Message from the Executive Director
Water has been a hot topic for so many across the country this year, especially in the Lower Mainland, where we’ve experienced an unprecedented drought. And yet, even with this shortage, we are still blessed with a convenient, safe water supply for functions that are essential for health, productivity and simply feeling human.
In Uganda, for the first time, communities are learning to take responsibility for a shared water system serving thousands of people every day. These systems are designed to last generations, but that will only happen if they are managed properly by a community that understands the responsibility that comes with this life-changing gift of infrastructure.
If we imagine ourselves in the same situation, I think we would acknowledge that more than just a user’s manual would be needed for new major infrastructure to reach its full potential.
Our experience here in Canada might suggest that this should be no problem and that solutions for management should be easy to implement. Yet if we imagine ourselves in the same situation, I think we would acknowledge that more than just a user’s manual would be needed for new major infrastructure to reach its full potential.
This has certainly been our experience as we’ve worked alongside Ugandan communities. They value the water, and many are grateful to the point of dancing and singing when they receive this amazing gift, yet they have no prior experience of the cooperation and coordination that’s needed to sustain it. As often happens in the development sector, some are accustomed to having someone from the outside fix it. There are disagreements over how unfamiliar problems should be resolved. Community leaders sometimes act in their own power interests, rather than for the sake of the community. In other words, they are just like us.
I’m personally quite excited to be bringing greater focus to these complex challenges. In the stories that follow you’ll meet some of the amazing Ugandans that are leading the way.