Clean, potable water prevents illness and disease transmission, and when used properly, maintains the health of individuals and families. In the communities where we work, rural villagers usually collect water in springs which are not protected: i.e., water sources where animals come to drink, defecate, thereby contaminating the water.
Lyantonde District (southwestern Uganda) is located in the so-called “dry corridor” where drought is frequently experienced. Incorporated within our Microfinance Program, SSF raises awareness of WaSH procedures (water, sanitation, and hygiene), and organizes educational sessions on hygiene practices in food preparation, hand washing, and safe water management. Interventions are also made in environmental protection: women are taught to construct energy saving stoves; they are also supported in the planting of fruit trees (mango, orange, and avocado). The SSF team also instructs women in the building of drying racks, pit latrines, tippy-taps (a jerry can filled with water attached to a tree permitting hand-washing after using the latrine), and water harvesting. Some of the women in the Microfinance Program have subsequently organized as groups of families to invest in water tanks: this allows them to collect and store rainwater for domestic use.
To date, Salama SHIELD Foundation (SSF) has dug three bore-holes in the community. The one borehole located at the perimeter of the Community Development Centre (CDC) services 150 families per day. Each 20 litre jerry-can is sold for a little less than US $1.00. SSF has also constructed commercial water tanks (10,000 and 15,000 litres) at 6 government-aided schools in Lyantonde District, which is used by the students for school use. 35 hand-washing facilities were also given out by SSF to 35 additional schools in Lyantonde District to increase WaSH (water, sanitation, and hygiene) practices. The SSF team regularly follows-up on these WaSH activities and programs to ensure positive behavioural change in the use of water.