For Betty, mother of a one-year-old girl, and resident of a rural community Bugiri district, a water tap stand has not just given her access to clean, safe water just a few metres from her doorstep. It has given her a chance to plan for a better future.
“I fetch this water at any time of the day without worrying about the distance. Before the scheme started, we trekked over two kilometres to search for water, which was in most cases contaminated, causing us diseases.”
“I’m now thinking of cultivating some vegetables in the near future to supplement my family diet. I’m also hoping to sell some surplus vegetables to generate income,” says Betty.
Delivering clean water in rural Uganda
In eleven communities across the districts of Bugiri and Namayingo, people like Betty are celebrating the opening of seven water systems by GOAL Uganda. Each system has a storage capacity of 8,000 litres of water, which can then be distributed to communities through extension pipes leading to locally sourced tap-stands.
The mini-piped water schemes were handed over to the Eastern Umbrella Authority, an arm of Uganda’s Ministry of Water and Environment (MWE) that ensures the operations and maintenance of piped water supply and sanitation systems in peri-urban areas around the country.
The project was implemented by GOAL in conjunction with the two District Water Offices, thanks to funding from charity:water. While supporting vulnerable communities in eastern Uganda with access to clean, safe water, the accessible taps stands are also reducing the distances families are forced to walk in search of water.
Reaching Even More People
The project will benefit an estimated 1,050 households spread across five sub-counties over two districts. These regions were previously among those with some of the least water coverage in the country.
“Since we embarked on WASH interventions here in 2015, we have been able to increase the water coverage for Namayingo, which stood at 15% and Bugiri, which stood at 46%, to the current 65% and 90% respectively,” says Joseph Akotch, Technical Special Projects Lead at GOAL Uganda.
Joseph is proud of this major achievement, given that some areas in the two districts lack underground water. Where underground water is present, it is usually of poor quality.
According to GOAL Uganda’s Programmes Director, Julian Nyachwo, the handover of the water system is a significant moment to ensure continued and consistent community access.
“We shall continue working with the various stakeholders, including the Eastern Umbrella of Water and Sanitation, for technical support in ensuring that there is sustainable access to clean, safe water for these vulnerable communities,” she said.
How the scheme is run
Through GOAL-trained community representatives, each of the seven schemes has a standby Systems Operator, such as Nalukoba Aggrey, who lives locally and ensures the solar powered system is working normally.
“My work is to activate this system so that it can pump the water to the storage tank. Once it is full, I then assess the best time to cease pumping. I also organise necessary repairs and maintenance,” says Nalukoba, who operates Kyabakooli water system in Bugiri district.
Furthermore, through the different social behavioural change approaches such as Community Led Total Sanitation, Community Conversations and Demand Responsive Approach, 715 communities in the two districts have been declared Open Defecation Free (ODF), which is the widespread use by communities of sanitation facilities.
GOAL’s Recent WASH Programming in Eastern Uganda
Since 2015, GOAL Uganda has also worked on improving the access of safe, clean water in Bugiri and Namayingo districts through rehabilitation and construction of boreholes. To date, 174 boreholes have been rehabilitated. A further 594 have been built from scratch.
Elsewhere, GOAL’s programmes are helping to improve toilet facilities in schools, removing a barrier to education for thousands of students. More than 40 latrine (toilets) blocks across the two districts have been built to date. Using our Child Hygiene and Sanitation Training (CHAST) and Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) approaches, many pupils have improved their knowledge, skills and practice of sanitation and hygiene. As a result, more students are attending local schools and achieving higher grades. And the future is looking brighter for children across Eastern Uganda.