Message from the Executive Director

With only a few weeks remaining in my tenure as Executive Director, there is much to reflect on. To begin, I want to share a few images from my final trip to Uganda just over a month ago.

In John 15:16-17, Jesus says: “I chose you. I put you in the world to bear fruit. Whatever you ask of God on my behalf, he will give you. But everything depends on this command: Love one another.”

To carry out acts of love. This is ultimately what we were created for. These words reminded me of the beautiful acts of love given and received in Uganda.

A pregnant woman in Bwirambere returns three times to the tap turned on just minutes before to fill up a glass cup with clear, clean water. “So sweet!” she says, grinning. The glass is passed from one person to the next, each drinking two or three cups.

A dozen women and children break out into spontaneous singing and dancing, a swirl of brightly colored dresses and flashing smiles.

Because of the gift of water, many will feel more human, freer to bear their own fruits of love within their families and communities. Isn’t this ultimately what we all long for?

In the long story of ACTS—almost 45 years—literally hundreds of thousands of images like these have been made possible because of your love for a distant stranger. I’m honoured to have been a small part of these acts of love over the past three years. As I pass the torch to a new Executive Director, it’s my hope and prayer that hundreds of thousands of these stories are still to come.

Nate Lepp, Executive Director

An Impossible Choice

Aisha Fears for her Children Every Day

When we meet Aisha Kyomugisha, she is carrying a bunch of bananas and string beans on her head like a fascinator. She’s a bit of a fashionista, rocking a missing tooth and a great smile. She is beautiful.

Aisha is the mother of five children ranging from age 4 to 18. She lives in Nyakasozi, a small village a few kilometres from the end of the first phase of our Kataraka water system. The project was put on hold when we lost a major funding partner, so Aisha and her family continue to wait for clean water to arrive.

“Water is a big problem here. Even the students from this school get water from a dirty spring,” she says, pointing to Nyakasozi Primary School behind her, where two of her children attend. Sometimes there’s not enough water to clean the dishes, or to clean clothes, or to bathe.

“Water is a big problem here. Even the students from this school get water from a dirty spring” – Aisha Kyomugisha

Twelve-year-old Rashidah, Aisha’s daughter, is the oldest child still living at home, so the task of collecting water primarily falls to her. This means up to four trips every day after a 1.5 kilometre walk to the high school up the road. The path makes her anxious. There are snakes and dogs. The whole community uses the same source, so there are often lineups to collect water, too. This means even more time wasted for Rashidah, who’d prefer to be playing soccer or studying. After all, she wants to be a doctor someday!

12-year-old Rashidah makes four trips to a dirty water source every day.

Aisha is faced with an impossible decision every day: send her children to the nearby spring to fetch water and risk catching waterborne diseases, or send Rashidah to a stream much further away with a lower chance of disease but a higher threat of rape. Sometimes it’s simply too much to decide, and they go without water.

But you can ensure that Aisha never has to make such a daunting decision again. With your help, we can bring clean water to Aisha, Rashidah, and 5,000 of their neighbours living in Kataraka Phase 2. Please give today.

It All Starts With Water

The last three years have been a time of major transition for ACTS. Over the past 20 years we’ve relied heavily on funding from the Canadian government, but in March of 2016 this support was discontinued. We also recently lost a second institutional funding partner who had been supporting us for the last five years.

Despite these budget cuts, we’ve been blessed with abundant generosity from donors like you, and we’re so thankful! In fact, the number of people who give to support our Water, Sanitation & Hygiene mission has nearly doubled over three years. We also now have 120 Source Supporters, as well as a group of 169 faithful supporters who have been giving for more than 10 years!

By the time you read this, we’ll have finished our GFS in Bwirambere. This system will bring clean water to 6,400 Ugandans! Over the next 12 months, we also plan to complete two more GFS projects in Nkomero and Kataraka (Phase 2). These will bring clean water to 9,600 Ugandans.

Please continue to give generously to bring health and freedom to Ugandans.

1 ACTS designs each water system with a serving capacity for 20 years of population growth. This number represents the total that all operating systems serve at full serving capacity. 
2 All numbers reflect ACTS’ fiscal year: April 2016 through March 2017. Numbers have not been audited.
3For every dollar invested in water and sanitation, there is a $4.3 return in the form of reduced healthcare costs” according to the UN.

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