wanting to fetch water around the same times each day. This means that apart from the long journey there and back, water fetchers also must spend an indeterminate period of time waiting in line, sometimes jostling to keep their place.
“When we want water for drinking, I move up to Kyakagenyi, at which the borehole is far: about 2.5 kilometers (1.5 miles),” Lawrance said. “When you happen to go in the evening when the children are back from school and cane cutters are back from work, the queues are too long, so you waste a lot of time waiting for water.”
“When I go to the borehole, it is far, and I’m always bullied by cane cutters who use force and don’t want to [wait in] line,” Steven said.
Rwebigwara’s people are so often afflicted with waterborne diseases like typhoid, diarrhea, and skin rashes that visiting the nearby health center has become something of a routine, if a time-sucking and energy-wasting one.
“Ntooma Health Center is far, about five kilometers from Rwebigwara, and on reaching the facility itself, you find long line, so the whole day is wasted seeking treatment,” said 46-year-old John Kyalisiima, who is chairperson of the region’s Self Help Group. “Since you can’t go to [your] garden when you’re sick, the work comes to a standstill up to when the person is well. This has greatly affected [our] production since most people are farmers and [they have] increased expenditure on treatment, thus [we have] reduced development.”
With a convenient source of safe water, so many of Rwebigwara’s problems will ease or disappear.Here’s what we’re going to do about it: New Borehole
This new borehole is an exciting opportunity for this community! We work with the community to determine the best possible sites for this well.
We conducted a hydrogeological survey and the results indicated the water table is an ideal candidate for a borehole well. Due to a borehole well’s unique ability to tap into a safe, year-round water column, it will be poised to serve all of the water needs for this community, even through the dry months.
Community members will help collect the needed construction materials such as sand, rocks, and water for mixing cement. They will also provide housing and meals for the work team, in addition to providing local laborers. We will complement their materials by providing an expert team of artisans and drilling professionals, tools, hardware, and the hand-pump. Once finished, water from the well will then be used by community members for drinking, handwashing, cooking, cleaning, and much more.Training
Training’s main objectives are the use of latrines and observing proper hygiene practices since these goals are inherently connected to the provision of clean water. Open defecation, water storage in unclean containers and the absence of hand-washing are all possible contaminants of a household water supply. Each participating village must achieve Open Defecation Free status (defined by one latrine per household) prior to the pump installation for this borehole well.
This social program includes the assignment of one Community Development Officer (CDO) to each village. The CDO encourages each household to build an ideal homestead that includes: a latrine, a handwashing facility, a separate structure for animals, a rubbish pit and a drying rack for dishes.
We also implement the Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) approach with each of our village partners. This aims to improve the sanitation and hygiene practices and behaviors of a village. During these sessions, village leaders naturally emerge and push the community to realize that the current practices of individual households – particularly the practice of open defecation – are not only unhealthy, but affect the entire village. CLTS facilitates a process in which community members realize the negative consequences of their current water, sanitation and hygiene behaviors and are inspired to take action. Group interactions are frequent motivators for individual households to build latrines, use them, and demand that other households do the same.Improved Sanitation
The aim is that all households own an improved latrine. Many households do not use a latrine but use the bush. Due to open defecation, feces are spread all over the village. This leads to waterborne diseases and contamination of groundwater and surface water. Our aim is that the community is able to live a healthy life free of preventable diseases. We endeavor that at the end of our presence in the community, people will have both access to sustainable, clean water and access to sanitation. We have now organized families to form digging groups for latrine construction, and empowered them with tools to use.