Water harvesting is an example of a big problem being turned into an opportunity. The problem? It rains heavily in Kanyike so soil is eroded and roads can be damaged. The simple solution? 'Harvest' the water by collecting it from roofs and channelling it into large, metal storage tanks (which are protected from the weather with brick and plaster). Then this water can be used for irrigating crops or boiled for household use. A win-win situation! Another task successfully undertaken by the UK building team. Click here to read more. Our current aim is to install these tanks on all the Project’s larger buildings.
Simple changes to everyday life can reduce water-borne disease such as malaria. These changes start in the home, so the Community Based Healthcare Teams travel to the villages (on bikes provided by UK funding) to demonstrate the need to consistently boil water, wash hands and use clean jerry cans. Counsellors demonstrate good practice. Washing cooking utensils at a distance from the house, (so dirty water can drain away rather collect and stagnate), for example, or digging and using proper pit latrines at a distance from the house (rather than using a convenient bush). This all part of the on-going health-care programme.
Life expectancy is increasing - we must be doing something right!
And in March 2018, fresh water flowed for the first time from a single tap at the heart of the community. This has been a longstanding goal. Until then, ALL water had to be carried from the springs to the Health Centre. Either people were paid to do this, which is costly, or Kanyike staff had to use some of their salaried time. A supply of piped water enables time and money previously devoted to fetching water to be better used.
The Health Centre will especially benefit. Patients and staff now have easy access to water for drinking, washing and cooking. Cleaning the wards, theatre, laboratories and latrines is easier. High users of water, such as maternity and dental services, will be more efficient. And water can be taken to mobile outreach clinics more easily.
Fires are a major risk in Uganda: the primary school, for example, had to be rebuilt after a lightning strike in 1999. This damage could have been limited if there had been a water supply on site. And we hope the Ugandan government will share the cost of fire-fighting equipment now water is available.
The whole community gains now drinking water is provided, whether travelling to community market days, attending days of prayer or gathering for cultural ceremonies.The benefits are immense now the water is flowing!
Safe drinking water
Finding clean water is a major problem in rural Africa and waterborne diseases are widespread. Long-term work has been undertaken to make the water safer for the Kanyike villagers.
Since 1992, seven of the nine springs have been improved to provide clean sources of water. The fresh underground water supply is channelled through a pipe and the surrounding area is concreted for easy access and protection. Finally, a high fence is built to ensure the water stays clean. No animals can get in to contaminate the water.
For a long time, ALL water has to be collected from these springs in jerry cans and carried to where it is needed. Women and children carried the cans on their heads or wheeedl them on bikes. To get water to Kanyike Headquarters and Health Centre, for example, meant a mile-long walk downhill to the Kakoma Spring and a return journey uphill carrying the water.
Yet progress is definitely being made.
A borehole has been drilled at Magejjo Primary School to provide clean water on site. This is very rare for a school in Uganda. However, the borehole is now in need of urgent repair, at a projected cost of £2,600.