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Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

Water is critical to sustaining life and for improving rural livelihoods. The Center for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods is working to provide access by the people of the Kamuli district to safe and sustainable sources of water. By drilling boreholes throughout the region, CSRL has supplied clean water to thousands of families, enabled the irrigation of crops and provided for the care and well-being of livestock through the dry season. Safe drinking water along with sanitary toilets, hand washing facilities, and basic sanitation and hygiene procedures protect people from illness and disease and WASH Venn Diagramenable communities to be more resilient and productive. The result is fewer waterborne illnesses and more time devoted to school and income-generating activities. Overall, WaSH supports school attendance, nutrition, economic growth, and improved livelihoods.

Some of the approaches we utilize include:

  • Provide WaSH instruction and training for schools and households
  • Install boreholes in strategic locations to provide for the many needs of households, schools, and medical centers: human consumption, cooking, hand washing, watering gardens, etc.
  • Install cisterns at each borehole to store runoff water, making sure this precious resource isn’t wasted and ridding the area of standing water, which can attract malaria carrying mosquitoes.
  • Promote stored water systems for watering gardens and livestock, reducing over-use and maintenance issues at the boreholes, especially during the dry seasons.
  • Promote and install roof catchment systems and tanks to collect and store runoff and rainwater
  • Facilitate formation, training and operation of community water user committees. The CSRL Program Officer and District Water Officer work together with the communities to build their capacity to take over management of the boreholes. The Water User Committees in each community is trained in both theory and practice of borehole management. Small user fees insure community members are committed to repairing the borehole in case of any breakdowns.
  • Establish model homes as training centers for overall health and sanitation practices including hand washing, drying stands for dishes, proper garbage disposal and improved latrines.
  • Install Tippy Taps (hand washing stations) at places such as schools and teach people how to build their own for home use
  • Provide off-ground seating for school lunch
  • Provide instruction on soap making and facilitate soap production through income generating groups
  • Provide instruction on cleaning and making dish drying racks for schools and home use
  • Facilitate cooperative use of water pumps for crop irrigation which enable better yields for budding entrepreneurs during dry seasons. {Youth farmers pay a small fee for their use, which helps cover maintenance costs and reinforces the principles of business ownership}.

Continuing goals include:

  • Reduce diseases caused by improper hygiene and sanitation practices through education and improving facilities at the household, school and community levels
  • Provide improved access to adequate and safe community managed water for domestic and agricultural use
  • Continue installing borehole/cistern systems until all communities in the district have access to safe water (as of February 2021, CSRL has installed 24 boreholes)
  • Increase the number of model homes as training centers for overall improvement of water, hygiene and sanitation practices
  • Increase local leadership through water management training
  • Assist livestock farmers to improve animal health and milk production by constructing water catchment on local farms, thus increasing access to water year-round
  • Improve irrigation to enable school gardens and farmers to have bigger, more productive gardens year round
  • Continue teaching the importance of health, immunizations, personal reproductive health and development of life skills
  • Develop best practices publications in both English and Lusoga languages

Remembering a shining star from Buyende District

Remembering Jackson NteebaAfter floods swept through Buyende District in spring of 2020, ISU-UP supported displaced families and farmers with food, blankets, and seeds to replant crops that had washed away. The community also needed to replace public latrines to reduce health risks. CSRL had received special COVID relief and rehabilitation funding for the latrine project but still needed to identify an appropriate location on higher ground that would serve the community.

As fate would have it, the perfect location would be found for the project through a family with long ties to ISU-UP. Construction was completed and the public latrine facilities were dedicated in February 2021.

The land for the project was donated by Kapala Silve, a brother of Jackson Nteeba. Jackson was a onetime undergraduate student at Makerere University who was part of the CSRL Service Learning School Garden Program in 2008. He said the experience transformed his life.

“I am empowered in so many ways,” Jackson said in a story published in the 2008 CSRL Donor Impact Report. “This has strengthened my social responsibility as a citizen and exposed me to community needs. I feel like I can and should do something for my community.”

ISU faculty recognized Jackson’s academic ambitions and selected him as the first Makerere service learner to intern at Iowa State in 2009. He would thrive in Ames, graduating with a PhD in genetics in 2014. His dissertation, titled “Impact of metabolic perturbation on ovarian function,” examined the effect of conditions such as hyperinsulinemia induced during obesity and heat stress on impaired fertility in humans and production animals.

Jackson was working in Kansas City, Kansas, when he passed away Jan. 7, 2021, after being diagnosed with liver cancer. He was 35.

Colleagues remember him as a stellar student with an infectious smile. In a tribute published on the website of the Society for the Study of Reproduction, Aileen Keating, his PhD advisor, wrote that Jackson “was truly a part of our family” in her ISU lab.

“He experienced the Iowa corn harvest in a huge combine harvester with Dr. Jill Madden’s family. When we went to conferences, Jackson used to amaze us by managing to pack the smallest travel bag imaginable, and yet every day he had a different outfit!”

He pursued postdoctoral work at the University of Iowa and the University of Kansas Medical Center, receiving a fellowship from the American Diabetes Association to support his work at KU Medical Center. He published 11 original research papers.

“Jackson’s legacy is his willingness to always help others, a principle of CSRL. He had a deep understanding of the children’s lives, which the ISU-UP activities aim to assist, and was a role model to all of the children,” said Gail Nonnecke, CSRL associate director for education programs.

He is buried at his parents’ home in Buyende District.

To make a gift to the Center for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods, please click here to go directly to the ISU Foundation, or contact Sarah Roelfs at (515) 294-1031 or