The Water Crisis in Uganda
Uganda has been independent since 1962, but the government structure is still changing and many people have no access to basic water and sanitation facilities. Access to safe water supplies throughout Uganda is 65% and access to improved sanitation is 48%. Although the number of people with access to safe water and sanitation has improved over the past 10 years, there are still many communities (both rural and urban) that rely on contaminated water sources such as streams and open wells. More than half of all residents in Uganda do not have access to improved sanitation, sharing overcrowded pit latrines or practicing open defecation.
High population growth (more than 5% annually) due to migration to informal settlements stresses water and sanitation resources that are currently available. In unplanned urban settlements near Kampala, residents pay up to three times more for safe tap water than residents living in planned urban communities. As a result, residents collect water from alternate contaminated sources. This causes frequent outbreaks of waterborne diseases such as cholera and dysentery.
Without access to safe water, Uganda's many farmers struggle to grow crops or earn a living. There are also many nomadic communities who are difficult to reach with services. The lack of clean water and safe sanitation traps them in poverty. In urban areas, large slums exist without proper drainage or toilets, leaving waste to gather in and around people’s homes.
More Water Facts
- Over half the population in Uganda lacks a safe place to go to the toilet.
- 8.8 million people in Uganda don't have access to safe water. This is almost a quarter of the population.
- Over 22 million people don't have access to adequate sanitation in Uganda, almost two thirds of the population.
- Over 12,000 children die every year from diarrhea caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation in Uganda.
The Water4 Solution in Uganda
After learning about the global water crisis, Bank2 — a community bank headquartered in Oklahoma City — was inspired to help. Through a unique fundraiser that involved both employees and customers supporting Water4, volunteer efforts, and payroll deduction programs, Bank2 raised enough funds to help the Young Men Drillers drill ten wells in Buluwe, Uganda.
Not only do more than 1,000 people now have ready access to clean water, but Bank2 has created a culture of giving in their organization that extends beyond its walls, to its customers, and to its community. Bank2 employees even flew to Uganda to help drill the final two Bank2-sponsored wells.
Young Men Drillers are an officially registered business in Uganda with an office in Gulu. The team is constantly on the move working to provide clean water in every corner of Uganda. In 2014 they were trained by Water4 on three separate occasions, and they served as Water4 trainers themselves, training a local team in Uganda and one in neighboring DRC.
In 2015 they plan to drill 40 wells and are learning new skills such as rain water harvesting, alternate hand pump installation, geophysical surveying, and tool fabrication. They will also continue to serve as Water4 trainers, expanding their influence to Southern Sudan and Kenya as they strive to expand their business and have a positive impact on their nation.