The Kicuzi Water Health and Sanitation Project

Clean Water, When It Matters Most. 

The Kicuzi Project (Phase 2a) began back in the middle of the pandemic when we thought we’d have to change course completely, so we are unbelievably thankful to share this report with you today! The official groundbreaking took place in September and the progress since then has been amazing, including the extension made possible by your generosity over Christmas.

As a result of this project, households are now within half a kilometre of a tap stand so their water collection time is less than 30 minutes round trip (i.e. walking, filling the jerry can, and returning home). This means that people living in poverty have more time to put into education (i.e. basic education for children – especially girls), cultivating gardens for nutritious food, and working outside and inside the home to care for their families.

Households surveyed acknowledged that having clean and safe water in their community has enabled them to do various activities like having backyard gardens for vegetables which are irrigated in the dry season, they are able to spend less hours walking to fetch water as they engage in side business, which can generate household income and also have more time for farming.” 

– Rawlings Akamanya, Programs Manager: Engineering – Uganda

Below is a summary – slightly more technical in nature – showing what we believe is the strength of our Monitoring and Evaluation process.

CLEAN WATER

This system can serve 2,400 people with 6,000 Litres of clean water every single day! This includes the extra extension to 300 people that you helped us add because of your generosity, specifically over Christmas!

EDUCATION 

281 students at Kagyera Primary School now have a private, clean, safe and secure latrine, as well as a sanitation committee responsible for maintaining the facility and continuing education for the school community on good sanitation practice.

PARTNERSHIP

Parents and school leaders contributed both funds and labour to the construction of the latrine at Kagyera Primary School.

On average 84 community members (23 women, 61 men) showed up daily on 12 different occasions to excavate the trenches for 4.5 kilometers of pipeline and to ferry heavy construction materials to the construction site – materials such as sand, cement and other construction items required for the build.

A total of 2,652 labour hours (4 hours per person) were contributed In-Kind by community members toward the construction efforts of the project.

The District of Ibanda partnered with us on this project, providing over $10,000 toward the cost of materials for the water system.

Over 500 Canadians like you gave in the middle of a pandemic to make this dream a reality.

Household-to-Community Transformation

HOUSEHOLDS

302 households in 2 villages were trained in critical sanitation and hygiene knowledge. A soap-making workshop was conducted for WASH Cluster Heads teaching them how to make liquid and bar soap, and how to construct tippy-taps (handwashing facilities). These community leaders then initiated the formation of community-based cooperatives that could use soap making as an income generating initiative. Equipped with the knowledge that hand-washing is key to preventing the spread of Covid-19, families can rest easier knowing they have the means to protect themselves.

The Community Engagement Within Our Approach

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

Community training sessions were conducted to encourage people to take the lead in the process of improving the water and sanitation conditions in their own communities. Village Health Teams, local government officials, and community leaders were equipped to become local change agents in Water And Sanitation Hygiene (WASH) for their communities. These people may also serve as WASH Leaders tasked to work with clusters of 10 households to improve their standards of living in the home – much like having a nurse as your neighbour helping you look at how your house is set up and how to manage it in a way to best protect your family from disease.

Many people have not had the water supply for proper hygiene, nor have they been taught important hygiene practices – like the importance of hand-washing. A community-based Central Water User Committee is formed from local volunteers, and trained on how to govern community resources for the purposes of maintaining the water system that we install. Similar to a condominium strata, the Water User Committee is composed of water users from the community, tasked with collecting small monthly payments from households that go toward the operational and maintenance costs of the water system.

The Central Water User Committee is responsible for governing local financial contributions in order to sustain the infrastructure long-term. To equip people with the skills needed for this role, Acts teaches bookkeeping and governance practices that help committee members to understand their responsibilities and be able to raise local resources for the long-term maintenance of the water system. We consider ourselves in partnership with the communities, and this partnership includes the expectation that local beneficiaries collectively raise their own financial contribution toward the project.

This financial contribution is made over time in the form of user-fee payments, which cumulatively equates to 1% of the total cost of the infrastructure. It is calculated that 1% of the total cost of a Gravity Flow System is required for ongoing operational and maintenance costs. The beneficiary communities for phase 2a of this project have raised 34.9% of their part towards the operational and management needs of the water system. Our team continues to support these committees with training and technical knowledge, as well as to monitor whether or not the community is successfully raising the money needed to maintain the system.

Our post-project evaluations are still underway, but overall we have seen improved sanitation and hygiene status of these communities, decrease in waterborne diseases, less time required for collecting water meaning more time for income-generating activities, reduced vulnerability of women, girls, and children, as well as restored dignity and confidence in students and teachers. All of these things lead to an improved quality of life.

And the good news doesn’t stop flowing there! We recently received notice that a beneficiary of our WASH program in Kicuzi became the recipient of having the best sanitation in a household out of all four Sub Counties in the area. This award, presented by the Ibanda District Local Government, extends the appreciation for our WASH program in supporting the advocacy and development that they bring to proper sanitation and increased livelihood. We are thrilled to receive this recognition and the hope that it brings to the work that is put into our WASH programs.

(This is Wills Bananuka, the owner of the household that won for best sanitation improvement, receiving his award)

You, our community, have been a pivotal part of this Kicuzi Project! Thank you for helping achieve such great impact by helping to change lives for generations to come. We can’t wait to share the continued progress!

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