Most community members living in Katugo wake up in the cool of morning at 6am to work on their gardens or small farms. This area is known for their high production of bananas, which they sell to the neighboring markets to earn a living.
After farming all morning, most of the men go to the trading center to carry out business - some are shop attendants while others are mechanics. In the meantime, women do a lot of different types of handiwork like weaving mats and baskets which they also send to the market.
In the evenings, most men meet at the trading center to socialize.
However high the food production here, parents still fail to send their children to school, saying that there is no money for school fees. This community also has a poor road network which makes getting there difficult.
People living in Katugo rely on an old, broken down spring protection system to meet all of their needs. A majority of the cement has cracked and collapsed, while the ground behind the catchment area has exposed the water to contamination. The staff made their assessment of the old spring and concluded that is was beyond repair; a complete reconstruction is needed here.
With the ground around the spring compromised, the water that people collect from the discharge pipe is no longer clean; it contains dirt, farming chemicals, and feces that are washed downhill during rains. The water smells, and people who drink it complain of constant diarrhea.
Mr. Opua Simon is a 46-year-old farmer who relies on this spring. He said, "The old spring has unsafe water, so members suffer from skin diseases when they bathe in the water. The children are the most affected by this water." The younger ones are less likely to outlast bad cases of diarrhea caused by typhoid and other illnesses.
Less than half of the families who rely on this water source have a pit latrine. The few we observed have walls for privacy, but either lack roofs or doors. This allows rain to flood the pit, not to mention the flies that are attracted to the waste - which then spread contamination throughout the village.
Here’s what we’re going to do about it:
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 project installation.
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, hand-washing facility, a separate structure for animals, rubbish pit and 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 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 the latrines and demand that other households do the same.
Considering the convenience, reliability, and long history of this spring, the community has decided to unite with us to build a new spring protection system for their current source. Once construction is completed, the spring will begin yielding clean drinking water.
There’s a lot of work to be done: Community members will have to help our team clear the land around the spring, diverge the water, build a catchment area with walls allowing for discharge pipes and steps in and out, and dig drainage. Local families will host our spring protection artisans while they begin the sanitation improvements needed for a successful partnership. We all look forward to making these improvements together!
This project is a part of our shared program with The Water Trust. Our team is pleased to provide the reports for this project (formatted and edited for readability) thanks to the hard work of our friends in Uganda.