Project Status

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Western Uganda WaSH Program

Impact: 300 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Feb 2024

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 07/09/2024

Project Features

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Community Profile

The 500 people of Rwebigwara Kyakagenyi have two options for water, and neither is pleasant.

The closest is a local dam that is shared with grazing cattle, who defecate in and around the water as they drink. This water is a murky brown with debris and vegetation floating inside. People who drink the water untreated, especially children, suffer from typhoid, diarrhea, and skin rashes.

"We have challenges with water," said 12-year-old Isaac K (shown above). "We fetch water from the dam, and this is a very dangerous area because if one falls in that dam, he or she cannot survive. The water is also dirty because we share it with animals. We cannot drink water from the dam because I fear to get sick."

One would think that anyone would choose the community members' other option, which is a protected borehole well in another community. However, this borehole is so far away that it would be nearly impossible for Rwebigwara's people to collect water there every day. The nearest homes to the well are 1.5 kilometers away, while the farthest are a little over 2.5 kilometers away—a grueling trip lasting one to two hours.

Because the water sources in this area are so few, when people arrive at the distant borehole, they are often met with others already waiting to fill their jerrycans. This wait time extends the water-fetching chore time even longer.

It's no wonder that people only end up collecting enough water for the most basic purposes.

"I am always affected by the water scarcity, especially during the dry season," said 18-year-old Shubrah Naigaga (shown above at the dam).

"There are days I don't even mop the house because the little water available is reserved for cooking and washing dishes. I can't use [the] dam water for cooking food, therefore, I travel a long distance to get safe drinking water. When I have no bicycle, I have to carry the water on my head, which is so tiresome."

“Households with travel times greater than 30 minutes have been shown to collect progressively less water. Limited water availability may also reduce the amount of water that is used for hygiene in the household.” (The Relationship between Distance to Water Source and Moderate-to-Severe Diarrhea in the Global Enterics Multi-Center Study in Kenya, 2008–2011) - American Journal of Tropical Science and Medicine

"When we want drinking water, we get it from the next village called Katakungirwa and the distance is very far," said Isaac. "So we end up wasting a lot of time, yet we [have] other activities to do like washing dishes [and] cooking food, so all these activities are delayed because of the scarcity of water."

A closer water source will free up so much time for Rwebigwara's people and improve their health.

Note: Our proposed water point can only serve 300 people per day. We are working with the community to identify other water solutions that will ensure all 500 people in the community have access to safe and reliable drinking water.

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

February, 2024: Rwebigwara Community 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 make a development 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.

"I will no longer have to go to school late as compared to before, and I also have conflicts with my parents in the evening due to delays caused by congestion from other distant water points. I plan to improve the time I get to school, especially in the mornings, and I also plan to help my parents collect water for their animals since the borehole is now nearer to our home," said 12-year-old Mercy K.

Mercy standing near the new well.

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, which proves that the water table belowground is at a sustainable level 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!

Fred pumping water at the new well.

Farmer Fred Kusemerewa, 48, said, "I am no longer going to collect water from the dam where we used to share with animals, and the time I would spend moving around in search of drinking water will be used to concentrate on more productive ideas as compared to before. I plan to join [the] saving scheme (part of the training) that will help me boost my economic status and also improve the sanitation and hygiene conditions of my household since we now have easy access to clean and safe water."


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 through our upcoming projects to see which community you can help next!

Thank you for making all of this possible!

December, 2023: Rwebigwara Community New 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!


Project Underwriter - SJR
Rock Creek Presbyterian Church
Saint Theresa Parish and School
Sina's Campaign for Water

And 2 other fundraising page(s)
87 individual donor(s)