The Water Trust Executive Director Chris Prottas has today announced funding from The Coca-Cola Foundation to accelerate and support access to sustainable water for more than 54,000 people in Kiryandongo district, Uganda. The project commits to rehabilitate 40 broken down borehole wells, and to establish 180 savings and credit cooperatives, referred to as self-help groups, that will maintain a total of 180 wells, ensuring funds are available for essential maintenance to keep water flowing for years to come. In addition to establishing sustainable access to clean water, the project will provide rural households access to savings and credit, as well as training to build critical hygiene and sanitation facilities in their homes.
Martin Jacan Gwokto, the Chief Administrative Officer of Kiryandongo District, expressed his appreciation for the initiative. "Clean and safe water reduces cases of diseases, saves money that would have been used on treatment, and allows community members to do productive work and earn a living," said Gwokto.
"Currently the district has over 187 dysfunctional water points which account for close to 20 percent of the total number of water points in the district, leading to billions of shillings put to waste. This is attributed to the fact that over the years, communities have developed a dependency mindset where less effort is put towards the operation and maintenance of water points. Once broken, such water points are abandoned until the next new source is put in place. Continuous drilling of new boreholes is detrimental to the [groundwater] potential.
"This project will be a magic bullet to change behaviors in the communities and provide a good boost to the district. I am grateful to The Coca-Cola Foundation and The Water Trust for this initiative which will not only restore 40 dysfunctional water points, but also build communities' capacities to ensure the sustainability of these sources. As a district, we welcome and appreciate this project and pledge to give our maximum support to ensure its successful execution."
This project follows an evaluation of water point functionality in rural Uganda which found significantly higher water point functionality and sustainability where a self-help group had been trained to finance repairs. The survey, which covered 4,862 publicly-accessible water points in western Uganda, found that just 58 percent to 67 percent of water points without a self-help group had any water available at the time of the survey. Of the 744 water points with a self-help group in Masindi and Kiryandongo districts, 92 percent to 96 percent had water available.
In 2023, the project, made possible with grant support of $400,000 from The Coca-Cola Foundation, will target Kiryandongo district, where only 51 percent of water points were found to be fully functional and free of any evident mechanical issues. The project aims to ensure every functional public borehole well has a trained, active self-help group to support its management and ensure long-term functionality.
"We are thrilled to receive support from a foundation that has taken such a thoughtful approach to advancing water sustainability," said Prottas. "With The Coca-Cola Foundation's help, every viable borehole well in Kiryandongo district will have a self-help group to ensure its sustainability by the end of the year, creating a model district that we plan to replicate in southern Uganda in the years ahead."
"Sustainable access to safe water is a priority for The Coca-Cola Foundation, and it's clear self-help groups can play a transformative role in building local capacity for effective water stewardship and long-term success," said The Coca-Cola Foundation President, Saadia Madsbjerg.
About The Water Trust
The Water Trust is a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering the poorest rural communities to provide their children clean, sustainable water, and healthy, hygienic homes. Founded in 2008, The Water Trust has helped more than 300,000 people in rural Uganda to gain access to water, sanitation, and hygiene. The Water Trust aims to help more than one million people in East Africa to gain sustainable access to clean water by 2025, and has enjoyed support from leading funding agencies and foundations, including but not limited to The World Bank, the United States Agency for International Development, charity: water, Deerfield Foundation, Vibrant Village Foundation, and The Water Project. For more information about The Water Trust, visit www.watertrust.org.
About The Coca-Cola Foundation
The Coca-Cola Foundation is Coca-Cola’s primary international philanthropic arm. Since its inception in 1984, The Foundation has awarded more than $1.4 billion in grants to support sustainable community initiatives around the world. For further information about The Coca-Cola Foundation, log on to: www.coca-colacompany.com.