Urgent Evoke

A crash course in changing the world.

Building Community - Managed Water Projects

Access to clean/ safe water still remain a very big challenge in many developing countries. Piped water remains limited to major trading centers, towns and big cities. The wider communities living in the rural areas and on the country side have resorted to exploiting the unprotected water sources; swamps, lakes, rivers and ponds.

Of course there are not many options, the boreh*** constructed by the government in conjunction with international NGOs breakdown and are not serviced as required. This basically makes the maintenance of these boreh***s very hard and unsustainable.

Well, I am not saying that the boreh***s have not helped people. In my home village, all the three boreh***s that were constructed broke down after just one year. Why? A boreh*** is a machine. It used regularly and as a result, technical failure is expected. But what happens when it breaks down? It should be serviced. And who is going to service it? The people (contractors) who installed did not put this in consideration. The locals who use it were not trained on how to fix it should it have any problems.

A quick flashback on the communal wells:

In my home village we also had the communal unprotected wells where everyone can draw water for domestic use. In Uganda almost each and every village has a local council (LC) which oversees what takes place in the village - from rural sanitation to violence. On many occasions there was a special day arranged for community to clean the well communally. This is because the well is owned by the community. Today, you can rarely find people cleaning the well communally.

One question keeps on bouncing back in my mind: What happened to this spirit?


The project is located in Nakyerongosa Parish, Kakiri sub-county in Wakiso District, Uganda. The villages in Nakyerongosa where the project is being implemented are Kiterede, Lusaja, Kambe and Busuja. Nakyerongosa is located about 48 kilometres west of Kampala city along Hoima road.

Nakyerongosa community project hopes to increase access to safe water, latrines and good hygiene practices among the people in their parish. It also hopes to increase awareness of the need for good hygiene practices and a reduction in the incidences of diseases associated with drinking unsafe water and poor sanitation and hygiene practices. Through the project, the capacity of the community will be strengthened through training programmes.

Since the launch of the project, the beneficiaries [communities] have positively and actively participated in the implementation of the project activities. Community members have portrayed a high sense of voluntarism, cooperation and team work. In addition, the local leaders are excited over the project and want to ensure that the project succeeds.

The planned activities for the project are: mobilization of locally available materials and resources for other materials, training of community masons, training of volunteers in the promotion of good hygiene practices and community based monitoring teams in monitoring skills, block making for 2 hand dug wells, protection of 2 ordinary wells, construction of 3 hand dug wells, construction of 6 water jars and construction of 1 school tank.

The Village Water Committees!

Many projects have not been that successful because of poor planning and implementation strategies. A boreh*** is built in your community: WHAT NEXT?

Appoint a committee of locals to manage follow up on how the boreh*** is performing. Boreh***s are not very reliable water sources as they can dry up at any time. Sometimes the water is rusty and can breakdown if not well serviced or maintained. This is why we need “the village water committee” (could be appointed or voluntary) to ensure that the water sources and boreh*** are well protected and clean at all times.

We also need to sensitize the communities [each and every individual] on their role in ensuring sustainable clean water access in the community – on this regard I reckon the role of the youth in “village water projects” considering they are very flexible and energetic.

Soon as we achieve self sustaining village water projects then we can start sharing our experiences with the communities or villages around us. Identify how we can improve on our projects or advise communities to apply our best practices learnt from experience.

In a nutshell I believe this is what we need to improve water access for every community, household in rural areas and developing countries.

Views: 34

Comment by Shakwei Mbindyo on April 27, 2010 at 12:38pm
+1Sustainability. This is a great example of how sustainability can be achieved by partnering with communities.
Comment by John D. Boyden on May 1, 2010 at 4:50pm
+1 sustainability. Leadership, collaboration and mutual benefit can keep projects working.


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