Finding clean and safe water for many Ugandans living in the slum communities means walking for miles to fill up heavy jerry cans. This is often a job for children as young as five. Often the water they collect is from swamps and unsafe for drinking or cooking. We have begun the process of getting several taps put in each community we work in and training people in low-cost water purification technologies. The main purification technique that we are training small groups in is called SODIS and involves UV treating water in plastic bottles using sunlight. This helps anyone have access to safe, clean water without the cost of boiling.
Sanitation issues in the slum communities are often shocking. Hundreds of people share just a couple of pit latrines, which are often crumbling and overflowing. They usually have to pay to use the toilet that makes it a luxury they can’t afford. Instead people can resort to using plastic bags which are then littered around the slum. Children go anywhere they can find space, so sewage runs through every alleyway, spreading disease. We aim to work towards a solution to this by building pit latrines for the community to use and maintain. We have already built blocks of toilets in both Kasubi and Banda and are working on building toilets in every slum community we work in to be managed by community members and free for children to use.
The easiest and most simple activity that we do as a team is to encourage general sanitation and good habits, such as hand-washing. This sounds very simple but can make a huge difference as keeping hands clean can save lives. To address this the team give sanitation advice and we are trialling an awareness campaign using a set of murals in Banda slum (above) about making simple hand-washers and the importance of hand hygiene.
’80 per cent of all sickness in the world is due to unsafe water and poor hygiene, and much of that is due to poor hand-washing.’
World Health Organisation