The hallmark of projects implemented by co2balance partners in Uganda over the past two years has been a strong partnership with communities. Water as a resource requires that the communities who consume it have to get involved in management of the boreholes lest they get back to their original state of ruin.
Last week, I got a chance to visit a local community of mainly farmers in Mbale district to distribute solar lamps as part of CSR with a local partner Peros coffee. Without a doubt the impact on the lives of the communities that the lamps will make only shows on their faces alone and the expected improvement in the study conditions of their children seems to be what excited them most.
The history of this school speaks of great commitment from the community as well as community members. It is not uncommon to find a local school in Uganda with students seated under a tree but the residents of the surrounding village would not wait to sit back. They burnt bricks and from one grass thatched mud brick building they now have 3 classroom blocks with a total of around ten classrooms to serve their student population of 845, an average of about 121 from each class.The school project is still ongoing and there were indeed some bricks buring in the background for their newly planned toilet facilities.
Communities like these are not uncommon in Uganda. Often the levels of service delivery have been poor so communities get together to do something that would benefit them long term. One of the communities we work with in Kaliro District in Saaka once showed us a hall that they had built from money gathered locally. This hall may act as a meeting place for students to do holiday study, for nursery school students to attend class and indeed for the community councils to hold their meetings.
We always encourage communities to be vigilant and that is why we are able to grow our projects. All the communities where we work were in the process of looking for money to repair their water sources. Unfortunately in some cases these processes had dragged to beyond two years and they had given up. However, the gaps bridged by carbon finance go a long way to restoring the basic human dignity offered by access to safe water and improved water and sanitation.