Earlier this year, before the COVID-19 pandemic had been making inroads into sub-Saharan African countries such as Uganda, Bread and Water for Africa® agreed to support construction of 15 of our partner there, Bega Kwa Bega’s (BkB), water protection projects.
The projects were expected to ensure safe, clean water for drinking, cooking, washing, and bathing for 3,000 Ugandans from 15 surrounding villages at the cost of about $1,000 each by constructing concrete barriers at spring sites to prevent contamination by humans and livestock.
In his request for funding, BkB program manager Ssagala David explained that the water protection project is necessary to protect the health of the residents of the villages through increased sanitation and hygiene made possible through access to uncontaminated water.
“The available community water sources are not safe, not clean, and not enough for the villages,” he told us. “Water is the most pressing need in these communities and is their first request.”
While due to the pandemic the project had to be put on hold this summer, we are pleased to report that now the projects have resumed with the most recent completed one being in the village of Kyangoma in central Uganda.
“The spring provides water for more than 55 houses, a primary school with 310 children, two health centers, and a church,” said BkB administrator Mary Musubika, adding that the water is also created a source of income for members of the community who use it for molding bricks.
“Before protection, it was an open water source shared by both humans and animals such as cows and goats,” she said. “It had been contaminated with the refuse from the runoff rainwater, dirt from the clothes washed near the spring and children could bathe in the water.
“The community members are so grateful now that they have access to a free, clean, safe, and reliable water source which minimizes waterborne illnesses, hence improving hygiene and sanitation.”
We at Bread and Water for Africa® are very grateful for your continued support.
Thank You! Asante Sana!
Bread and Water for Africa® Executive Director Beth Tessema recently returned from an extended visit to Kenya to meet with Phyllis Keino, our international spokesperson and founder and director of the Lewa Children’s Home, to evaluate its progress and conduct a needs assessment.
From there Beth visited Uganda where she evaluated forming potential new partnerships with children’s homes and brought Phyllis with her “because she knows how children’s homes should be managed and can quickly evaluate whether there is a good standard of care at a children’s home.”
While she was in the country, she also visited our current partner Bega kwa Bega (Shoulder to Shoulder) which Bread and Water for Africa® has worked with to support its education program through the donation of books.
In the past two years, Bread and Water for Africa® has provided 44,000 books to Bega kwa Bega which distributed them to 120 impoverished rural schools benefiting more than 15,000 students.
In addition, Beth visited its organic farming training center and the farm manager who is very well educated in organic farming methods and is a strong advocate for food sufficiency at both the family and community levels.
Beth came away very impressed in the training center, which is used by Makerere University, one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in all of Africa, as an organic farming internship facility.
And she was equally impressed with the model farming sites she visited where she met farmers who are being trained in the best ways to make use of their very small plots of land utilizing every spot possible and learning to plant and harvest throughout the year using crop rotation among other things.
“The Bega kwa Bega program is a great example of how food self-sustainability at a grassroots level benefits family and, eventually, whole communities,” Beth commented. “It is always true that when every family’s needs are met at the grassroots level, the whole community changes.”
Earlier this year, we were able to ship a 40-foot container (approximately 22,000 books) to Kampala, Uganda, where they were distributed by our partner there, Bega kwa Bega to dozens of schools.
Those textbooks and reference books will be used to educate tens of thousands of children and youth in a country where going to school is a privilege that most parents, who being uneducated themselves, cannot afford.
The students who attend these schools fully understand how fortunate they are to be in school and savor every moment in the knowledge that without knowing how to read and write they have little hope for anything more than a subsistence way of life ahead.
These books will be treasured by these children who will first use them to learn simply how to read, and later to expand their vocabulary, and ultimately their mind.
Do the math: 567 boxes + one 40-foot shipping container holding 35,000 pounds of books = 50,000 Ugandan school children in 150 rural schools given the opportunity to not only learn to read, but also develop a lifelong love of reading and learning.
This summer, thanks to our supporters, we were able to do just that. Through our partnership with Books for Africa and Bega kwa Bega (BkB) (Shoulder to Shoulder) for Uganda Orphans, these 50,000 children will have access to more than 20,000 books, including picture and story books for the youngest, and science, math, social studies, health and art textbooks for the older students.
“Most children find it difficult to learn and master reading skills in English due to a lack of books,” says BKB Founder and Director Conche McGarr, who added that the storybooks with colorful pictures will attract young readers “to develop an interest in reading at an early age.”
Conche also noted that the books will benefit the teachers as well who will be coached on how to use the books to the help their students improve their literacy in a country where half the adult population is illiterate.
“Our schools rarely get such an opportunity,” she told us. “Therefore, this donation will be unforgettable in the lives of the beneficiaries and who will be forever grateful for this kindness.”