Easter celebrations at Abongodyang village – the gift of a new borehole

For the people of Abongodyang village, this Easter season was special and extra ordinary as it came with it the best ‘Easter Egg’ in form of a newly drilled borehole by co2balance – a gift of clean safe water.

The village of Abongodyang which has a population of about 320 people who until the drilling of the borehole had been using unsafe water sources like open wells, ponds, swamps, among others were very excited about their new water source which is not only clean and safe but has a good yield and is close to their homes.

After doing a thorough hydro-geological survey, a suitable site was picked to ensure the borehole had a high sustainable yield and good water quality. This was followed by site clearance which the community actively participated to strengthen their community engagement and partnership with co2balance in the continuous maintenance of this borehole after drilling.

The community has now pledged to look after the borehole and ensure that it is always clean and safe from any contamination that may be harmful to their health. They have also agreed to contribute the water user fees that that was set as a government policy to ensure that the communities are able to maintain the source using the money collected from all households.

Borehole in use

Drilling of this borehole has not only increased the safe water coverage in Otuke district but also ensured that so many waterborne diseases are avoided by consuming unsafe water. This also means that the wood fuel that goes into purifying this water significantly drops.

They say…….. ‘THANK YOU’

International Women’s Day Gift to Women of Corner Apii and Apala Telela Borehole

As the world commemorates the International Women’s Day, the women of Corner Apii and Telela Apala villages in Kole district, Northern Uganda surely have a reason to celebrate this day. Corner Apii borehole was drilled by the government and shortly broke down leaving the community of over 800 people with no option but to turn to an open spring that they shared with animals. This was constantly contaminated by animal waste and caused waterborne diseases to them like typhoid, dysentery, diarrhea among others.

The women of Corner Apii village suffered most due to the breakdown of this borehole. They had to use unsafe sources of water as the alternative borehole was far and inaccessible. This made them less productive as they had to not only collect water but also look for firewood to purify the water for drinking.

After an 8 months breakdown, CO2balance has helped rehabilitate this borehole today and given hope for clean safe water to the Corner Apii and Apala Telela community once more.

‘I had a small business that generated some extra income for my family but I closed it because I did not have enough time to manage it. I had to farm in the morning and later do house chores before going in search of water and firewood. This left me tired and with no time to tend to my shop…..’ narrates 67 year old Beatrice Alyango who lives half a kilometer from the newly repaired borehole.

With the repair of the borehole, she hopes to re-open her shop as she will now have enough time to tend to it.

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Beatrice Alyango

45 year old Santa Ocen, married with 10 Children who lives half a kilometer from the borehole celebrates the new water source. When the borehole broke down, she constantly worried about her little girls traveling for long distances unaccompanied in search of water and firewood. The same water collected was not clean and they ended up sick and missing school. She is confident that cases of diseases will now be a thing of the past as she totally trusts borehole water.

Judith Okello aged 35, a mother to 4 children is also happy that this borehole was repaired because it is going to sort out the issue of domestic violence in homes.

‘Husbands would always beat up their wives if they delayed to return home from fetching water. They would accuse their wives of meeting up with other men while fetching water from these far off wells hence the delay. The women’s pleas fell on deaf ears and this trend would continue because the women had to collect water everyday….’ narrates Judith Okello.

Corner Apii is just one out of the 20 newly rehabilitated boreholes in 2017. Another borehole rehabilitated today (pictured below) is Apala Telela and the women say ‘Thank you’.

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Women of Apala Telela borehole

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (Wash) Sensitization in Kaliro

WASH is the collective term for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene and these three cores are interdependent on the presence of the other. For example, without toilets, water sources become contaminated as a result of open defecation and poor waste disposal; without clean water, basic hygiene practices like hand washing are not possible. Drinking water sources are increasingly under threat from contamination, which impacts not only on the health of people, but also on the economic, environmental and social development of communities.

Threats to drinking water quality include unsafe handling and storage at the household level: water drawn from safe sources like boreholes may be contaminated by the time it reaches its storage point in households if poorly handled. In most rural areas, drinking water is stored in clay pots which are vulnerable to contamination if poorly handled.

Co2balance with its partner NGO WAACHA in Kaliro recently carried out a WASH sensitization to impart these three cores to the communities that are using the boreholes rehabilitated and maintained by it. They encouraged them on the need to have sanitary facilities like toilets and also influence behavioral change towards hygiene practices. Good hygiene practices such as hand washing with soap after using the toilet is essential to prevent disease and promote health.

The water resource committee members on behalf of the communities embraced the exercise and promised to elect voluntary health trainers who will move door to door training the households. They also pledged to encouraged the communities without toilets to build them at a safe distance from water sources and their homes and  install tippy taps with soap for hand washing after using the toilet. This will go a long way in promoting good health and the principles of WASH.

Expansion of the Lango ‘Safe Water Project – Part 2: Rehabilitation of New Boreholes

Co2balance as a project developer started borehole rehabilitation in the Lango sub region located in the northern part of Uganda in 2013 with the repair of 41 boreholes spread out in the districts of Alebtong, Otuke, Kole and Dokolo in a bid to provide clean safe water to these communities.

By the end of 2016, in an expansion drive, the number of boreholes rehabilitated rose to 61 with an additional 40 boreholes added in 2016 alone. This has increased access to clean safe water for many households who before the rehabilitation were using unsafe water sources like ponds, open wells among others.

In addition to the borehole rehabilitation, a Water Sanitation and Health (WASH) sensitization was carried out to educate the community on the importance of keeping their environment clean by fencing the borehole, cleaning it, keeping animals and waste away from it and above all maintaining the safe water chain from borehole to domestic storage. These good hygiene practices coupled with the clean water from these boreholes help eradicate waterborne diseases like typhoid, diarrhea, and dysentery and also reduces the risk of cholera outbreaks.

Water quality testing which is a standard procedure and requirement by the national water authorities was carried out in the rehabilitated boreholes since they have not been in use for a while. This was to ensure that the water from these boreholes meet the required standards, pass the set parameters and are suitable for human consumption. All the boreholes tested passed the tests and are therefore safe for the community.

 

Alex Opio’s story

45 year old Alex Opio, a father of 10 children is a resident of Tetugo Village in Otuke district and a user of the newly rehabilitated Barabolo borehole that was sighted by co2balance in its expansion of the ‘Lang0 Safe Water Project’ as one of the many broken down boreholes serving a big population with no other clean alternative point water sources.

Alex lost his left limb to a landmine explosion at the peak of the Lord’s Resistance Army conflict in Northern Uganda in 2004. Gazzeted in an internally displaced camp, he was deployed at the Local Defence Unit that was tasked to protect families living in the camps. They were required to escort the women and children who went out into the fields to farm and also look for water and firewood.

To solve the water scarcity issue, Barabolo borehole was drilled near their local church but due to lack of proper management, it broke down. The borehole serves over 300 people but had been broken for over a year which pushed them to use an open well that was meant for animals. The nearby health center recorded so many cases of water borne diseases especially among the children.

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Barabolo borehole before repair

Alex’s family that lives half a kilometer from this water source had to trek for over 2kms to an open well which had unsafe water and also had some security concerns due to the presence of the rebels and sparse settlement patterns of the communities.

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Alex and Engineer Tom – repair works going on in the background

Alex says that with the repair of this borehole and its proximity to his house, he is guaranteed of good health through clean water and safety for his family. His two wives and the other women that use the borehole have been able to open up a savings group through which they will borrow and lend money to provide funding for other income generating activities like small trading/businesses. The nearby borehole has made it possible for them to save time hence the ability to carry out other activities like trading and farming to improve on their income and food basket.

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Fully rehabilitated Barabolo borehole

International Day of the Girl Child

As the world over commemorated this year’s International Day of the Girl Child on the 11th  of October 2016, with the theme “girls’ progress = goals’ progress: what counts for girls”, 16 year old Scovia Adong, a pupil of Telela Primary School was oblivious about the meaning of this day or that it even existed. For her, it was business as usual. She went on with her daily home chores and left for school –  arriving late like she usually does.

Scovia lives with her 73 year old grandmother in a small grass thatched house and helps her with all the house chores and errands. Top on her list is collecting water for their house use which she does first thing before leaving for school. During her lunch break, she returns home to prepare a quick meal for her grandmother and also help her with cleaning the compound.

I wake up at 6am and set out to the open spring that is 3km away from my grandmother’s home. I have to move to that open source because the borehole (Telela) close to our home broke down. When it broke down, my mother requested me to move in with my grandmother so as to help her collect water. After collecting the water, I have to boil it so that it can be safe for drinking – after which, I help her with other tasks before leaving for school at 8am. Since my school is 1.5km away, I am always late for school and this affects my studies.

 

Telela borehole is one of the safe water sources being rehabilitated by co2balance under its expansion of the Lango Safe Water Project. This borehole rehabilitation comes as a gift on this special day of the Girl child for Adong Scovia whose home is just 30 meters from the borehole.The rehabilitation saw the borehole get a complete facelift from the old metallic pipes that were susceptible to rust to new plastic pipes that will ensure clean safe water.

The news of this borehole rehabilitation brought so much joy to her and her grandmother. She and her peers will no longer move long unsafe distances to access water from unsafe sources but rather have potable water close to them and minimize on the need to boil their water hence saving on the burning of woodfuel. The time saved will also help them concentrate on their studies and be able to achieve their set goals.

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Scovia Adong says thank you!

As my Primary Leaving Examinations draw close, I will now have enough time to concentrate on my studies and have good grades to enable me join a good secondary school. I want to be a fashion designer or tailor when I complete school. Thank you co2balance.

 

Expansion of the ‘Lango Safe Water Project’ – Assessment of New Boreholes

With the need for increased access to safe water in Northern Uganda, co2balance has just completed the assessment of 50 non-functional boreholes under their ‘Lango Safe Water Project’. Over 45% of Uganda’s rural population are still relying on unsafe water sources such as lakes, rivers, ponds, open wells, swamps and it’s against this background that co2balance decided to extend the project to unreached areas that are still using these unsafe sources.

These broken down boreholes were carefully selected with the help of the District Water Officers of Kole, Alebtong, Dokolo and Otuke, our Project Officer, community hand pump mechanics and the community. A criteria for eligibility was carefully followed to ensure that the selected boreholes are suitable for expansion of the project. This new development will expand on the already existing 41 boreholes under the maintenance program of co2balance in the Lango region.

Co2balance will embark on repairing these boreholes and they will add onto the already existing boreholes under its repair and maintenance programme for a period of 7 years.