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For Community-Driven Global Development

Giving Circle Funds Clean Water in Uganda

Just last year, a group from Silicon Valleybegan a Giving Circle aimed at improving access to sanitary, potable water and renewable energy in Africa. Our site team and interns paired with KORD (Kakira Outgrowers Regional Development Fund)  to make this happen—and together we were able to reduce water-borne diseases by 50% in just six months.

Now, a little more than a year later— and with a budget of only $3,814—over 1300 households in four villages enjoy daily adequate water supply.

As with all FSD projects, community buy-in and support was key.  This initiative began by holding stakeholder meetings, which mobilized the community, while the human capital and material resources of the giving circle provided a firm base of goodwill and support.

A crucial step in the process was to have water content tested by local government officials. Before commencing the rehabilitation of the protected springs, the Sub County Health Inspectors and their teams measured the volume of water to gauge their suitability for protected spring sites. They all confirmed that the volume concentration was fine, but recommended a different pipe configuration for some of the springs. The community then embarked on delivering sand (both manmade and natural) and stones to the spring sites. Our partners at KORD procured construction tools, ordinary and waterproof cement, PVC pipes, logos, gravel and bricks.

Rehabilitation of the springs commenced with the clearing of the site bush and grass, excavating water drains,  and creating a surface water diversion ditches. This was followed by opening up the spring box to locate the eyes of the spring, which were then protected by clean stones; then, chlorine was applied at the base of the spring. The spring was filled with layers of gravel, hardcore stones and lake sand for optimal water filtration. Finally, a polythene sheet covered with topsoil was applied on top of the springs to prevent surface water and grains of backfill material from entering the stone-filled spring. The head and wing walls were constructed on the spring that will prevent water escaping from the spring.

Following construction, samples of all the four protected springs were sent to the National Water and Sewerage Corporation for a detailed screening of the water. To date, the teams have received results for springs at two villages, Buwanda and Buyola; and all samples where have met physio-chemical characteristics set by Uganda’s National Standards for potable water. Although bacteriological characteristics have not been studied, the National Water Authority has concluded that the water is fit for consumption and does not contain harmful bacteria that can cause disease.

In all ways, this project has proved to be both immediately beneficial to community members and sustainable in more ways than one: KORD’s Board of Directors have agreed to replicate this technology commencing with the 2018/19 fiscal year to increase on access to clean water for communities we serve utilizing the skills of the trained unemployed youth. Equally important, the springs themselves have been rehabilitated and will serve as a source of healthy water for the community in the future as well as today.