The remote village of Bukyamata in Eastern Uganda faces many severe water, hygiene and sanitation problems. Aside from a commonly congested borehole some 8km away, the only other proximate sources of water for the village’s 3,400 population, are shallow wells located close to swamps.
The children from the village often suffer from water-related diseases such as diarrhoea, dysentery, worm and skin infections, which in poor communities such as this, can be fatal. At present, the village women and children travel for approximately two hours to collect water. Moreover, it is also reported that young female children from this village are targeted for sacrifice rituals whilst travelling the long distances to fetch water at night.
On 20th October 2012, the first meeting with the local council of the village, the BORCCH social team and members of the Bukyamata community was held. This comprised a large gathering of mainly women and children who discussed the following:
- The formation of a water committee - the committee will collect a quarterly community contribution of 80,000 Uganda shillings (the equivalent of around £20). This money will then be kept for maintenance and repairs of the borehole. The first tranche of fees was collected prior to work starting to show commitment of the community to the project
- Location of the borehole - a member of the community offered a piece of land to the village project and an agreement was written and endorsed
- Community participation - the community of Bukyamata offered food supplies and accommodation to the workers until the end of the project. They also offered to make contributions of local materials, and pledged to put an enclosure around the borehole to protect it from animals
- WASH training - during the meeting the community discussed Water and Sanitation Hygiene training that would be carried out by the BORCCH team
Before the project began a baseline survey was conducted to establish how many homes owned, used and maintained pit latrines, dish racks, kitchens, water collecting facilities and a rubbish pit. It was found that many families had no knowledge of the benefits of having a latrine, dish rack and clean containers for collecting and storing water.
Following the construction of the borehole, the following training was carried out:
- How to collect water user fees after completion of the borehole
- How to prevent children from playing around the water source, chasing away animals and installing a fence around the facility
- Making a by-law governing the water source in order to ensure proper functioning
- Maintaining the water source through practicing regular cleaning of the facility and of water storage containers to avoid contamination of water before consumption
- Calling regular monthly community meetings to show accountability for the fees collected.
Following the project, many families began to construct dish racks, hand washing facilities, and temporary latrines.
Just a Drop is pleased to report that the project work to date has been a huge success in the village of Bukyamata. The community has shown great interest and enthusiasm towards the project. The provision of a safe and clean water source in Bukyamata has reduced tension in the community as a local woman testifies to the local leader of the community. The women expressed her gratitude and explained that the water is good for drinking even before boiling it! This project has had an encouraging impact on the lives of the local people. Children and women no longer have to walk long distances from home to look for water. It now takes on average only 20 minutes for most beneficiaries to reach the borehole. The community are now prioritising hygiene and sanitation in their homes. Water collecting cans are also now washed and cleaned before storing water and some families have even started building temporary latrines as a result of the WASH awareness campaign.
Our thanks to UK Inbound for making this project possible.
Date of project: December 2012