WATSAN raises over £5.2k for Bwambara at The Funding Network

WATSAN Trustee Kate Parrinder delivered a six-minute pitch to an audience of donors, and managed to raise over £5,200 to build a rainwater collection tank and toilets at Bwambara Hill.

Kate was one of four speakers to pitch their project at The Funding Network‘s Oxford event on 17th May 2018. Following the four pitches, the charity representatives leave the room and a compere chairs a pledging session where audience members can call out the amounts they would like to give to each of the projects, starting at £50. Many generous donors gave multiple significant donations, allowing WATSAN and the other charities to make thousands of pounds for a series of inspiring projects.

WATSAN’s pitch was for the much-needed water and sanitation facilities at Bwambara Hill, where a community of 1,500 people currently only have access to clean water via a single spring. This source frequently dries up due to the climate conditions in the area, and people resort to collecting water from the polluted Rushaya river.

Before pledging started, WATSAN’s pitch was backed up by our sponsor and donor Martin Fosten, who spoke for one minute about why he supports WATSAN, and pledged the first £250. We are very grateful to Martin, whose charismatic delivery certainly helped build our credibility and bring in the pledges!

The funds collected will allow WATSAN to build a rainwater collection tank and latrines at Bwambara Hill, having a huge positive impact on the surrounding community.

Other projects successful at The Funding Network Oxford were the Ark T Centre, Human Story Theatre and Oxford Against Cutting. More information about them and the event can be found here.

If you’d like to read Kate’s pitch to The Funding Network, please download her slides here.

The need at Bwambara Hill

WATSAN’s next big target project is at Bwambara Hill, where we hope to reduce the spread of disease and improve the quality of life for people by building three rainwater harvesting tanks, 19 new toilets, and washing facilities. 

Crumbling latrine at Bwambara Church

Bwambara Hill is a community of around 30,000 people, situated deep in the Rift Valley. The area has recently suffered severe drought and crop failure. Communities largely survive on subsistence farming, and live far beyond the reach of government-provided water infrastructure.

WATSAN’s Field Director Eric Baingana writes:

Children queuing for water in Bwambara“The people living in the Bwambara Hill area find it very difficult to access clean and safe water; there is only one spring called Rugyera spring to which people living in Bwambara town plus schools within the town and in the neighbourhood of this town come to collect water. As a result, there is always congestion at the time of water collection.

“At times, especially during a dry season, some people in order to avoid congestion at the spring, because during this period its flow rate decreases, resort to collect water from river Rushaya, which is 6 km to and from.

“Generally, the implication of this water crisis in the area is that the water haulers Water collection at the Rushaya Rivertake a lot of time either waiting at the spring because of congestion, or travelling a long distance to the Rushaya River to collect water. As a result children miss school, adults find no time to work on their gardens or do other productive work, people use contaminated water which is collected from Rushaya River due to water runoffs when it rains, or contaminated by animals excreta, since animals share this water with human beings.”

A filthy, crumbling latrine at BwambaraThe community comprises a Primary and Secondary School and a trading centre and church. Existing facilities in all of these institutions are severely crumbling and extremely unsanitary – the picture to the left, for example, is the latrine belonging to the church and used by the wider community. Girls at the secondary school have a very basic bathing shelter, which means that when they are menstruating they often simply do not attend school.

Bwambara Primary headmaster's officeWATSAN’s team have already started working with the local community, engaging the management teams of both schools, and talking to community leaders via the existing Bwambara Rukungiri Development Group. The latter organisation will be engaged to form organisation and management committees to care for the structures that are built, but also to instigate local fundraising initiatives to make a contribution towards the hardware and software activities that WATSAN has planned. This includes a planned Bwambara town Walk for Water, inspired by the UK Support Group’s two-yearly fundraising event.

The first meeting with the Development Group has already taken place, and baseline surveys of the natural facilities undertaken by WATSAN’s engineers. Our staff have also met with the headteachers of both schools, the pupils themselves and the Bwambara Archdeaconry. In all cases it was explained that local contributions to co-fund projects are important, as these create a sense of ownership among the beneficiaries, and helps motivates the funders in the UK.

The solution specified consists of:

  • Three rainwater harvesting tanks (30 cubic metres each)
  • Five new toilet blocks (multiple pit latrines and urinals in each block)
  • A new girls’ bathing shelter with eight compartments
  • A community spring
  • Associated ‘software’ activities – outreach and education about health and hygiene, and how to maintain the facilities.

The total cost is £38,000, minus a small contribution by the local community. An initial payment of £16,000 was sent to Uganda in April so that the first phase of the project can begin (one five-stance pit latrine and two rainwater harvesting tanks). This was made possible thanks to the wonderful generosity of donors following our November appeal. We hope to raise funds for the final tank at The Funding Network on 17th May.

If you would like to give to this project, please visit our donation page.

Save the date for our next Walk for Water: 22nd June 2019

Our two-yearly fundraising walk is in the planning stages, and will take place in the Quantock Hills in Somerset.

Quantock Hills

The Quantock Hills are an area of wilderness and tranquillity near Taunton in Somerset, South-West England. Our 18-mile walk will take in panoramic views of heathland, hills and woods, as well as lakes and rivers. The hills have been an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty since 1956.

As with our previous walks, we will make a group booking at a hostel for the Friday and Saturday nights, and meals will be provided. The objective is for walkers to attract sponsorship for doing the walk, which has resulted in the event being our biggest fundraiser – at the 2017 Walk for Water we raised nearly £22,000 for WATSAN.

We are most grateful to supporter Andrew Starr for helping us plan this event.

Please go to our special “Walk for Water” tab for more information!

WATSAN makes it through to The Funding Network Oxford

We are delighted to announce that WATSAN will be presenting at The Funding Network in Oxford in May 2018 – a live crowdfunding event where we hope to raise £3,000-£4,000 for our Bwambara project.

The Funding Network (TFN) describe their events as “a friendly Dragon’s Den”. At the event, four charities pitch a project for funding to an audience of around 100 donors. Each charity has just six minutes to sell their project to the crowd, then six minutes to answer any questions.

After all the charities have pitched, audience members take part in a live bidding session, pledging donations starting at around £100 each to support the projects that inspired them. At the Oxford event, which has been run annually for the past ten years by a team of local volunteers, charities typically raise around £4,000 each when they pitch.

Getting through to the event required WATSAN’s trustees to complete a detailed application form, and we were shortlisted from a much larger pool of applications. We also did a rather nerve-wracking one-minute pitch to the panel over the phone, which gave an insight into how challenging the real thing will be!

Trustee Kate Parrinder will take the stand to make the pitch at the event, and will appeal for funds for WATSAN’s Bwambara Hill project, a community of around 1,500 people that has suffered severe drought and crop failure. The nearest water source is the Rushaya River, four kilometres away by foot. We will ask donors at the event to consider funding one of the three planned rainwater collection tanks in the community, along with associated software/education.

TFN takes place on Thursday 17th May 2018 from 6.00pm at the Ship Street Centre, Jesus College, Oxford. It promises to be a fun and inspiring evening out, and the chance to hear from WATSAN plus three other small local charities (Ark T, Oxford Against Cutting and Human Story Theatre).

We would like to encourage as many supporters to attend as possible – you can book tickets here!

Replacement vehicle purchased for Ugandan team

The new pick-up truck is a crucial tool for the project team to visit work sites, survey new areas for future projects and check up on the maintenance of existing systems.
WATSAN staff standing next to the new vehicle

The vehicle is a white Toyota Hilux pick-up, and cost 56 million Ugandan Shillings, or just over £11,000. WATSAN was lucky to benefit from the expertise of both trustee Stephen Bullett in the UK, an engineer and keen mechanic, and travel agent, broker and Rukungiri local Simonpeter Kansime, who arranged the sale. It replaces worn-out and depreciating vehicle that had been costing the team unreasonable amounts in repairs.

Funds for the vehicle came from the UK Walk for Water in 2017. The team in Uganda is delighted with the new piece of kit, telling us: “It is a strong and speedy vehicle, admired by people at North Kigezi Diocese and beyond!”.

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