Dit artikel kan hier in het Nederlands gelezen worden.
These last weeks, a team has been working hard to construct a rainwater collection system in Butenga village, which is located on the Lake Bunyonyi surrounding hills. While we will usually choose a (primary) school for this purpose, we certainly had our reasons to build this system in this particular village.
First, of the approximately 600 residents of the village, more than 25% are elderly, which is much more than most other villages in the area. For this group, the daily walk all the way down a steep path to the lake to fill their 10 or 20 liter jerry can with polluted water and then having to carry that upwards is a very difficult task. Many of them depend on the children of the village for it. Yet, as also described in this article, for young children it is not only extremely heavy to carry out this task, it simply also often means that they miss precious morning hours at school. With the rainwater collection system now present the elderly people are no longer depending on the children for water collection, while many children of the village no longer have to miss precious morning hours at school.
Second, we know that among the children that live in Butenga village there are around 90 pupils of Bwama Primary School, the school we are helping to safely transport their pupils from and to school. These children are not so likely to miss precious morning hours at school, since they have to catch our boat that will transport them to school already early in the morning (missing the boat means having to use a canoe to travel to school later in the day, which is not preferable, because of the risks involved with it). Yet, instead they will often, at their young age, still be sent down the steep hill to fill jerrycans with polluted water from the lake and carry those to their village after a long and tiring day at school. So, also for this particular group pupils of Bwama Primary School the newly constructed rainwater collection in their village means that a heavy and also time consuming burden is taken off their shoulders.
The system has been attached to a small house, with the elderly couple living in that house managing it and our team managers keeping an eye on it; to create extra surface to collect water from, an additional roof on poles has also been constructed.
On average 55-60% of the human body consists of water (for babies that percentage is even 75!) and for a good health it is of course important for that level to be maintained. Yet, the sad truth is that the majority of the Ugandan rural population has no access to safe drinking water. While water is known to be the source of life, this is nothing but heart breaking! When taking also into consideration that Uganda has even the youngest population in the world (the median age of the population is not even 16 years), it is not so difficult to conclude that the living circumstances for many people are extremely difficult and improvements badly needed; one of our goals is to realize more rainwater collection systems in the Lake Bunyonyi area (whereby focusing on schools built on top of the surrounding hills) in the coming years.
We thank two foundations in the Netherlands for making this investment financially possible, also Kabareebe Hardware for delivering the needed parts and building the system, and of course also the people of the community who have helped with the construction!
HWMCO-Nederland & NiCA Foundation
‘We Fight Poverty by Bringing Development.’
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