Upon completion of the project, our partner in the field reports...
Social life, gender equality, and health are all foundational to community development and are all immediately impacted by access to water and with good hygiene and sanitation. A community’s water supply and sanitation are inextricably linked as part of a broader development process, because without water and sanitation, a community has few options other than to remain in a phase of poverty and underdevelopment. For 94 families living in Rwozi village in the Nyabushozi WPA, this phase of underdevelopment was their daily reality. Not only was safe water not an option, but also unsafe hygiene and sanitation practices, including open defecation, had deepened their need for an improved water point and hygiene and sanitation intervention. Living Water Uganda successfully installed an India Mark II hand pump fitted on top of a deep borehole that will reach approximately 300 beneficiaries with safe drinking water. During the construction of the improved water point, the community established a 10-person Water User Committee (WUC) that will help make specific commitments for planning, managing, and monitoring water access in their community. The WUC will also maintain the water facility through participation in planning and contribution to an O&M fund. Dictated by the type and socio- economic status of this pastoral community, periodical cash contribution of one thousand five hundred shillings (1500UGX/$0.6USD) monthly was agreed on with community water end users.
To ensure safe water continues to be accessible in Rwozi village, Living Water Uganda will continue to support the community in the following ways:
• Living Water Uganda will continue providing technical backstopping support for the community management structures for two years to equip them with necessary skills to adequately manage the O&M, relationships, and draw admiration from the water end users to continue contributing towards O&M.
• Living Water will continue to follow-up with the community through the Community Engagement team that will institute a checks and balance system to ensure transparency and accountability of O&M funds.
The local government of Kiruhura District will also help support the community in the following ways:
• The government of Kiruhura District will remain engaged by the Living Water Uganda team and will help provide technical back up and financial support to the Sub-County staff to monitor operations of the community water governance structures in their constituency.
• They will be responsible for planning and co-financing training of Hand Pump Mechanics (HPMs), plumbers and mansion.
• They will work in close collaboration with Living Water Uganda to conduct periodic water quality analysis to monitor the physical, chemical and bacteriological characteristics of the water sample.
While securing safe drinking water in a thirsty community is foundational to community development, safe water without the adoption of basic hygiene and sanitation behaviors is useless. To ensure families in Rwozi village had true, long-term access to safe drinking water and had the knowledge to keep their water safe, the Living Water Uganda team shared principle hygiene and sanitation lessons with 67 people. In Rwozi community, members were initially engaged using an UMOJA approach, which is a hygiene and sanitation promotion strategy that incorporates strengths of Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) and Participatory Hygiene Sanitation Transformation (PHAST) and clustering system. These community members were encouraged to take collective actions to eliminate open defecation practices and adopt positive hygiene and sanitation behaviors. Altogether, 67 people (25 men and 42 women) attended the hygiene and sanitation lessons and from this group, 8 natural leaders emerged and agreed to spearhead the implementation of community action plans. A joint sanitation verification exercise was conducted in the community to assess the extent of community superiority along the sanitation ladder. The verification team, consisting of local government structures, community health promotion group and Living Water Nyabushozi WPA team, observed gradual improvement in hygiene and sanitation. Additionally, the program will aim towards behavior change communication (BCC) focusing on community adoption of hand-washing stations, water storage and transportation, and the construction and use of latrines.
Community Member Interview
"I thank God for this safe, clean drinking water," shared 25-year-old community member and carpenter, Mugizi. "Our previous water source was dirty and used by both people and livestock. This water will save us from disease."