Friday, March 22, 2013

Happy World Water Day!

By: Patrick Tulibagenyi 
Edited by: Tiffany Hsieh

Today, developing countries are still struggling to access safe drinking water and improve sanitation levels - especially in rural communities. This phenomenon occurs primarily among poor communities where water and sanitation related illnesses like diarrhea are prevalent.

In addition to causing illness, shortage of safe drinking water in rural communities has far reaching effects which are both socioeconomic and gender based.

In rural Uganda, women take the lead and are charged with the responsibility of collecting water for domestic use. They walk long distances and spend a large amount of time in search of clean water which could be used to do other productive ventures like agriculture.

In order to boost the economies of developing countries, we need to increase access to safe drinking water in rural communities. 

The Uganda Village Project has been implementing a water, hygiene, and sanitation (WASH) program in the Iganga district of rural Uganda and for the last ten years.  UVP’s programs are unique because we leverage community partnerships in order to guarantee the longevity and ownership of the safe water systems. These systems include a shallow water well, water treatment resources, and community education. UVP works directly with the village leaders and citizens, who agree to provide 60% of the total cost through in-kind contributions. The village also elects and trains a water user committee that is tasked with the local responsibilities both during and after the project.

Village members contribute their time and labor to ensure the success of the project

Since 2007, fifty shallow wells have been constructed to increase access to safe drinking water. We have also conducted sanitation campaigns and since the year 2009, we have conducted campaigns in 18 villages. As a result of these campaigns, villagers have been gradually changing their behavior and started putting in place sanitation facilities like Latrines, plate stands, trash pits, tippy taps etc.

At the opening ceremony for one of our completed wells

Today, the Uganda Village Project joins the entire world to celebrate World Water Day because are dedicated to serving the villages of rural Iganga to ensure a healthier Uganda.