- Rural women in Uganda have become beacons of leadership for water sanitation
- The Kikunyu Kwagala Women’s Group has already built 125 special wells
- Their work method allows them to maintain the wells on their own, and educate themselves with better hygiene
A group of rural women in Uganda are taking charge of their region’s water crisis, with an innovative sanitation project they have been implementing in their community since 2012.
The Kikunyu Kwagala Women’s Group, based in Luweero District, has already built 125 rain water harvesting tanks. They also work with their members to encourage them to build and use latrines, kitchens and more adequate washing facilities. Even the garbage disposal pits have been exemplary for other communities to look upon.
The work these women have put forth is radically changing the lives of many around them, through the improvement of sanitation and hygiene conditions, essential for a better level of life.
Agnes Namuga Mugwanya, the group’s chairperson, comments that many residents used to depend before on water from dams, which took a toll on the amount of hours they dedicated to that labor. She adds that now “we harvest rain water and store it and this has been helpful, especially with farming.” A local woman, Jane Nabawanda says her family used to hike for about 7km to find water, but now kit is “right in our compounds,” she affirms.
This simple yet radical change in their water-gathering routine has also made a positive economical impact. Funds that were otherwise used to treat contaminated water are now invested in other projects.
The key to these womens’ success has been a mixture of hard labor, teamwork and will to learn, according to Edward Lukwago an officer at Busoga Trust. “They have mastered the art of constructing and maintaining the water tanks,” he says. This means they do the cleaning themselves, and have even being hired by other communities to perform these maintenance jobs, thus receiving more income.
Another positive outcome of this magnificent project has been the radical reduction of the typical consequences of using the same water with animals, which is the case with dam sources. Their children contract much less diseases due to improved hygiene and sanitation practices.
Part of their increased education has also benefitted them in other areas, such as malaria awareness. “We clear the bush around our homesteads and ensure that we do not have breeding grounds for mosquitoes,” Lukwago says.
The women have now become leaders, and they have even received funds that will help them expand and promote similar projects in other areas.
Here is the information of another excellent water project in Uganda: