Upon completion of the project, our partner in the field reports...
Abandoned by the world and seemingly by God, living in a community with unsafe water and unrecognized, unsafe hygiene practices, the suffering that existed for 44 families was immeasurable. Walking several kilometers daily, searching for water, and forced to choose between dehydration and disease were their only options. Community leaders desperate for change, sought help from the Living Water Uganda team. Living Water responded!
Living Water Uganda entered Akabereera village after reviewing their written application letter, requesting help. The team and community signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with 37 people (20 men and 17 women). Upon the team’s initial arrival in Western Kiruhura, the team conducted a baseline survey and discovered that 17% of households in the area draw water from protected sources, leaving the remaining 83% to suffer for safe water. Living Water Uganda is currently working in the area to invest in 202 boreholes to help overcomethe overwhelming water needs! Akabereera Village is but one of many villages that will be served in the year 2014 with safe drinking water and life-saving lessons on hygiene and sanitation!
Though the local churches supported the team’s construction work, they focused on working with the Living Water Uganda team to share the gospel of Jesus Christ – who alone satisfies the deepest thirst. Living Water Uganda established a partnership with the Akabereere Pentecostal Church and will continue to focus on fruitful proclamation – teaching the people the gospel and providing a living demonstration of being a part of God’s kingdom. The team will support the church and help provide them with evangelical tools necessary to meet the community’s spiritual, social, physical and material needs. The church will be empowered to respond to needs in the community and mobilize the community to respond to its own needs. Living Water will continue to train church leaders in orality and thematic Bible studies to empower them to engage in total holistic development.
During the well construction, the community set up a Community Based Maintenance System that is responsible for management and maintenance of the improved water facility and will plan and oversee operation and maintenance by collecting a monthly tariff of 1000 Ugandan Shillings ($0.40 USD). The 10-person (5 men and 5 women) Water User Committee will be lead by a community member, Mr. Nathan, who will serve as the source caretaker and will manage the administration of the water point with a goal of ensuring safe drinking water flows for this generation and the next!
In addition to day to day well management, Mr. Nathan will carry out the following roles:
- Organize the community for orderly water use
- Maintain an accurate list of water users
- Clean the surrounding facility areas
- Undertake minor repairs
- Collect O&M fees
The Living Water Uganda team will carry out the following roles:
- Train the water source caretaker in preventative maintenance
- Provide technical back-up support for the WUC for the next two years
- Mobilize and train up trainers and community leaders to follow-up and monitor the water facility
- Monitor functionality of the water source and provide community water governance
- Equip the WUC with necessary skills to adequately manage and O&M, relationships and draw admiration from the water end users contributing to O&M
- Institute check and balance systems to ensure transparency and accountability of O&M funds
The local district government will carry out the following roles:
- Provide technical back up and financial support to the sub-Country to monitor operations of the WUC in their constituency
- Responsible for planning and co-financing training of Hand Pump Mechanics (HPMs), plumbers and masons
- Work in close collaboration with Living Water Uganda to conduct periodic water quality analysis to monitor the physical, chemical and bacteriological characteristics of water samples
During the hygiene education, the Living Water team informed the community of health risks and implications associated with consuming unsafe drinking water and with unsafe hygiene practices. The Living Water Uganda team worked with 32 people (11 menand 21 women) to help provide understanding and to promote strategies to discourage unsafe hygiene and sanitation behaviors. The Living Water team integrated a hygiene and sanitation approach that incorporates Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) and Participatory Hygiene and Sanitation Transformation (PHAST) to help encourage the community to take collective actions to improve their own hygiene and sanitation situation. After the initial hygiene and sanitation lessons, the community constructed tippy taps, a simple hand washing devise, to be used for single household use and a pit latrine that will also be used for single household use. It is encouraging for communities served to be seen taking immediate action to improve their own health and sanitation situations! It is hoped that this reaction will continue to effect families in Akabereera Village – ensuring the full benefits of having safe water are received!
Community Member Interview
"For the last two years, we have seen Living Water Uganda trucks passing through our village - to other areas, to construct new water points," shares 32-year-old community member and businessman, Kellen. "I asked myself, has God abandoned us? Finally, a new well was installed in our community! Thank you for providing us with this safe water. We will no longer walk long distances hunting for water from hand dug wells and dams."