Rhoda’s Walk for Equity

A Young Women’s Struggle with Water Poverty and Equity

It was Rhoda’s grandfather Kazoora who first introduced us to her. His grandfatherly pride swelled as he spoke of the goals and dreams she had for her own future. But living in Nyakabungo, he also admitted he feared the impossibility of those dreams becoming realities.

For all of Rhoda’s life, their family’s primary source of water had been an unprotected spring, an hour and a half away from their home. This meant Rhoda had never known a day she wasn’t late to school because of the hours spent fetching water for the day’s use.

 

“I used to walk very long distances to collect water from the spring, sometimes the dam. It would take me almost two hours to go and come back home. I would get backaches, muscle pains and my neck would be hurting from carrying heavy jerry cans on my head for so long.”

The reality is that 1 in 4 Ugandans lack access to clean, safe water and Rhoda’s family was one of them – living amidst great inequity as a result of water poverty. This reality is what motivates us to continue partnering with people like you in the fight for a more equitable world.

Research in sub-Saharan Africa suggests that women and girls in low-income countries spend 40 billion hours a year collecting water—the equivalent of a year’s worth of labour by the entire French workforce. As a result of this gender inequity, the walk for water robbed Rhoda of energy, time, and opportunity – leaving her little time to focus on school, family and the dreams she had for her future.

For Kazoora, it wasn’t just that the walk Rhoda took daily to fetch water was long that concerned his grandfather’s heart, but more so that it was dangerous. He feared for her safety and wellbeing.

Studies show that women are 8x as likely to fetch water as men. This likeliness robs women of the chance to earn an income and increases the likelihood of sexual assault. For Rhoda, walking for water opened her to vulnerability and left her at high risk of encountering assault or damaging injury.

But then one day – thanks to this generous community caring enough to help Rhoda out of water poverty –  a tap was installed near her house. This changed so much for Rhoda! She now walks just a short distance to fetch clean water in safety, spends her extra hours in school pursuing her dreams, and confidently shows the other young women she meets what it looks like to truly flourish in a thriving community. 

“There is now a big change in our home. We no longer have to carry heavy jerry cans on our heads for long distances. We can even fetch water at night with no fear of anything happening to us.” 

For Rhoda, the walk was never just about water – it was – and is – about the example of a fiercely resilient young woman longing for a world in which she’d have access, opportunity, safety, respect & dignity 

We believe that a more equitable world – a world filled with more opportunity, more potential, more thriving – starts when people have access to clean, safe water. Thank you for your help in making the world Rhoda lives in, that much more equitable.

When you give $10/monthly today, you give one more young girl like Rhoda clean water for life.

 

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