Category Archives: African Village Support

‘Thousands have lived without love, no one without water’

‘Thousands have lived without love, no one without water’
W. H. Auden.

I have recently been involved in a potential shallow well construction project. This came on the back of a UK donor visit in February this year and her assessment of the exsiting wells in the Bukhalu area (Eastern Uganda). It was discovered that the failure of constructing a borehole in Busukuya community a few years back has left the local people with a very limited access to water. A few months back the donor has contacted me with the great news of having money available to construct a new shallow well over there.

The work has been initially stalled by the rainy season, however we have now started the pre-construction work. This is the actually the most crucial part : ensuring community involvement from the very beginning. We held an introductory meeting together with the head of the project – Masindi Juma – local engineer from Muyembe, whereby we have informed the community about our plan. Full and enthusiastic involvement of the community in all phases of the water supply process including operation, maintenance and management is the key to a long-term sustainability and success.  We are now working on identification of the possible location of the shallow well, which involves work of a local district water engineer. I am hopeful we can start the construction phase in the next few weeks.

While it’s the first of such type of projects for me, being involved only with micro-finance and community work previously, I have been thinking about water a lot recently. The world is still not fully aware of the water crisis many of these countries face as a result of climate change. The scarcity of water can lead to conflicts between communities and countries (already present in India, for example).

Worldwide, sourcing of water is rising faster than the growth in the world’s population. The rise is not just due to higher human consumption of water but is also the result of an increased supply and expansion of existing economic activities. One example is the rising demand of animal protein which is highly water intensive. Food insecurity will likely lead to social unrest, as has been the case in the past.

Speaking to communities in Bulambuli – Nabbongo, Simu, Bukhalu and Muyembe in particular – frequent floods and droughts caused by climate change, pollution of river and expanding population mean sever water shortage and poverty since the crops here depend in 100% on the rain water. Our work is to make them aware of these problems and encourage them to rely more on animal rearing and conduct skill trainings to make them less dependant on farming to sustain the families. If we are to end hunger in Africa by 2025 we need to encourage farmers to move away from cash crops and fragile cropping systems and to adopt sustainable and climate-resilient practices. Apart of moving more to rearing, we could also advocate the mitigation of climate change impact through the use natural systems such as drought-resistant varieties of crops, inter-cropping,more crops variety and more efficient methods of water storage. 

Below – assessment of local water sources in Busukuya village, Bulambuli district, Eastern Uganda.

 

 

African Village Support: hello new placement!

Monday marked my first day at the African Village Support community centre which will be my second home for the next 3 months. I have now officially finished my half a year placement with Communities for Development in Bukhalu sub-county which was focused on micro-savings and income generating activities

African Village Support (AVS) is a small charity set up by Marie Cates following the time she spent as a volunteer for Voluntary Services Overseas. Marie lived and worked in a small community in eastern Uganda working alongside local head teachers and teachers. Upon her return she set up this charity to support small villages in eastern Uganda with the aim of helping to improve the quality of life of both adults and children in some small way. The needs are wide and varied ranging from support for the development of basic living conditions, to support that adds some enrichment to daily life. Working as a humanitarian, community based organisation, AVS helps with sustainable community projects, with maternal health, hygiene and education, working with students, women and youth groups in the area.

I’ll be directly responsible for supporting the rural communities through development of livelihood projects, organization of skills / business training and providing various opportunities for economic development for local women, girls and the most vulnerable. Key focus points will be on:

  • Development of the existing and new livelihood projects with women’s groups including needs assessment, business training, budgeting, data processing and analysis and evaluation of the projects.
  • Development of the newly opened community centre through support in fundraising activities, marketing including social media outreach, financials and social activities.
  • Supporting development of the 3-years growth strategy for AVS together with the managers of the community centre and executive committee.

I’m very excited to be on board this incredible organisation!