By Nicholas Shawn Mugarura
Access to safe water for drinking and domestic use was characterized by moving long distance with very long lines for the residents of Kanara for several years, before the establishment of a motorized borehole constructed by UNHCR in partnership with CAFOMI. To date the operations and maintenance of the Gravity flow scheme is undertaken by the CAFOMI WASH team.
With these water challenges, fetching water from the lake became the new normal and consumption of this water subjected the community to water borne diseases due to contamination from cattle and human discharge.
Gloria Tuhaise, 47, a mother of four girls, one of the residents benefiting from the water facility, said that “before the establishment of the water taps in the community, we were depending on water from the lake yet some people were using the lake for dumping human waste since a few households had toilets. Now we can get water from the tap which is clean and safe compared to the one from Lake Albert. We thank CAFOMI for the intervention, the prevalence cases of diarrhea and dysentery have reduced as a result of drinking clean and safe water”.
The poor water quality and inadequate accessibility had serious consequences on social and health status of the households. Productive time was wasted trekking to the lake and since fetching water is culturally the responsibility of Women and children this led to increased domestic violence and sexual abuse to and from the water source.
Tuhaise narrates that before the establishment of the water system and the taps placed closer to them, there were increased cases of women being raped from the lake as dusk fell.
“Now I even send my daughters to fetch water knowing that they will come back home safe.” Tuhaise said.
According to Gilbert Ariaka, CAFOMI WASH Assistant, Ntoroko Transit Centre, the water is disinfected with chlorine to kill disease-causing pathogens, such as bacteria, viruses, and protozoans that commonly grow in water supply reservoirs, on the walls of water mains and in storage tanks. They also do daily inspections and monthly cleaning of water tanks to avoid contamination.
The water facility has the capacity to supply 30,000 liters of clean and safe water. There are nine tap stands, 36 tap heads supplying water to POCs and host community. This water is also supplied to Stella Maris Health Centre and this has improved on health services in Kanara, failure to access safe water compromises the quality and procedures of services at the health center.
CAFOMI continues to lobby for funding from good will ambassadors to support provision of WASH services to communities in need, especially the most vulnerable in dire need.