For the past several years, our newest partner in Uganda, Bega kwa Bega (BkB) has been working to protect springs in rural portions of the country, but due to lack of sufficient funding, they have only been able to protect about 10 springs each year, when the need is far greater.
Bread and Water for Africa® is taking on the mission to partner with BkB to provide funding for 25 spring water protection sites this year and to continue that number at a rate of two or three per month for at least the next five years – 125 sites!
BkB is planning on protecting springs in six districts: Wakiso, Gomba, Butamblala, Mpigi, Mukono and Mubende with each site to serve about 50 families, representing an estimated 250 children, parents and elders – providing access to safe clean drinking water for up to 6,250 Uganda children, parents and elders where at present there is none.
“The water is unhygienic because it is easily contaminated by urine and human waste, garbage and other materials,” reported Bega kwa Bega (BkB) (Shoulder to Shoulder) manager David Ssagala, Bread and Water for Africa® newest partner in the country.
In the central and western region of Uganda where BkB works, there are more than 200 villages where many residents risk illness, even death, drinking from these unprotected, polluted springs.
According to the World Health Organization, lack of clean water results in 115 deaths EVERY HOUR in sub-Saharan African countries such as Uganda.
Bacteria, viruses, parasites and pollution contaminate freshwater sources resulting in water scarcity which is a major problem even in areas where there is plenty of rainfall. A lack of clean water increases the risk of diarrheal diseases such as cholera, typhoid fever and dysentery, and other water-borne diseases.
“Water scarcity affects one in three people in the African Region and is getting worse with population growth, urbanization and increases in household and industrial uses,” states the WHO.
But it does not have to be that way, and that’s why a few years ago BkB developed a program to protect the springs from contamination by constructing a concrete water filtration system.
“Before the protection of the spring, community members used such water for all their home consumption,” explained David.
Among those who are benefiting today by a water protection project completed by BkB last year is 9-year-old Lydia who until a few months ago spent her days walking miles back and forth from an unprotected water source carrying a 5-gallon container on her head weighing about 40 pounds when she should have been in school.
Through BkB’s water spring protection project program, Lydia’s family, and dozens of others living nearby, now have a steady source of water nearby and do not need to wander far and wide to collect it from open, unprotected sources, according to David.
“The women and girls now do not have to walk long distances in search of safe water, thus minimizing the risks associated with long journeys,” he told us.
According to UNICEF, “collecting water is often a colossal waste of time for women and girls,” estimating that around the world they spend 200 million hours a day fetching water.
The United Nations estimates that in sub-Saharan African countries like Uganda, nearly 40 percent in rural areas improved drinking water sources are more than 30 minutes away. In some instances, girls can spend up to eight hours, round trip, every day to collect water for themselves and their families.
In addition, for girls such as Lydia who daily carry a significant percentage of their body weight in a container on their head, there is a significant risk on musculoskeletal disorders and related disabilities.
“The beneficiaries are always grateful because through spring protection, they are able to access safe and clean water – unlike before protection when they used to have to share these water sources with animals,” says David. “These water sources are used by many households, schools, health centers, churches, mosques and also for income generation.”
The cost to protect a single spring is $1,000, a small price to pay to provide 50 families with safe drinking water, amounting to about $83 a month for one year. Once completed, the life span of each protected spring is between 20 and 30 years.
And with the help of our generous and loyal supporters, in 2020 we will meet our goal of raising $30,000 to provide safe drinking water for 30 villages that will benefit thousands for years to come.
As one can see in our 2019 Annual Report, thanks to the supporters of Bread and Water for Africa® we were able to accomplish much in the past year. This includes providing loving homes for hundreds of orphaned and abandoned children in Kenya, Zimbabwe and Zambia, and educations for thousands more.
This past year, we have made fresh, safe and clean drinking water available for thousands by digging wells in Cameroon, Ethiopia and Sierra Leone, sparing them the risk of serious illness, or even death, from drinking from contaminated sources.
In Ethiopia, Cameroon and Sierra Leone, our medical services program has provided medical equipment and supplies to hospitals and clinics which treated more than 100,000 patients alone in the last year. 2019 also marked a milestone for Bread and Water for Africa® upon the completion of a hospital in Cameroon operated by our partner there, Hope Services.
None of these accomplishments would have been possible without the generosity of our compassionate supporters. We have equally big plans projected for 2020 and we hope you will join with us as we continue our mission of improving the lives of thousands of Africans, especially children, every year.
The Rural Youth Development Organization – Sierra Leone (RYDO-SL) operates the Mokoba Health Center in a rural region where most of the residents of the area are subsistence farmers with an average number of six children who struggle simply to survive on what they can grow.
“People living in this community are in the condition of extreme poverty, and consequently they have not [the] possibility of affording the cost of basic needs such as food, education and healthcare,” says program manager Joseph Ngoniyela Kobba, adding that 80 percent live in “absolute poverty, with income below $1 a day.”
Without access to the free clinic, parents seeking medical treatment for their children or themselves have no choice but to go untreated, or possibly worse as Joseph tells us that “for any chronic or severe diseases they have to depend solely on quacks.
“The quacks are not trained. They depend on limited indigenous knowledge.”
For those very few who have the means, and the strength, their only option is to travel long distances on rough roads to the nearest available clinic or hospital.
Joseph noted that this is especially dangerous for women about to give birth who cannot make it to a faraway medical facility “and are compelled to give birth under the open sky.”
However, Joseph is concerned the Mokoba clinic could be forced to shut down if necessary repairs are not made immediately.
“If the health center is not rehabilitated soon, the maternal mortality, child mortality and morbidity rates will begin increasing day after day,” he told us.
RYDO-SL was established in 1996 by a group of young men and women who wanted to contribute to their community through sustainable development and became officially registered as a Community Based Organization and recognized by the government of Sierra Leone.
The mission and goal of RYDO-SL is “To transform and revitalize the lives or the marginalized and oppressed populations in the communities” and “To rehabilitate a local referral facility providing emergency and immediate healthcare services for Mokoba and its environs.”
In addition to operating the Mokoba clinic, RYDO-SL promotes sustainable agriculture, women and youth empowerment, emergency relief and community rehabilitation projects.
Joseph explained that the need for a clinic is particularly critical in the Mokoba community where life expectancy, at 38 years compared with 45 years for the rest of the country (and compared to the worldwide rate of 71 years according to the World Health Organization) is the lowest in the world out of 183 countries.
The region also experiences high rates of endemic diseases, especially malaria, Typhoid fever, dysentery, yellow fever and HIV/AIDS, as well as from the Ebola virus outbreak of just a few years ago.
“Disease looms as a menace in the region,” says Joseph.
The nearest government hospital to Mokoba provides healthcare services “at a cost which is hard to afford by the rural people.
“Health is wealth, and for a community of 5,600 people if deprived of a free healthcare services will return to the service of quack treatment.
“With proper and adequate health delivery services at their disposal, the people of Mokoba and the four surrounding villages would in the long-term improve their living conditions.”
The people there had long lacked a health care facility in their community until 2000 when RYDO-SL constructed the health clinic, but now, almost 20 years later, the clinic building is in desperate need of rehabilitation, and the people it serves are in desperate need of continuing health care.
Moye had been living a happy life in the small Sierra Leonean village of Kojowolo before the deadly Ebola outbreak of 2014 tragically took the lives of his wife and their two children, leaving the 62-widower all alone in the empty house.
He managed to carry on his life without his family until one day earlier this year when he suffered from an acute respiratory tract infection.
After a few days, his condition worsened. Moye knew he needed medical attention, but he continued to suppress his pain because he had no money to pay for treatment.
“Fortunately for him, some of his friends visited him and told him about the Faith Healing Development Organization (FHDO) El Shaddai Clinic in the larger nearby village of Bunumbu and encouraged him to seek medical assistance,” explained FHDO founder and director Rev. Francis Mambu, a long-time partner of Bread and Water for Africa®.
“Moye was transported to the clinic via ‘hamoc’ (a local swing for carrying sick people) as he was unable to walk the seven miles to clinic on his own and the road to Kojowolo is not motorable,” said Rev. Mambu.
“On arrival at the clinic, he was administered antibiotics provided to FHDO by Bread and Water for Africa. After six days in the clinic, Moye recovered fully and was able to walk unaided,” added Rev. Mambu. “The head of the clinic subsequently discharged him and he happily went home rejoicing.”
As for Moye himself, he had a few words of gratitude to the supporters of Bread and Water for Africa® for preventing what would have been certain death.
“I am now feeling perfectly well with no more difficulty in breathing. Thanks to the FHDO clinic and the supporters of Bread and Water for Africa® for saving my life.”