For years, Bread and Water for Africa® has constructed water wells and supported clean water development projects to provide life’s most vital resource. That mission is now more important than ever as communities throughout Africa lack clean water sources to wash their hands and protect themselves against the pandemic we all face right now.
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 $15,000 to provide safe drinking water for 30 villages that will benefit thousands for years to come.