The Kigezi Diocese Water and Sanitation Programme - or Kigezi for short - works with rural communities in the south west of Uganda to change this story. They want to see communities of people being able to collect water close to their homes. They want to see them using that water well, implementing hygiene practices that keep people safe, and adapting to climate change.
Kigezi succeeds in this life-transforming mission by working through the local church, uniting the whole community around a common goal. They teach everyone about the importance of hygiene, and challenge practices that have led to disease and illness. They work with communities to help them identify the resources they have and what they are able to do. Their aim is always to leave communities more united.
KDWSP provides practical help to enable people to access safe water. Simple harvesting tanks store rainwater that gathers on roofs and gutters. These have the advantage of being constructed close to people’s homes, removing the need to travel to collect safe water.
In order to bring such tanks to communities, KDWSP provides the materials needed and trains people in constructing tanks. This means that they have not only been empowered to change their own situation but that they have also developed skills that impact the rest of the community. As others see the benefits of tanks demand for them grows, creating paid work for the trained group.
KDWSP helps protect existing water springs and installs gravity flow schemes. Gravity flow schemes are spring-fed pipelines that bring water to communal tapstands. Communal tapstands serve several households from a central location where people can collect water. These are used rather than boreholes in Kigezi, where the terrain makes drilling difficult.
Doreen and Jouvllet know what a difference this makes. Thanks to a rainwater harvesting tank built near their home, they no longer have to make the long trek up and down the mountain. Now they have clean water close to their home, and they can concentrate on their education.