Migamba and Lwawemba villages are located in Mpigi District, a central region in Uganda. The district lies on the shores of Lake Victoria and has a population of 454,800, of which 39% has no access to safe water. It is characterised by a poor road network, low levels of education, weak leadership and lack of influential community members. The area has also been particularly devastated by civil strife and the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
Kituntu Sub-County, where the project is based, is one of the poorest; over 90% of its population depend on rural farming for food and income and only 33% of the population have access to clean water and sanitation facilities. This is further compounded by a lack of knowledge about good hygiene and sanitation, resulting in high levels of diarrhoea, dysentery, worm infestation and skin diseases.
Women and children are affected by the lack of available water as they have to travel up to 3km every day to collect it. They travel on poor and insecure footpaths, using exhaustive methods to collect and carry unsafe water.
In December 2011, Just a Drop – together with the Kituntu Women’s Association began work on the construction of three wells, three water jars and three latrines in Migamba village and two wells, two water jars and three latrines in Lwawemba village.
The local community really got behind the project - contributing towards the storage of construction materials and equipment, providing food throughout the construction period as well as venues to hold the training meetings.
Seven mobilisation and sensitisation meetings were conducted over the course of the project. These meetings were conducted to ensure the different beneficiaries and stake holders participated in the planning and decision making process of their project.
Over a thousand blocks were cast for the construction of the wells. The process took six days to excavate five water sources: two in Lwawemba village and three in Migamba village. This involved digging holes 10 metres deep with simple tools.
The community members and the the construction committee identified seven people, who were trained in operation and maintenance, to be fully responsible for the daily management of the constructed water sources.
A total of six pit latrines (with two stances and one bathroom) were constructed in six households. The six latrines were equally distributed between the two villages. Of these beneficiaries, some had no latrines at all, some had pits that were filled and others had dangerous pits with no roofs and no doors, with all the issues of safety and dignity this brings.
The communities of Lwawemba and Migamba villages selected six households to benefit from the water harvesting jars, as the wells would not be easily accessed by the elderly and those with disabilities.
The community has agreed to collect 500 shillings monthly from each household that uses the water source. This is collected by the treasurer for repairs and maintenance. Community structures have been put in place to ensure proper management, maintenance and monitoring of the facilities. In addition individual community members were also trained to own and properly handle the water and sanitation facilities.
- There has been a reduction in the incidence of common diseases associated with poor sanitation situations, especially amongst young children (between 2-10years) and vulnerable people; these include malaria, typhoid, dysentery, vomiting and stomach aches
- School children have been able to increase the amount of time they spend studying as they no longer have to spend time walking long distances for clean safe water during school hours
- It is also pleasing to report that the knowledge of good hygiene practice among the project beneficiaries has improved. This has also improved the community’s capacity to ensure the project’s benefits are sustainable
- The new water sources have meant that local leaders and community masons have been empowered to oversee the constructed facilities and replicate the best practices in the wider community. The communities have also started to reserve funds collected from water user fees for repairs, maintenance and service of the facilities
- Since the provision of clean safe water sources, Kituntu parish has seen more resettlement in the area. It was reported that there are at least 10-15 new families settling in these villages every month. The elderly and disabled have said the new facilities have transformed their self-esteem.
The Just a Drop project, kindly funded by The Co-operative Travel Group, has been a great success, transforming the lives of the people within these two communities.
Date of Project: September 2012