Rural Uganda’s Water Crisis: Get Involved, Water You Waiting For?
Uganda. Officially known as the Republic of Uganda and nicknamed the “Pearl of Africa”.
Home to Africa’s tallest mountain range and largest lake.
It is undoubtedly a stunning country with friendly faces and abundant wildlife.
But did you know that Uganda has one of the worst water supplies in the world?
Did you know that 61% of Ugandas do not have access to safe water?
That is 24 million people who are unable to preform daily tasks that we take for granted like washing and cooking.
Many families have to drink unclean water, in some cases, the water is being shared with animals and it causes rampant disease. In fact, 75% of diseases in Uganda are caused by unsafe water.
In order to get clean water, children must walk for long distances, sometimes up to 2 kilometres, every day to fill up a few cans for their family. In many instances, the children are walking alone, unsupervised by their parents. The adults of the family have to go to work everyday in order to earn essential money for the household which means that the children must make the gruelling daily journey by themselves. Children frequently are unable to attend school and miss lessons and homework because they are too busy collecting water for their family.
Some areas in Uganda can have high crime rates and these children put themselves at risk of being attacked, beaten, robbed and raped every day because they don’t have a choice. The tiring walk needs to be done or else their family will not be able to cook food that evening.
It is heartbreaking that these children don’t get to be children at all. They don’t get to spend their days learning songs in school, playing games with their friends and enjoying their young lives like the children in developed countries do. These children are given harsh responsibilities from a young age, they are deprived of an education due to their duties and they don’t even know that this is not the life they should be living.
When these children can attend school, so often they are lethargic from fetching water beforehand, they are desperately dehydrated and because of this, they are unable to learn or pay attention to their lessons.
They say that the human body needs two litres of water a day to keep healthy and hydrated yet, in Uganda, it is commonplace for a child to go without a drink of water for an entire day.
It is a devastating reality that something that we come by so easily and cheaply, is also something so badly needed by so many people. Clean, safe water is a basic human right and it is agonising that in this day and age, there are so many people without it.
The Ugandan government are more than aware of this distressing issue and they have announced that they want to reach every citizen with clean water by 2040. This may seem like a long way away but this is a very ambitious goal and brings hope to many rural Ugandan families that are facing this water crisis every day.
There are many organisations that aim to help the Ugandan government achieve this goal like WaterAid and WaterForPeople.
There are also other smaller groups, like Amigos, that are trying to help families faster by building rainwater harvesters in rural villages and near schools to help make safe water much more accessible. By building these tanks, the children don’t need to make the long trips every day, they can focus on their schoolwork and they are healthier and happier.
Great work is being done by these organisations but more can always be done until this problem is resolved.
If you would like to read more about the fantastic efforts that these groups make to improve the quality of life for the people of Uganda and maybe even get involved yourself, have a look at these links below.
Lizzie tries to do her best to make a positive change in the community and she regularly volunteers
to help the homeless and the elderly living alone. She’s also been part of an organisation called
Junior Achievement and has gone to schools to teach children from disadvantaged areas.
She has taken part in numerous fundraising events for many different charities and organisations.
She’s done everything from fasting to skydiving from 10,000 feet.
Her hobbies include gaming, reading, playing the ukulele, zumba, cooking and trying to befriend her
grumpy pet hedgehog, Peeves.