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The Water Project : apio-felister
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Location: Uganda

Regional Program: Western Uganda WaSH Program

Impact: 175 Served

Project Phase:  Installed

Functionality Status: 

Community Profile & Stories

This project is a part of our shared program with The Water Trust. Our team is pleased to directly share the below report (edited for clarity, as needed).

Welcome to the Community

This hand-dug well will be installed in Okweche, Uganda.

Okweche Central is a farming village located in Okweche Local Council, Diima Parish, Mutunda Sub-County of Masindi District. Beautiful scenery surrounds this village, characterized by gentle slopes covered by gardens with which residents derive their livelihood.

Okweche Village also has a swamp on one side and a lake on the other, which provide water for both domestic use and farm irrigation. Yields from the small garden plots from this village are so high that the family’s surplus food can be sold to the bordering villages.

Mr. Odong Francis applied for this project. He is a 40-year-old man who doubles as the village chairman and a father to six children. He shared that water-related illnesses like diarrhea, dysentery, typhoid and cholera are common, especially during rainy seasons. This is mainly due to drinking unboiled contaminated water.

At the end of every evening, most of the men from around here gather at the trading center in the middle of the village to share tales and enjoy local brews.

This community faces other challenges beyond the shortage of clean drinking water: There is no access to education, no health facilities, a poor road network, and theft to name a few.

Water Situation

Water is most often fetched from the swamp or lake. Families also keep containers outside their homes to catch water during the rainy seasons. This surface water is highly contaminated by a myriad of sources.

The nearest source of clean water is over two kilometers away, at Okweche Primary School. This school is too far away for students to attend on a daily basis, but an occasional trip is made for drinking water. Unfortunately, the contaminated swamp and lake are most often used for drinking because of their proximity.

Locals bring plastic jerrycans to dunk and fill at the lake or swamp. Children often just carry a cup to get a quick drink.

Sanitation Situation

Over half of families have their own pit latrines, while the other handful of families either share latrines or practice open defication. Most of the latrines we observed were well-built with bricks and mud. A few other people told us they had latrines at one time, but they did not weather the rainy season.

According to local farmer Kato Julius, “The sanitation of our community is not alarming compared to other areas.” Either way, the Uganda program requires that every household have and use a basic pit latrine before the pump handle is installed. Clean water does not go far if it cannot be kept clean at the household level.

Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training

The 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 a shallow hand-dug 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, 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.

Plans: Hand-Dug Well

The community will participate in excavating and constructing the water source. In the meantime, 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.

Actual well construction will take four to six weeks if there are no challenges. The well will be lined with bricks and sealing clay, and finished with a Consallen pump.

Thank You for partnering with us to get clean water to the people living in Okweche Central!

Recent Project Updates

12/20/2017: A Year Later: Okweche Central Community

A year ago, generous donors helped install a well with Okweche Central Community in Uganda. Because of these gifts and contributions from our monthly donors, partners can visit project sites throughout the year, strengthening relationships with communities and evaluating the actual water project. These consistent visits allow us to learn vital lessons and hear amazing stories – we’re excited to share this one from our partners, Peter Osire and Geoffrey Kusemererwa, with you.

The Water Project : the-new-fence-that-has-been-constructed-on-the-5th-09-2017-the-follow-up-was-done-by-peter-6

12/09/2016: Okweche Central Project Complete

We are very excited to report that, thanks to your willingness to help, the members of Okweche Central Community and their families in Uganda have a new source of safe, clean water. A new well has been dug, and water is flowing. Community members have also received training in sanitation and hygiene, and plan to share what they learned with their families and neighbors. You made it happen, now help keep the water flowing! Join our team of monthly donors and help us maintain this well and many other projects.

The report below from our partner gives the latest details of the project. We also just updated the project page with new pictures. Make sure to click on the “See Photos & Video” tab to check them out!

Project Result: New Knowledge

Hygiene and sanitation training was held near the construction site for the hand-dug well, where the water and sanitation committee (WSC) chairperson lives.

The community development officer (CDO) invited six community members, two elders, one local council chairperson, and a village health trainee to participate. The sub-county health assistant was also there to lend his support. By the end of training, the six community members had formed an Okweche Central WSC that will manage and maintain the new well.

Training raised awareness on keeping water clean, routes of contamination, hand-washing, hygiene practices, and gender. Lessons also equipped the WSC with the right knowledge to do their job well, including managing finances and keeping records.

Since many locals are illiterate, our training facilitator used simple language and many pictures. Participants also formed small groups to discuss the pictures and what practices they illustrated. For each of the topics covered, participants created an action plan to help their community implement new sanitation and hygiene practices.

Project Result: Hand-Dug Well

August 5, 2016

Today we delivered the technician to site and selected a suitable location where the well shall be sunk. Excavation well begin tomorrow.

August 12, 2016

Community members are working with the technician to excavate through hard soil, which is making progress very slow.

August 19, 2016

Today we visited this site where we found that only eight feet have been excavated so far.

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August 26, 2016

There was slow progress on site this week because the technician suffered an injury. He has now returned to work, although progress is still slow because of more hard soil. The current well depth is 13ft, and water has not yet been found.

September 2, 2016

Excavation work is progressing slowly due to very hard formations. The project is 14ft deep and water is not yet hit.

September 9, 2016

Excavation is progressing slowly through hard formation. Community morale is poor because the water still hasn’t been reached.

September 16, 2016

Today we hit water at 18ft deep! The soil has drastically changed, and has started collapsing. It requires concrete rings to hold the soil as deepening progresses.

September 23, 2016

Delivery of concrete rings has been delayed, hence stalling progress at this site.

September 30, 2016

Concrete rings were delivered and have been lowered. The community is now mobilizing materials to commence masonry work.

October 7, 2016

All concrete rings have been lowered and excavation on cutting through the soft formation. All local materials from the community were also delivered and masonry work has begun.

October 28, 2016

All masonry work is complete and we are now waiting to install the pump.

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November 4, 2016

Today we returned to this village for pump installation, and all was successful. The community is celebrating this milestone!

The hand-dug well has a total depth of 26 feet and a static water level of eight feet.

As of January 1st, 2017 the community will start paying small fees to put in a bank account. This account will be saved in case of future repairs needed for the pump. There is also a well caretaker who lives near  the well. He will keep the area clean and oversee the pump, and the WSC will draft and enforce rules for proper pump use and management.

The WSC chairperson, Peter Oryem, spoke on behalf of his entire community. “With the introduction of a nearby protected water point, we have managed to reduce on the time we used to waste while moving to the far away water point that we used. We now use this time to do other constructive activities like farming, thus helping to increase our financial capacity.”

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11/08/2016: Okweche Central Community Project Underway

We are excited to announce that a project to provide clean water for the Okweche Central Community in Uganda is underway. A new well is being constructed and the community will attend sessions on sanitation and hygiene practices. Together, these resources will go a long way toward stopping the spread of disease in the area. We just posted a report including information about the community, project details, and pictures. We’ll keep you posted as the work continues.

Click the tabs above to learn more, and Thank You for your help!

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Explore More of The Project

Project Photos

Project Data

Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump
Location:  Uganda, Kiryandongo, Okweche
ProjectID: 6067
Install Date:  12/09/2016

A Year Later: Okweche Central Community

December, 2017

These days we drink clean water with no germs, unlike before when we used to drink water from an open water source which was contaminated because we used to share it with animals.

A year ago, generous donors helped install a well with Okweche Central Community in Uganda. Because of these gifts and contributions from our monthly donors, partners can visit project sites throughout the year, strengthening relationships with communities and evaluating the actual water project. These consistent visits allow us to learn vital lessons and hear amazing stories – we’re excited to share this one from our partners, Peter Osire and Geoffrey Kusemererwa with you.

Okweche Central is now Open Defecation Free (ODF) with 100% latrine coverage. We walked beside this community as they conducted their own appraisal and analysis of open defecation and took action. Natural leaders were born as they took the gauntlet in encouraging their neighbors to build latrines.

This community used to travel long distances in search of water. The nearest water point was about two kilometers away, and they would spend about 1-2 hours to get there, fetch water, and return. As women spent too much time out finding water, their husbands would get upset. As children were out, they encountered dangerous strangers who would do them harm. So, bringing a clean water point closer to this community has blessed them in countless ways. They now get great value out of their time, using it to do other productive activities like running small businesses and agriculture.

Mr. Peter Oryem

We met with Peter Oryem at the well to talk about what he and his community have been experiencing over the past year. He said, “Community members are appreciative for the improved sanitation brought to our community. The old open source was abandoned long ago and it is now the cows who use it.” But he also used this opportunity to share some of the challenges he’s experienced as the chairman of the water and sanitation committee for Okweche. According to Mr. Oryem, “Some members have resigned their positions, community members are uncooperative in as far as managing the water point is concerned, and they don’t want to contribute water user fees… There are over 50 households that use this water point but about 19 households are the only ones who pay water user fees. We currently only have a few shillings saved.”

When Officer Osire heard this, he discussed an action plan with Mr. Oryem. He’s decided there should be a fee of 2,000 shillings if someone shows up to fetch water with a dirty jerrycan. Furthermore, that 15,000 shillings should be used to construct a fence around the well (Did you know that well pads are sometimes trampled by elephants in Uganda?).

The new fence constructed around the well with money from the maintenance fund.

When Officer Osire followed up at Okweche, he found a new fence! He also plans to support Mr. Oryem in arranging for new water and sanitation committee elections to be held.

Apio Felister

9-year-old Apio Felister came to the well while we were there. She told us, “These days we drink clean water with no germs, unlike before when we used to drink water from an open water source which was contaminated because we used to share it with animals. It was also smelly and had a bad taste. This water would lead to skin diseases and other diseases. So with the introduction of this water point, the effects of these diseases are not evident in our community anymore.”

A community member brings us to the old water source to remind us of how far they’ve come.

Field Officer Osire is committed to Okweche Central, and plans to work with them until they have a strong water and sanitation committee that will care for and effectively manage this well.

The Water Project and our partners are committed to consistent monitoring of each water source. Our monitoring and evaluation program, made possible by monthly donors, allows us to visit communities up to 4 times a year. Read more about our program and how you can help.

Country Details


Population: 27 million
Lacking clean water: 36%
Below poverty line: 37%

Partner Profile

The Water Trust partners with rural communities in Uganda to establish and sustain access to safe water and healthy, clean environments for children to survive infancy and develop to their potential. The Water Trust’s program approach emphasizes community empowerment to enable the community to lead and sustain improvements in water, sanitation, hygiene, and general management of environmental health risks.