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.
A typical drinking water storage pot
Drinking water pot
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.
Budumba community attending WASH
Bukongolo community attending WASH
Bukayale community attending WASH
Nansohera community attending WASH
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.
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.
water collection from an unprotected spring
One of the old sources before rehabs
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.
Old rusty pipes to be replaced
New plastic pipes to replace old metalic pipes
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.
WASH sensitizations for the rehabilitated borehole
WASH training in progress
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.
A BIG thank you
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 and Isaac (Project officer)
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.
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.
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.
Fully rehabilitated Barabolo borehole
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.
Scovia’s grandmother’s house
Scovia getting ready to use the repaired borehole
Scovia cleaning her grandma’s compound
Interview with Scovia – Grace and Scovia
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.
Broken down borehole – Telela
Old rusty pipes taken out of borehole
New PVC pipes being installed during the rehabilitation
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.
Rehabilitated borehole in use
Rehabilitated borehole in use
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.
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.
Boy fetching water from an unprotected spring
Girl fetching water from an open source
People queuing up to collected water from an unprotected spring
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.
Assessment in Dokolo
Assessment in Dokolo – Adak
Assessment in Otuke
Assessment in Kole Anyo
Assessment in Alebtong – Awito
Assessment in Alebtong
Assessment in Otuke
Assessment in Alebtong
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.
Surveys are conducted to uncover answers to specific, important questions that are varied, cover a diverse range of topics, and can be asked in multiple formats. Surveys also help to know the impact of a project and serves the purpose of informing decision makers what impact the project has had on the target community. Accordingly, along with other strategies such as use of control groups, it also helps in attributing change in the target population to the project.
As a requirement of the Gold Standard, co2balance conducts monitoring exercises from time to time for purposes of improving the project and keeping it in line with its objectives. These surveys are done annually in randomly selected households and all the work is done with respect and consideration for the local community at all times.
All monitoring studies are recorded on a hard copy which the monitoring team transfers into digital format for analysis documentation and reporting.
Co2balance with its NGO partner WAACHA recently carried out this year’s surveys in the Eastern district of Kaliro and through that were able to generate lots of positive feedback from the community. 3 years down the road, they have continued to use the water and are happy with its quality and yield. Frequent chlorination and water quality testing has also guaranteed them of safe clean water.
Different surveys ranging from project surveys, sustainable development and water usage surveys are carried out.
Here are some pictures from the surveys.
“My name is Omara George aged 49 and I live in Dokolo District. I am a user of the Aminoleke borehole that was rehabilitated by co2balance in 2013. Before the borehole was fixed, my family used to walk long distances in search of water and would collect it from the swamps because the only alternative source was too far away. Having a large family meant we had to collect water twice a day to meet our needs. I was also afraid that my wife and daughters could be attacked or raped while they were collecting water especially during the evening hours since we still had rebel activities in our village. The water we drank was always dirty and I worried my children would become sick with typhoid or other water borne diseases that are common in this area. Our lives have improved so much since the borehole was repaired; the water yield is always good and clean, and most of all I am happy because my family are safe and have more time for going to school and the farm. We are very happy with the project and grateful for all the help you have provided us.”
“My name is Ogwang Paul, I am 11 years old and I fetch water from Atek B borehole. I am happy that we now have a borehole close to our house that provides clean water. We no longer have to go to the lake to fetch water like before. I used to wake up at 5am and go with my siblings to fetch water before going to school. This greatly affected my studies because we were always late for school and missed the first lessons. This greatly affected our performance in school. Now that we have a working borehole close to us, we can fetch water and get to school on time. I want to be a doctor when I grow up.”
Purency Altero Okori aged 60 is a resident of Akwangi village and a user of Akwangi borehole which was rehabilitated and is being maintained by co2balance.
“I live a few meters away from the borehole and this has made my daily life easy. I am able to do my housework on time and still go to the market and attend to my stall where I sell vegetables to earn some extra income for my family. I no longer have to boil the water we drink as the water collected from the borehole is clean and safe since water treatment is done frequently. That means I no longer collect so much firewood for use at home.”
“My name is Adongo Fiona, I am 13 years old and I study in Telela Primary school. I am in level 3 and my best subject is science. I want to be a nurse when I finish school. I am happy for this borehole because I no longer have to travel long distances to collect water for our household. We no longer suffer from diseases like diarrhea and typhoid because the water is clean.
Thank you for this water.”