A tank turned into

But I must explain to you how all this mistaken idea of denouncing pleasure and praising pain was born and I will give you.

Ann’s story of relief from long treks in search for clean water

Anna Poses in front of her newly constructed tank

Uganda is blessed with beautiful nature scenes and topography; however, this in some parts of the country, becomes a hinderance to accessing basic water supply and sanitation services. Africa Water Solutions is working towards providing people with approaches to access safe and clean water and suitable sanitary and hygiene conditions.

Many districts of South-Western Uganda e.g. Kabale, Rubanda, Kisoro & Kanungu are extremely hilly and steep. Households in these areas settle along the slopes of the hills with only a few water sources that are located in the valleys. While there’s much water during heavy rainfalls, there is also prolonged dry spells yet the people predominantly depend on agriculture.

Anna Akankwas a resident of Mpungu village, in Rubanda district had to walk for 6 hours to fetch only one twenty-litre jerrycan of water before Africa Water Solutions constructed a rainwater harvesting tank for her home. She narrates that the tank has given her and the family relief from those long and tedious journies across hills to fetch water.

“Before I got the tank, I used to wake up at 6:00am to go and fetch water. I would find long lines because the well is only one; on top of that, the path there is rocky and steep and after all those struggles I would only leave with just 20-litres of water which is not even enough for my house household. My children were always late for school hence poor class performance,” explains Anna.

Primarily, the water source for the entire community is one well, the long distance and queues are an everyday struggle for people as they fetch water. The main occupation is farming-and spending hours daily to fetch water is troublesome and leaves them unproductive in the gardens.
Anna’s life and that of everyone in her household has since changed after receiving a rainwater harvesting tank in her home. As a mother, she has many responsibilities to take care of like cooking, washing, cleaning in addition to farming. Today, with no struggle of getting water, Anna has more time to fend and look after her family.

“Since we got the tank, I prepare my children for school on time, cook and go to the garden on time. Because I was gardening late or not at all after spending long hours while fetching water I was unproductive. But now, I don’t have to wake up so early to go the well, water is at my door-step” Anna testifies.

How a tank turned into a miracle

Adrian and Wife

Clean water is only part of the story in bringing lost lasting health changes to rural communities. To achieve the greatest health benefits, improvement in sanitation and hygiene must be made alongside access to clean water. Karungu is one of the highly water stressed villages in Rubanda District.

Adrian Ruzamaba, 69 years old, and Hope Audria, 67 years live in Karungu village, Mpungu parish, Hamurwa sub-county. They currently stay with 3 of their 10 and five grandchildren. Before receiving the WASH trainings, Adrian and his family used to drink untreated water from the pond that was shared with animals and were in-and-out of hospital due to water borne diseases.

Hope Audria holds a SODIS bottle

“The money we used to spend on treating diseases like intestinal worms and flu is now saved in the village savings group. It helps us pay the children’s school fees and buy other household items like soap.”

Washing hands after visiting the toilet and before eating food was unusual and seemed water wasting and his grandchildren hardly bathed and suffered from skin infections (Dermatitis). Due to old age, it was difficult for Adrian and his wife to travel up and down the hills to fetch water and therefore their grandchildren often missed school to first fetch water; because of the water scarcity, the grand children rarely washed their school uniforms in order to spare the little water they had and consequently they would have to wear dirty uniforms to school. The family would sometimes have to pay someone 2,000Ugshs (52 cents) to fetch a jerrycan of water which was too costly for them given their economic status.