Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Western Uganda WaSH Program

Impact: 250 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Sep 2023

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 03/12/2024

Project Features

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Community Profile

Ever since a man drowned in their dam, the 250 people of Rwebigwara won't send their children to fetch water there alone, and for good reason. But they don't have a reasonable alternative water source, so they still collect the water where the man's body floated for three days.

11-year-old Davis T. (shown below) is now afraid to fetch water from the dam. "[The dam is] a dangerous area because we stand high risks of falling in, and if someone falls in, he/she cannot survive because it is very wide and deep," he said.

"The area where we pass to reach the water point is very busy, so we always find snakes on their way to and from the water point, hence creating fear in us. This makes us fail to go to the water point, [and] hence not wash my uniforms sometimes. We go to school dirty, and when this happens, we are always sent back home or beaten by the teachers."

This unfortunate situation begs the question: why is this dam still a popular water source depended upon by many hundreds of people in the surrounding communities? After all, the water is opaque with dirt. The water is continually shared with wildlife and domestic animals, with cow dung splattered along its edges.

But it's still used by many for all their household purposes—including drinking—because the only other choice for water nearby is a crowded community borehole several kilometers away. While this well always yields water, the product is too salty to be really useful for drinking, cooking, bathing, or laundry without a lot of work.

"I collect water from the dam that is shared with the animals," said Grace Atugonza, a 36-year-old housewife and mother of four (shown below starting her journey home from the dam). "The borehole where I would fetch water is [so] salty that it cannot even be used for cooking food because [the food] can't get ready even if you cook it the whole day."

Unsurprisingly, drinking this foul, odorous water has caused health issues.

"I was diagnosed with typhoid last week at Ntooma Health Center 11," Grace said. "[With it] being a government hospital, I was referred to a private clinic to buy medicine. I ended up spending 50,000 USh (Ugandan shillings) for medication, and I just borrowed it from a neighbor, and [I am] now struggling to pay it back. I believe all these issues will be resolved when the proposed borehole is put in place."

Grace's family is close to the dam, so she prefers fetching water there. But Davis's family refuses to use the dam's water for drinking, so he and his family all travel the several-kilometer path to fetch water from the borehole once a week.

"We only collect drinking water on Saturday because the borehole is very far [away]," Davis explained. "This makes us very busy over the weekend, hence affecting our work at home like washing clothes and uniforms because we consume a lot of time. The weekend is for resting and doing school revisions, but we don't get time to rest because we have to collect drinking water."

A new, safe borehole nearer to Rwebigwara will ease the burdens on these community members. With better health, they can yield better crops to better repay their debts. With more time, they will have opportunities to rest, study, and play.

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’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.

Project Updates

September, 2023: Rwebigwara Community 2 Well Complete!

A new borehole well drilled in Rwebigwara Community, Uganda, is already providing community members with clean, safe water! Additionally, we hosted a training where community members worked together to develop an action plan for their area. As a result, families are working to build new sanitation and hygiene facilities, tools, and habits that will help improve their living standards and enable a healthier life.

Farmer Amos Maraja, 62, said, "Access to reliable and safe water from this water point will help reduce issues of water-related diseases as a result of taking dirty water from the dam, which is shared with animals. It will also enable [me to] save money which [I] used to spend on treatment due to drinking dirty water."

Amos collecting water.

"I plan to start up a nursery bed and concentrate more on kitchen [and] backyard gardening, especially during dry seasons, to enable me [to] raise some money to take care of my grandchildren," he continued.

New Borehole

We worked with the community to determine the best possible site to drill this new well. We confirmed the site's eligibility by conducting a hydrogeological survey, proving that the water table below ground is sustainable before drilling begins.

Several households volunteered to host our team of drilling technicians, giving them a place to sleep and food to eat throughout their work. Many community members also came to the work site each day to watch the drilling and see the well come to life.

When it came time to build the cement well pad, community members found fine sand and water to mix the cement. After the cement platform dried, we installed a stainless steel Consallen pump, which is now flowing with clean, safe water!

Christine M. shared," I will no longer have to walk longer distances to access clean water since it's now nearer to our home, and I will have enough water to do my domestic activities on time compared to before."

Christine M. (red dress) collecting water.

"Since my [father] is a peasant farmer, I plan to help him collect water for spraying our garden so that we are able to realize better yields, after which they can sell to help raise money for my fees," she concluded.

The Rwebigwara Community now has the opportunity to collect safe water nearer their homes, giving them time to focus on school and life-improving activities.


The self-help group associated with the project was set up and began training in advance of selecting this project.

The first training session focused on financial planning. We mobilized the community through a series of meetings that sensitized them on the importance and purpose of saving. This included meetings dedicated to creating a community profile, where participants map the physical environment and stakeholders in their own community. We also ran a participatory vulnerability capacity assessment exercise. In this session, community members mapped out their shared risks and opportunities, including the water point breaking down.

Participants learning. This is a representative photo from a similar Self-Help Group training in Uganda.

Next, we scheduled the savings group training date with the community. We planned for a one-day training to form the savings group and discuss the best practices for maintaining and managing it.

We worked with the community to establish a Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA) and a water user committee. The savings group set up a fund to provide small loans to each other and another fund they will use to pay for any repairs to the well if an issue arises. The group also agreed on a social fund that will provide grants to fellow group members and help them with funeral expenses or catastrophes such as fire damage. Our teams will provide follow-up training to support putting the savings group into practice while also offering continuous coaching in records management.

Participant engagement is key. This is a representative photo from a similar Self-Help Group training in Uganda.

Additional training sessions will happen in the near future focused on hygiene and sanitation at the personal, household, community, and environmental levels. In collaboration with the community facilitator and local leaders, we will train households on critical hygiene and sanitation facilities to build. These include latrines, dish racks, refuse pits, handwashing facilities, and bathing shelters. Our teams monitor these facilities' construction while helping the community learn how to best use and care for them.

Finally, we will lead an additional training for local artisans to teach them how to fabricate and sell locally used and accepted sanitation products that allow for more hygienic and accessible latrines.

As with the financial training, we will continue supporting the community in their sanitation and hygiene progress through monitoring visits. In addition, we will offer follow-up assistance and refresher training to ensure community members follow through in building their new facilities and developing new habits.


This project required a substantial collaboration between our staff, our in-country teams, and the community members. When an issue arises concerning the well, the group members are equipped with the necessary skills to rectify the problem and ensure the water point works appropriately. However, if the issue is beyond their capabilities, they can contact their local field officers to assist them.

Also, we will continue to offer them unmatchable support as a part of our monitoring and maintenance program. We walk with each community, problem-solving together when they face challenges with functionality, seasonality, or water quality. Together, all these components help us strive for enduring access to reliable, clean, and safe water for this community.
With your contribution, one more piece has been added to a large puzzle of water projects. In Kenya, Uganda, and Sierra Leone, we're working toward complete coverage. That means reliable, maintained water sources within a 30-minute round trip for each community, household, school, and health center. With this in mind, search our upcoming projects to see which community you can help next!

Thank you for making all of this possible!

July, 2023: Rwebigwara Community 2 Well Underway!

The lack of adequate water in Rwebigwara Community costs people time, energy, and health every single day. Clean water scarcity contributes to community instability and diminishes individuals’ personal progress.

But thanks to your recent generosity, things will soon improve here. We are now working to install a reliable water point and improve hygiene standards. We look forward to sharing inspiring news in the near future!

Project Photos

Project Type

Abundant water is often right under our feet! Beneath the Earth’s surface, rivers called aquifers flow through layers of sediment and rock, providing a constant supply of safe water. For borehole wells, we drill deep into the earth, allowing us to access this water which is naturally filtered and protected from sources of contamination at the surface level. First, we decide where to drill by surveying the area and determining where aquifers are likely to sit. To reach the underground water, our drill rigs plunge through meters (sometimes even hundreds of meters!) of soil, silt, rock, and more. Once the drill finds water, we build a well platform and attach a hand pump. If all goes as planned, the community is left with a safe, closed water source providing around five gallons of water per minute! Learn more here!


Fox Valley Church of Christ
Data Abstract Solutions, Inc.
Vibank Regional School
North Dunedin Baptist Church
Miramonte Christian School 8th Grade Community Service Project
Thrivent, Yourcause, LLC
118 individual donor(s)