WATSAN’s team on the ground mobilised members of the local community to clear undergrowth around water sources, carry raw materials to the site, and participate in training.
Buhunga gravity flow scheme is an ambitious project to make the most of multiple natural water sources (“water eyes”) in a rural area near to Rukungiri in South-Western Uganda. The eyes had the potential to supply water to a population of 2,183 people from six villages, including three primary schools and one secondary school. Existing provision in the area consisted solely of one protected source, a sedimentation tank and a community spring – and all these existing structures required repairs and improvement.
As well as repairing the existing facilities, WATSAN is building a brand-new intake at the water source, a large reservoir tank, and 11 kilometres of pipeline leading to 15 new community tapstands and 16 new toilets. This will make a huge difference to people living in one of Uganda’s poorest regions.
As with all projects, WATSAN ensures that the local community and ultimate beneficiaries of this work are involved at every stage. For the Buhunga project, locals have been providing unskilled labour towards the start of the work, removing bushes around the water source using hoes, slashers and pangs. During this process they had to battle with local wildlife, such as a swarm of bees that was disturbed during the clearance work!
Following this, community members were tasked with carrying raw materials needed for the construction work to parts of the site that vehicles could not reach so that WATSAN’s skilled craftsmen could build the required structures. Finally, three community meetings were organised by WATSAN staff, aimed at educating beneficiaries on hygiene and sanitation, and give them training on the maintenance and financial management of the facilities. This should ensure that the project is sustainable and that the community takes as much ownership as possible over ongoing good use.