Jun 22, 2012

Water to Thrive president visits WaterAid in Uganda

Water to Thrive president visits WaterAid work in Uganda
Dick Moeller in Adeta Village, Amuria District. Photo: James Kiyimba
By James Kiyimba
May 24 -26,  Dick Moeller, founder and  Presidentof Water to Thrive, was in Uganda visiting WaterAid projects in urban and rural areas to have a better understanding of water and sanitation issues in the country and also to assess the  possibility of working with WaterAid in Uganda .
While in Uganda Dick Moeller, visited Kampala’s urban poor settlement of Kawempe and later travelled to Amuria district more than 338km north east of Kampala. He was welcomed by the District Local Government leaders with whom he held a series of discussions after which he met with the beneficially communities.

The discussions with local leaders mainly focused on understanding community based mechanisms in place to ensure sustainability of water and sanitation investments, community participation and ownershipof projects implemented.

“The big issue that interests water and sanitation donors is sustainability of facilities in place, there are many stories of projects that don’t work. I am very happy with whatI have seen, especially the community efforts to keep their water facilities functional, despite the massive poverty in the areas visited. Many people are contributing to the operation and maintenanceof their water facilities. They have also gone an extra step to constructhard fencesaround their boreholes to keep animals away,” Dick said.
“This being my first time to Uganda, it was a good experience visiting a number of homesteads and also to learn how water and sanitation projects are being implemented in the country.  I am very much interested in water catchment  and boreholes,” he added.

Juliet Kayendeke, the Grant Management and Fundraising Manager, WaterAid in Uganda, who was part of the field visit said, “It is a great pleasure to work with likeminded organisations like Water to thrive. It is every one’s prayer that the visit yields fruits, given that sanitation and water for all requires concerted efforts. 

 Visiting Adeta village borehole
While in the north east of Uganda, the President of Water to Thrive visited a number of water and sanitation projects implemented by Wera Development Agency (WEDA) these include Amuria Primary School which has both boys and girls latrine blocks built with WAU support. Then a visit to Amuria High School which acquired an improved girls   latrine block, bath shelters, and a rain water harvesting tank.

The day ended with a visit to Adeta village, located in Aminito parish, Akoromit sub county, Amuria district Dick was welcomed by Ben Epungu 66 years, a retired police man, grandfather of seven children and the chair person of the Water and Sanitation User Committee.

Adeta village borehole was constructed by WEDA with support from WaterAid and European Union Water Facility. The water source is serving 270 people and each household contributes 1,000 Uganda shilling monthly to the operation and maintenance fund which is money is kept on account in a Rural Savings Scheme (bank) located at the sub county head quarters.

The change  
Trying out a locally made hand washing facilities

Ben adds that, ever since water came nearby the village, sanitation and hygiene has greatly improved, village members can now bathe twice a day, they wash their clothes whenever they wish while women and children no longer have to shoulder the burden of walking long distances to collect water from the streams.

He further shared that by the time WaterAid started supporting water and sanitation activities, the village only had 15 latrines but a month after the triggering Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS), 52 household latrines were constructed by the village residents on their own efforts as a remedy to stop open defecation. Since then all households in the village are working hard to have the required sanitation facilities which include latrines, hand washing facilities, drying racks and rubbish pits.

Dick was very impressed with the work of the water user committee because it was very evident that there was an effective community rooted sustainability mechanism, owned by the water users. He urged the Water User Committee to always be transparent and accountable in the decisions they make, for example issuing receipts to each household that pays the water user fee, keeping a register of the village members and also ensure that water source bye laws are adhered too.

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