Muramba Primary School is located in Bananywa Sub Country, Kyankwanzi District, Kisodo parish of Uganda. There are 320 households and 2 churches here. The school has 580 students, so well over 1,500 people will be served here, at a conservative estimate. While human consumption is the primary goal, the wells have a troth for run off, so in a drought, the school may offer excess water to local farmers.
The school is near a trading center, with two church congregations nearby. Nevertheless the current water source is dangerous. The water in the watering hole is deep enough that it requires a log platform along the edge, to allow the villagers and village children access to the pool without falling in.
This is the type of watering hole that has a higher drowning risk than a shallower pond. Children in Uganda aren’t taught to swim like children are here. The water isn’t safe to swim in, and if it’s the only water you have to drink you won’t use it as a swimming hole. The well is hard to climb out of if you fall in. The logs help, but it’s still extremely risky to lean over to fill the jerry cans, and then try to haul them back out.
These types of water sources are common breeding grounds for the organisms that cause typhoid and many kinds of diarrhea, causing many infections. An adult can spend two weeks sick, losing not only the two weeks of wages, but also the cost of the cures, which can be another two weeks’ worth. The children aren’t as cautious as the adults. They won’t always wait for a caretaker to boil water for them to drink. When they get ill they miss school, and depending on the timing of the illness they could lose a whole year’s progress by missing their exams. The children are also at a higher risk of dehydration and death when they catch these types of illness.
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, we did not do this and 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 the wells 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 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 helped with this well.
CEED is 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 well will also bring water to three congregations and a second school a little further out. This well will benefit the whole community.
Something happened that’s never happened before in Uganda. A local politician in the Muramba area was able to obtain government funds to drill a well. And the resulting well was in close proximity to the location planned by our partner, CEED, for the well that ILW donors of this project sponsored. It’s good news that the dire need for clean water will be addressed. But, it does not make sense to drill two wells in close proximity. Therefore, we worked with our partner in Uganda, CEED, to find another village in similar dire need for clean water as Muramba was.
CEED identified the St. Matthias Primary School in Kazo Village, Uganda as in dire need. So the fund originally planned to be deployed at Muramba are being redeployed to the St. Matthias Primary School in Kazo Village, Uganda.
Current water source in Kazo Village, Uganda
All projects are made possible by World Changers.