Message from the Executive Director

This year has been one of major transition and change, but also a year of blessing.

We’ve relocated to Vancouver and begun to grow our network in the Lower Mainland, as well as keeping up our relationship with the community in Comox Valley. We’ve had two fantastic Water Bash events that together have raised over $30,000. We’re connecting with a more multi-generational audience, a fact that has made 2014/15 our best year ever in terms of donation revenue.

These are all signs of hope for stability and growth as we seek to help more Ugandans gain access to clean water.

However, with the Canadian political decision to drop Uganda as an eligible beneficiary, it seems that there will be no DFATD funding left for any Canadian NGO working in Uganda.

We have one year to find $500,000 annually in new funding, so that we can bring clean water to 15,000 Ugandans in 2016.

One year is a short time to reach this goal, but we trust that the right hearts will be moved so that our mission can continue.

As we work toward this goal with confident hope, there are three ways you can help:

  1. Become a Source Supporter and donate monthly.
  2. Introduce us to potential major gift donors in your network.
  3. Consider a special donation, over and above your regular giving, to our Water Fund.

I cannot thank each of you enough for your support. Your generosity, prayers, advice, and encouragement are all part of the amazing story of a thousand Canadians making freedom possible for hundreds of thousands of Ugandans.

Blessings,

Nate Lepp

Executive Director

Hope’s Story

The village of Nyakabungo, one of several small villages in the Kintu region, sits at the base of a large hill where big-horned Ankole cattle and goats graze, watched over by child shepherds. Here, about 1,000 Ugandans live in mud or brick houses that line the base of the hill, each with small plots of land for growing bananas, coffee, squash or beans.

Hope and Kintu Uganda

Hope Kubaryenda lives in one of these mud homes with her husband Bwisho William and three granddaughters—Arinaitwe Patricia (3 months), Kansiime Joan (12), and Kembabazi Fortunate (20). Like many Ugandan grandmothers, she takes care of her grandchildren while their parents try to make ends meet in the city, an hour away. In addition to caretaking, Hope spends her time cultivating a vegetable garden, weaving baskets, and attending association meetings in her village. She is shy but quick to smile and laugh, and her family has benefitted from being connected with a nearby water tap that makes collecting water incredibly easy.

But things weren’t always this way for Hope. Before ACTS brought water pipelines to her village, she would have to walk about one and a half kilometers up the hill to fetch water, about two hours round trip or longer if there was a lineup at the spring.

Sometimes she would humbly ask her neighbours for water, but water was scarce for them as well, and they often had to refuse.

Sometimes Hope would have to go without basic essentials. “I would go a week without bathing because the water source was far from my home,” she says.

She would have to put her grandchildren to work fetching water as well, making them late for school in the mornings, or exposing them to dangers if they went out in the evenings. “I was always worried about my granddaughters being raped,” Hope says. But now she can fetch all of the water she needs on her own since the distance is so short. Her grandchildren arrive on time for school, and are no longer exposed to the dangers of walking paths late at night.

When we asked her if access to water has improved her family’s health, she said emphatically, “Yes!” Typhoid, worms, and skin rashes have all been reduced now that the whole family is able to wash and bathe daily. They also always have enough water to drink—a luxury they had to sacrifice for cooking water on occasion.

Hope has done a lot with those two extra hours each day. She now has time for weaving baskets and allowing her goats to graze, which bring in a supplemental income. She also has more time for gardening, a lifeline for all rural Ugandan women and their families. She spends time in the garden every day—seeding, weeding and harvesting so she can bring a little extra to her table.
ACTS will continue to connect villages in the Kintu region with clean water over the next year, creating new stories of hope.

Project Highlights

  • Two years into our three year Rwera-Kintu project, we’ve almost completed the Kintu system and will spend a good part of the final year on the Rwera system. We’re on schedule and on budget, with 75% of project funding coming from the Canadian government. When the system is completed, over 20,000 new people will have access to clean water.
  • Over 5,000 people in Buhanama now have clean water thanks to funding from Living Water International (LWI), a US charity that has been partnering with us for several years. LWI has contracted ACTS to construct gravity flow systems (GFS) where boreholes—their primary area of expertise—have not been successful. In January 2015, we started another LWI project in Kasanda, which will provide clean water to the same number of people when it’s completed in May.
  • An extension to the Nyakyera GFS, built several years ago, is bringing water to the Shalom Medical Clinic. Previously thought to be too high above the existing branch line, our Ugandan partners and Canadian engineering interns determined a way to make it happen. Funding from the project came from the community itself as well as generous donors from the Knights of Columbus in North Vancouver.
  • In November, in partnership with Urban Systems Foundation, ACTS hired a Ugandan professional community development expert, Boaz Muhangi, and began a three-year water capacity building project focused on the communities of Nyakyera and Kinyamufura. Recognizing that communities need support in governing and maintaining their water systems after completion, Boaz is consulting with water committees, GFS caretakers and water system users as they seek to resolve their own maintenance issues and establish a stronger culture of ownership.
  • We hired our first Ugandan engineering intern, Rawlings Akamanya, a civil engineering graduate of Makerere University in Kampala. He’s been so effective in his work that he’s continuing for another year as a consulting engineer for Rwera-Kintu. He’s also going to begin engineering audits of past GFS projects. This is part of our long-term efforts to improve design and construction, as well as support communities in resolving their own maintenance and governance challenges.

Financials

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