Rwempisi-Zakayo Community

Regional Program:
Western Uganda WaSH Program

Latitude 1.61
Longitude 31.51

195 Served

Project Status:

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Explore The Project

Stories and Community Profile

We arrived in Rwempisi planning to give people water through a hand-dug well. After meeting families and touring the area, we realized that the issue here isn’t a lack of water, but a lack of clean water. There is a spring that the community has used for years, and they have asked us to find a way to transform this reliable water source into a clean one.

Rwempisi is home to 195 people from around 39 different families. Most adults here specialize in growing sugarcane which is sold to the local Kinyara Sugar Factory. After spending most of the morning farming, women return home to take care of children as they get out of school. Men also choose to get out of the sun by meeting at the trading center to sell crops, repair bikes, or another of many other income-generating activities. Men remain at the center of town for the greater part of the afternoon into the evening, when they begin to play cards and socialize with friends. All this time, women are at home with the children preparing dinner, cleaning, and getting ready for the next school day.

Until this spring protection is installed, GPS coordinates are a rough estimate.

Water Situation

Water is fetched from a spring next to Rwempisi. Locals have relied on this source for years, wearing down the stone path that leads up to the spring. A board has been lain across the water to act as a bridge, on which women and children will balance on as they bend over to fill water buckets.

The spring is at the bottom of a hill and is visibly dirty. Leaves, garbage, and algae float on the surface. There is no proper drainage, and thus the water is murky most of the time. During the tour, our team member even noted that the water is smelly!

Drinking the spring’s water may sate thirst for a time, but often comes with negative consequences. Diarrhea is a normal occurrence that affects all people, especially children.

Sanitation Situation

Less than half of the homes in Rwempisi have their own latrine. As we begin to construct the spring protection system, we will continue to encourage and help each family have their own latrine. Without good facilities, locals are forced to seek the privacy of bushes. The more waste there is on local land, the more likely a portion of this will end up in the spring (especially after rain).

Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training

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.

Plans: Spring Protection

Over continued visits to the community, the viability of a hand-dug well diminished. Between sites for old latrines, new latrines, burial grounds, and ground composition, we just couldn’t find a good construction site for a well that would yield safe, clean water.

Considering the convenience, reliability, and long history of this spring, the community has decided to unite with us to build a spring protection system for their current source. Once construction is completed, the spring will begin yielding clean drinking water.

Locals have already begun to gather the materials necessary for construction, such as sand and stone. There’s a lot of work to be done: They 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!

Project Photos

Recent Project Updates

12/20/2017: A Year Later: Rwempisi-Zakayo Community

A year ago, generous donors helped install a well with Rwempisi-Zakayo 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, Geoffrey Kusemererwa and Stephen Kwikiriza with you.

The Water Project : 1-6074-yar

03/31/2017: Incorrect Media from the Field

Dear friends, we apologize for a mixup on the final pictures sent from Uganda. The team finished construction on this spring protection at Rwempisi-Zakayo the same time as another project in the area, and so the original completed photos we posted here were actually of a different spring. So sorry about that!

We have removed the incorrect pictures, and have added in the correct ones, including this photo below of a woman and her baby retrieving their first container of clean water from the protected spring. Your donation has already had tremendous impact in Rwempisi-Zakayo; we’re so grateful.

The Water Project : 19-uganda6074-protected-spring

01/31/2017: Rwempisi-Zakayo Community Project Complete

We are very excited to report that, thanks to your willingness to help, the members of Rwempisi-Zakayo Community and their families in Uganda have a new source of safe, clean water. A spring has been protected, and clean water is now 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 spring protection 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 together with the Ekarakaveni II-Androsi Community because they are neighbors, and both of their projects were completed at the same time. Everyone gathered at Rwempisi Primary School, a central location for people from both villages.

Sessions were attended by 20 people, all of whom were recruited by the community development officer (CDO). Twelve of these now form the water and sanitation committees (WSC) which will oversee well maintenance and sanitation improvements in their village. The others were two village elders, two other local leaders, two local council chairs, and a village health trainee (VHT) from each location.

Training taught committee members about their different roles. There is a WSC chairman, vice chairman, secretary, treasurer, two well caretakers, and mobilizer.

1 uganda6074 training

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. They are now able to be effective ambassadors of good hygiene, sanitation, and health in their neighborhoods.

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.

Mr. Gayo is one of the VHTs who attended. He said, “I thank you for training our communities of Ekarakaveni and Rwempisi. We promise to take the same message to the rest of the community members that were not trained.”

The WSC has already started meeting on a regular basis, and they’re collecting fees from water users.

4 uganda6074 training

Project Result: Spring Protection

Construction to protect Rwempisi’s spring began on November 11, 2016.

Before this could begin, the community had to gather the construction materials and labor needed to complete the project. They had to transport things like bricks, sand, and ballast to the spring site for the artisan. The local women helped a great deal with this step.

11 uganda6074 construction

After resource mobilization was finally complete, our artisan arrived to begin the process he has done in dozens of communities. First, he and local men clear the spring site. All bushes and trees are felled with machetes. This is followed by excavating up the slope from the spring output. Ballast is then mixed with cement and sand to make concrete. A wire mesh is lain on the excavated space before the concrete is added in order to create a strong foundation. This foundation is left to cure overnight.

9 uganda6074 construction

Next, the walls are raised with brick. The artisan then installs a pipe low in the collection wall to direct water from the reservoir to a concrete or plastic spring box. He then backfills the spring source with hardcore until water is flowing from the discharge pipe. The area around the spring is then landscaped, fenced, and drainage is dug.

As soon as this project was finished, community members were ready and waiting to fill their containers with clean water.

The Water Project : 18-uganda6074-protected-spring

01/04/2017: Rwempisi-Zakayo Community Project Underway

We are excited to announce that a project to provide clean water for the Rwempisi Community in Uganda is underway. A spring is being protected, 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. Please look there to read about how the community decided a spring protection system is the best solution for their area. We’ll keep you informed as the work continues!

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

The Water Project : 3-uganda6074-unprotected-spring

12/06/2016: Change in Schedule

We were optimistic that this project would wrap up by the end of the year, but our program schedule for Uganda has been delayed. Please bear with us as we match you with the community you are helping. We plan to send an introduction your way soon!

Project Data

Project Type:  Protected Spring
Location:  Uganda, Masindi, Rwempisi Zakayo Yi
ProjectID: 6074
Install Date:  01/31/2017

A Year Later: Rwempisi-Zakayo Community

December, 2017

My two-year-old breast-feeding baby boy was always attacked by skin rashes which were a result of contaminated water from the open source. The baby’s skin is now okay after bathing in the spring water, which makes me happy and thankful for the water point.

A year ago, generous donors helped install a well with Rwempisi-Zakayo 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, Geoffrey Kusemererwa and Stephen Kwikiriza with you.

Rwempisi-Zakayo is located in Masindi District. There used to be 30 households here, but has since grown to over 50 households now that there’s a clean water source. People from Rwentale also walk here to use this protected spring, for it has a huge yield and the water is reported to be very clean.

John Mayoku fetching clean water from the spring.

Stephen met with John Mayoku at the spring to talk about what he’s witnessed over the past year. He said, “With the protected spring, we are sure that we are drinking clean and safe water. Thank you! The training passed on to the community helped improve the sanitation facilities in our homes. We were trained that every household should have a latrine.” He added that one challenge he’s faced with managing the spring is that people eat sugarcane around the water point, leaving their debris as they eat. “However, in our water point constitution we agreed that a fine of 5,000 shillings be paired if you are found littering at the water point. This fine is being applied and it is helping improve sanitation around the water point,” he shared.

Getrude holding her little baby, and her sister Suzan

20-year-old Getrude Avako came to fetch water with her younger sister Suzan. Stephen asked them the same question. “Diarrhea used to disturb us, but it is not common anymore because of the protected spring,” Suzan said. Getrude added that her “two-year-old breast-feeding baby boy was always attacked by skin rashes which were a result of contaminated water from the open source. The baby’s skin is now okay after bathing in the spring water, which makes me happy and thankful for the water point.”

Stephen left appreciating the fact that this community is working hard to care for their clean water. They’ve cleared the bushes out from around the spring, and they meet there every second week of the month to clean the area.

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.


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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.