Wednesday, September 26, 2012

GWWI Report From the Field: Girls No Longer Miss School Thanks to a Newly Installed Rainwater Harvesting System

The Global Women’s Water Initiative Team has been traveling through East Africa to visit the women teams that were trained in our 2011-2012 year long training program. Meet the people whose lives they are changing.

GWWI Team - Gemma Bulos, Director; Rose Wamalwa, Kenya/Tanzania Field Coordinator; Comfort Mukasa, Uganda Field Coordinator

“You cannot even study when you are thirsty. Even the work of the school administration becomes difficult.”  Administrator at Amuria High School

The 200 female boarders at Amuria High School in Amuria, Uganda no longer have to leave their classes to fetch water or miss school entirely when they were menstruating thanks to GWWI graduates Florence and Eunice of Orphans and Widows Association for Development. Florence and Eunice received funding from a local WaterAid partner who not only sponsored them to build a rainwater harvesting system with a 15,000 liter tank (approx. 4000 gallons) on their dormitory but also to a cleaning bay where the girls can bathe between classes when they have their period.
The 200 girls who live in the school dormitory would be required to fetch water during school hours, which could sometimes take up to 3-4 hours increasing their risk of getting attacked and defiled. When they got their periods, they would miss school entirely or even drop out because there was not enough water for them to clean themselves.

Student fetches water at the new tank behind her dorm
According to the school health officer, having the rainwater harvesting tank and access to water has created so many opportunities not only for the girls but also for the school. The school kitchen would have to wait for water to cook, and now the meals can be served on time so the girls have the energy for their studies. Sometimes up to 5 girls a day would faint from dehydration, but now have clean water to drink. The project even united families in the community who came together to donate time and materials for the construction of the tank. And the most exciting, according to the head teacher, the money they saved from spending 8000UGX per day on clean water (approx. $3.25US) and medical expenses when students fell ill from water-related disease (upwards of 300,000UGX approx. $120US/week) as well as donations from the community, the high school has been able to accumulate over 11million UGX (approx. $4,400) of the 18million they need to complete construction of a borehole that will serve the community at large.

Water is changing the game in Amuria. And everyone WINS!

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