What happens when the pipes or pumps break down and a community can no longer access water?
What happens if there isn’t funding, supplies, or the knowledge to make repairs?
The Rugarama Village sits between hills and valleys in the southwestern region of Uganda, within the Kamwenge District. In this community, approximately 80 households were using one borehole as a water source. However, the pipes broke down and the village was left without safe water. This meant fetching water from ponds or walking over a mile to the next village. It meant health risks from contaminated sources and the burden of walking every day for water.
But this community wasn’t about to give up.
In September, the people of Rugarama, in partnership with Water For People, rehabilitated the broken-down borehole. And pipes weren’t the only new addition. A newly formed water committee now oversees the operations of this source.
As part of the focus on sustainability, Water For People connects with communities to encourage active voices, pride, and ownership of water systems. Training around monitoring, repairing, and management also take place – together contributing to the long-term sustainability of this work.
This committee in Rugarama is made up of 10 members from the village – men and women who have specific roles related to the ongoing maintenance of the water source.
Joseph Bwanika holds a caretaker role. "I make sure the source is functioning well and I oversee the systems. When there are any issues, I make sure to report them to the chairperson," Joseph shares. "Therefore, I ensure that people have water all the time."
The committee meets regularly, maintains the cleanliness of the water point, requires the community members have clean containers when fetching water, and collects the money that will contribute to the operations and repairs of the infrastructure in the future.
Around 60 jerrycans are filled at this water source every day. And thanks to the committee, the area is a tidy, clean spot to fetch water – complete with a new fence and grass planted around the outside.
Joseph and the other members of the water committee have great pride in their work. Thanks to their dedication, the entire village of Rugarama has a nearby, reliable source of safe water.