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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

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene When the global pandemic hit in 2020, we all become very familiar with the guideline: Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds with soap and clean water.

Going to the washroom and turning on the tap is something we tend to take for granted. Now imagine fighting the COVID crisis when the water you need to haul home for use is from a sketchy source a mile away.

A CSRL annual objective is to sponsor at least one borehole (deep well) per year in communities most in need throughout Kamuli district. The ISU-UP WaSH team also conducts household sanitation training including instruction on how to build tippy taps (simple handwashing stations). Tippy Taps have become visibly more common in household compounds since the pandemic began.

The ISU-UP team also helps to distribute soap made by participants of ISU-UP’s Community Income Generation Innovations program.


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 sroelfs@foundation.iastate.edu.