At Christmas we appealed to our generous supporter base to help us get over the line at Kihihi Hill. This community was desperately in need of revived sanitation, with female pupils at the local high school sharing one squalid toilet cubicle between 64 girls. Thanks to the usual spirited response from our supporters, alongside a successful pitch at The Funding Network in London, we were able to send funds to the field and the team has completed much of the work already.
The two six-stance pit latrines that were the fundraising focus have now been constructed – one for the girls in Kihihi High School (pictured above), and one in the neighbourhood church. In their report to trustees for the first quarter of 2020, the team writes:
“This latrine consists of well aerated 6-stances of pit latrine and a changing room for girls. In addition, there is a provision for a ramp for the disabled girls, a provision for emptying the pit latrine once it fills up, a 300-litre rain water harvesting facility (tank) where girls wash their hands immediately after accessing the facility, and a front curtain wall for privacy purposes of the people using the latrine. We are happy to report that the above facility has so far been of a great help, especially in the reduction of congestion for girls accessing latrines within the school.”
Restrictions around the COVID-19 lockdown in Uganda had slowed progress on this project, and in particular this may affect their ability to carry out some of the ‘software’ (education) elements of the project. Whilst the ‘hardware’ (construction) components are still able to go ahead, the coronavirus crisis risks putting the WATSAN staff team and their projects in financial peril, for example because the cost of living is increasing and jobs within families may be very precarious.
We are therefore not resting on our laurels and are continuing to fundraise concertedly to ensure that WATSAN can supply some stability, and crucially continue to deliver water and sanitation to some of the most deprived communities in Uganda – something that will be all the more important in the present context, where awareness of and facilities for hand washing are even more critical than usual. Our next priority water and sanitation project will therefore be announced soon, for which we will urgently need funds, alongside funding a new truck for the team on the ground.