– April 2014: 10 year old Carol is from Kayabwe Village, which is located near the Ugandan equator.
Every day, she fills up her 18 litre water container from a small, dirty pond. The water is full of tadpoles and also used by nearby grazing cattle. She often worries about falling in, as she has to kneel to reach the water and her large water container is awkward to handle.
Many of the young girls – including Carol – are also scared of coming to the water source, particularly in the evening when there are lots of local fishermen in the area.
More than 65% of the people in Carol’s community currently use open ponds like these and the resultant water-related illnesses from the contaminated water are expensive to treat with medicine.
To compound this, most children and women spend over two hours a day collecting water, which has an impact on their education and income generating activities.
What we take for granted
Just a Drop’s project manager, Melissa Campbell, met Carol on a recent field trip to Uganda to see first-hand the impact of the charity’s work. After hearing about Carol’s life and the responsibility on her small shoulders to collect water for her family, she couldn’t help but think of the differences in the lives of her own children.
Melissa says, “My daughters are nine and 11 years old and it was very sobering comparing their lives to Carol’s. My girls have just come back from a four-day activity holiday with their school; they spent their days mountain-biking, abseiling and stream-walking (the main objective seeming to be to get as wet and muddy as possible!).
“Their chores at home – laying the table, walking the dog or clearing up the endless piles of Lego strewn over the floor – cannot begin to compare with Carol’s daily tasks, especially the walk to collect water that she has to do two or three times a day.
“I tried lifting Carol’s jerry can when it was full of water and it was incredibly heavy for a young girl to carry. It didn’t even have a handle to help hold it, and she had lost the lid so it was difficult to manoeuvre on to her head without spilling the water. I dread to think how the weight of the water will compress her growing spine and potentially cause all sorts of physical problems later on.
Just a Drop is carrying out a project in Carol’s village later this year, to provide shallow hand-dug wells with hand pumps, rain-water harvesting jars and latrines for vulnerable families in the community, as well as hygiene and sanitation training to improve the overall health of the villagers.
The project is expected to take four months to complete.
October 2014 update
The project is now complete! Just a Drop’s Project Coordinator Amy Bruce and Project Officer and Trustee, Colonel Mike Reynolds, have just returned from a field trip and whilst there, they caught up with Carol, now 11 years old.
In fact, here she is with a bottle of water from the pond she used to collect water from, and one which is full of water from the new well in her village!
Carol said, “Filling up my jerry can is much easier now and the water is much healthier; and the pond has a fence around it which will prevent anyone from falling in.”
Just a Drop is carrying out two projects in Kayabwe village and is about to commence work in the second one. Read more about the project in Carol’s village here.