The Wide-Ranging Impacts of Clean Water: The story of Gloria

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Gloria pumping clean water a borehole maintained by CO2balance

The CO2balance team in Uganda conduct monthly visits to the boreholes to visit the communities, listen to feedback and carry out repairs. In February they met Gloria, who is the caretaker of Aminalucu borehole in Dokolo District, Northern Uganda.

Gloria is 39 and married with 5 children. She lives in Dokolo District – Lango, Northern Uganda and is a water user of Aminalucu Borehole owned by the community and under the maintenance of the CO2balance Uganda Safe Water project. She serves the role of the borehole caretaker on the water user committee and is responsible for the hygiene and use of the borehole by other water users. She lives approximately 100 meters away from the borehole and takes about 30 minutes to collect water adequate to meet their daily domestic water demand. Due to the proximity of the borehole to her household, she collects water 2-3 times a day which serves her entire household for all their basic needs.

‘Before CO2balance rehabilitated Aminalucu borehole, my children and I used to travel over 4 kilometres to a seasonal open well and would spend a lot of time collecting water, leaving other home duties unattended to. Due to the distance to the only water source we had, we would only make one trip to collect water which was not enough for our family needs’ narrates Gloria.

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Gloria and two of her children at the unsafe water source they relied upon before the CO2balance project

‘I am using the time saved to offer my labour to farm owners who will pay me as I plan on starting a poultry business with the money saved so that I can generate more income for my family needs. I am also happy with my position as a caretaker of the borehole because it has earned me respect in society and among my friends. With the time saved I am also able to attend water user committee meetings and contribute ideas towards the maintenance of our borehole’ concludes Gloria. At the moment Gloria is a maize farmer and, with the time saved by the borehole project, she’s been able to build a granary for storing the harvested maize.

She continues to say:

On two separate occasions, I was beaten by my husband for delaying at the well and not making his dinner on time. He did not understand the distance that we had to travel to collect water and later boil this water so that it is safe to use. Also on several occasions, my two daughters had to miss school because they had to accompany me to collect water from the far off open well and since it was a very unsafe trip, we had to set off at around 8am which meant that they had to skip school’

Gloria is happy that now she has enough time to engage in other domestic and productive work like cooking, cleaning, collecting firewood, washing and there is no more domestic violence in their home. Her children are able to attend school and she’s hopeful that they will perform better at school.

The Uganda Safe Water Project offers so much more than clean water. The time saved offers women the opportunity to engage in income-generating, leisure and social activities, as well as serving the community as part of the borehole committee. As mentioned by Gloria, the burden of collecting water is eased for children, who are then able to spend more time in school.

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Feasibility Assessment in Zambia

Many community members are very satisfied with the provision of clean and safe drinking water from our projects.  Following the repair of rural boreholes, we receive comments like this one: “We have no more stomach problems or frequent cases of typhoid” says one man months after the rehabilitation of his village borehole.

co2balance and Vita are currently  enabling clean water development in East African countries like Eritrea and Ethiopia. Wanting to expand the impact of their successful water projects, Vita and co2balance are now looking at starting further activities in Zambia.

To get a first  impression of the situation on the ground, co2balance Director Mark Simpson and Vita’s Head of Programmes John Gilliland recently visited the Southern African country.

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Meeting with potential partners as well as viewing broken and repaired boreholes, co2balance and Vita are building contacts and assessing the potential for new projects – capable of improving rural livelihoods and reducing carbon emissions.

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We will keep you posted…!

 

 

Go Ahead for the ‘Lango Safe Water Project’ in Northern Uganda

Expanding on its successful activities in Northern Uganda, Co2balance has just listed a group of 12 new Gold Standard Projects in the Lango Sub-Region.

The ‘Lango Safe Water Project’ seeks to increase access to safe water supply for thousands of households within the six districts of Dokolo, Otuke, Alebtong, Kole, Lira and Oyam. Focusing on boreholes, the project will utilize a variety of zero-emission technologies like hand-pumps or solar-powered pumps to provide water in rural communities. With over 45% of the rural population in Uganda relying on unprotected and easily contaminated water sources like rivers, lakes or open wells, the project shall reduce the need for water purification and the combustion of firewood.

 

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Unprotected water collection point in Alebtong District.

In the Lango region, many boreholes have fallen into disrepair because maintenance proved too expensive or programs have been poorly managed. Co2balance will use carbon finance to work with community groups to deliver a long-term rehabilitation and maintenance program. Stakeholders are currently invited to provide their feedback towards the project until the middle of October.

 

 

 

 

CO2balance Registers 2nd Gold Standard Borehole Rehabilitation Project in Kaliro District, Uganda-GS3563

CO2balance are pleased to announce the registration of a second borehole rehabilitation project in Kaliro District (GS3563) under the global micro Programme of Activities (mPoA). Together with the support from the local NGO Women’s alliance and Children Affairs (WAACHA), CO2balance works closely with a range of stakeholders such as district officials, mechanics and community leaders in order to ensure that our projects benefit the most vulnerable people. During my last visit to Kaliro, we organised a meeting with the District water officer, who explained some of the challenges affecting rural water resource management in Uganda. Among the key problems he mentioned, was the lack of capacity to cope with borehole maintenance and repairs. Although most boreholes are owned by the communities themselves, the costs associated with maintaining them are simply not affordable, which means that the responsibility falls on the shoulders of the local government. As shown in the chart below, over 98% water points are funded by the government.

Over 98% of funding for water points comes from the local government. Source: Directorate of Water Development, Ministry of Water & Environment, 2010

Over 98% of funding for water points comes from the local government. Source: Directorate of Water Development, Ministry of Water & Environment, 2010

Even though a significant part of the District’s annual budget goes towards the maintenance of water points, it is clearly not enough to cover the demand. This means that many communities are often left with no other choice but to collect there water from unprotected sources such as swamps, rivers and ponds which are highly susceptible to water borne diseases such as typhoid.

A women collecting water from an open well in Kaliro District

A women collecting water from an open well in Kaliro District

A broken down borehole in Kaliro District

A broken down borehole in Kaliro District

Located in the south-west of Uganda, Kaliro District has a total population of 202,200 people of which only 13,282 reside in urban areas. Current sources estimate that approximately 37% of the rural population are still without access to protected water sources. Of the people that do have access to potable water, 99% rely exclusively on boreholes and shallow wells. Considering the lack of financial capacity of the local government, combined with the overwhelming importance of off grid water points-using carbon finance as a means to implement sustainable water point maintenance programmes provides a practical solution to this problem and could potentially contribute significantly to enhancing water access throughout the poorest regions of the globe.

Meeting with the Kaliro District Water Officer and Director of WAACHA

CO2balance meeting with the Kaliro District Water Officer (left) and Director of WAACHA, Noah Isanga.

CO2balance and WAACHA visiting boreholes in need of repair

CO2balance and WAACHA assessing broken down boreholes in Kaliro

More boreholes rehabilitated

In partnership with our local NGO partner Rwandans4Water, we have finished the rehabilitation further 30 boreholes in Gatsibo district this month. According to the data collected on the field, it means that at least 15,000 more people have now access to clean water, many of them are young children. Borehole users are also involved in community sensitization programme and in the monitoring so our project partner can always have the most up-to-date information from each and every boreholes. Rwandans4Water  have complied a fantastic video of their ongoing work in the district which also features the projects we are working on together, please have a look!

WASH programme in Uganda

Any development practitioner would confirm the fact that without effective community engagement no clean water project can be successful, no matter how much energy, time and money spent on the project by other stakeholders. That is why CO2balance has launched a more participative WASH sensitization and community engagement programme in Kole, Otuke, Alebtong and Dokolo districts, where our borehole projects are implemented. The aim of the programme is to educate, train and engage communities on basic water, sanitation and hygiene issues in order to keep the water at both the borehole and the households level clean and fit for human consumption. Even when the water source itself is safe, water used for drinking may get contaminated because of poor water-handling practices or unsafe storage. That is why effective and continuous WASH sensitization in the communities is a very important part of our four Ugandan borehole projects. Andrew, our in-country-coordinator will soon report from the field with more updates on the programme.

Borehole user fetching water in Dokolo

Borehole user fetching water in Dokolo

Field trip in Uganda

As my Ugandan colleague Andrew already indicated in his previous post, we had a very intense one week in Uganda in early July visiting rehabilitated boreholes and meeting with our in-country partners to assess the on-going works. I feel very lucky that I had a chance to see our projects on the ground and to be able to talk the communities. Some of them shared their joy about the clean water the boreholes have been delivering since the rehabilitation and some other provided invaluable feedback how we can improve the projects to make an even bigger impact locally. Following up the lessons learned during this trip, we are currently working closely with our in-country partners to launch a more participative WASH sensitization program. We are hoping that this sensitization programme will mobilize those communities too that seemed a bit more reluctant to engage actively in the projects and encourage those communities who have been doing an amazing work to keep the boreholes safe and running.

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Alebtong

The most rewarding part of the journey was to see that we are working in an area where these kinds of projects are very much needed.  The decades long civil war has left the Northern districts without viable infrastructure for water supplies. Most of the population have relied on NGOs for years to provide the most basic services needed for their every-day life, however as the situation stabilized and international NGOs left, the government could not yet fill the gap in providing these services. It is great to see that through the carbon component we can commit to at least a 7-year period to maintain boreholes and to provide clean water services in Alebtong, Dokolo, Otuke and Kole. By involving the communities in the every-day running of the boreholes and providing education on WASH issues, we want to ensure  the sustainability of the clean water supplies, not only during the lifespan of the project but hopefully well beyond.