Kasiribya Village, Uganda is located in the Butemba Sub Country, Kyankwanzi District, Kasiribya parish. There are 200 Households, 4 Churches, 1 School, amd over 1,097 people in the village.
This is a busy village, with 4 churches nearby and a brand new primary school. The nearest water is a series of open ponds in a busy area about 1 – 1.5 km away from the village. Past that there is a borehole in another village that is 2.5 miles away, which is 5 miles round trip through the bush. Neither option is safe, the nearer due to the quality of the water, the farther because there are large predators that roam between the villages. Women and children know that they are risking their lives to make that journey, so they use the ponds instead – even though that water is surrounded by bush as well.
The area experiences the usual water-born illnesses of typhoid, diarrhea and the like. However there are also water-born organisms in this water source that are causing skin diseases (According to a study in the IJSR, Skin Rashes are the second most common malady caused by contaminated water). It is possible that the skin diseases are due to the water being supplied by run off from the surrounding bush, which can carry animal waste and other toxins. This also means that the act of gathering the water alone is a health
risk, as many of the skin irritations found in the area are caused by the water touching the skin before it can be boiled. Illness is more common after the rainy seasons, but doesn’t go away completely in the dry season.
It is expensive to treat illnesses in Uganda. Something like Typhoid will cost a day’s wages for a day’s dose of medicine. So if the illness is caught by a working individual, they could be out both 2 weeks of wages for time missed and another 2 weeks of wages for medicine. That is 4 weeks of wages not being spent on things like food, or necessities. Much of the poverty cycle in the area is due to these illnesses. And the illnesses are due to the water. It all comes back to the water.
The cost is not much less for medication for the children either. But the higher cost is to their education. If they miss school, they could risk being held back, or their parents deciding not to send them back. Education is one of the best ways to help a community grow in a self-sustaining way, and the best way to keep the children in school is to provide them with a source of clean water. The school in the area is new. It will have a higher chance of succeeding with a nearby water source.
Herbert Asiimwe oversees project management in Uganda, and has a decade of experience in the area. He started working with CEED through Graham Hodgetts, after he got his accounting degree, to try to fight the corruption that is rampant in his country at whatever level he could. Herbert is particularly skilled at choosing and working with the schools, churches, clinics, and villages that ultimately get the wells. He picks locations where the well will be cared for long-term ensuring clean water for years to come. The drilling teams report directly to Herbert, and Herbert reports directly to CEED’s board of directors here in the US. He adheres to very strict accounting procedures. CEED has developed over 600 clean water sources and served over 900,000 people in the area, which is nearing 2% of the total population of Uganda.
The funding for future repairs and maintenance is a two-part process. When the village, or school in this case, is chosen for a well, they sign a contract stating that they will do their best to set aside a few pennies per month to help cover the cost of future repairs. In the
past, when we did not do this, the villagers did not step in to take care of the well, because they did not fully feel like it was theirs. This method acts as a guarantee that they will take ownership of the well. When something is wrong, they have the responsibility to reach out and let us know, so that the well can be repaired in a timely manner.
In 2020 CEED took the opportunity to do a survey of 20 villages that have access to one of our wells. On average each village experienced a 70% reduction in illness across the board. Typhoid, Cholera, parasites, and water-born illnesses dropped significantly. We do understand that there are, of course, other factors that play a part in community health, but it all must start with access to clean water. We also know that water is at the core of the poverty cycle in the area. When the villagers are sick, they cannot work, and most medicines and doctor’s visits require on average a day’s wage for a dose. This means that either another adult has to work to cover the costs, or the person in need of treatment has to use his wages when he returns to cover the cost.
One illness can jeopardize job and food security for a whole family. We also expect that with a clean water source nearby, the new school will see an increase in attendance as children aren’t sent to the ponds on water runs any longer. And people from
the surrounding area would be more likely to send their children as well. Most schools in Uganda offer boarding to children who don’t live close by, so there will be more than just the village children who will be helped with this well.
We are also known for requiring domestic violence contracts from the villages where we know that it is an issue. If the village wants the well, the husbands must agree to be kind to their wives. So far it has been a very effective tool for improving the lives of the village
women on top of the other improvements that come from clean water.
And finally, the churches in the area are likely to see an increase in interest. Bringing people from the surrounding areas to a village steeped deeply in faith is a wonderful discipleship opportunity for their neighbors. There are four churches in the area surrounding this proposed well spot, and where there is water, the outlying villages and bush people are more likely to come. While the well is being built, we take the opportunity to play the Jesus film in the local dialect to the people who gather to watch the drilling process. And everyone always comes out to see the drilling. The well is and will be accessible to everyone who wants to access the well. It will be shared by the villagers, the churches and the school.
All projects are made possible by World Changers.