Water pumps ! What has happened?

A great start has been made on the rehabilitation of water pumps and protected springs in the Kalungu District of Uganda. This is thanks to the efforts of our local partners and UK donors along with the affected communities.

There are probably over 350,000 hand water pumps in Africa. Unfortunately, many are not functional and, typically, at least one third are unused. Communities without a working water pump are forced back to using dirty water.

Our display photograph clearly demonstrates the results of poor maintenance of water pumps. This mother is collecting water for her family from a swamp, most likely contaminated with animal faeces and nearby pit latrines. But there is no other source of water and the family will almost certainly suffer from diseases carried in the dirty water. Only 20 metres away there is a broken pump originally installed by a major international NGO.

Instead of being in primary school, her young son will help her to fetch water by carrying a jerry can of dirty water back home.

To vast numbers of people in rural sub-Saharan Africa this is normal life and during a visit in October 2013, one of the Kisoboka trustees was shown many similar situations. After discussions with our partners and input from the local communities, a project proposal was developed.

Proposal for Water Pumps Project

An assessment of functioning and non-functioning water pumps in Kalungu Sub County, Uganda was conducted by Kalungu District Local Government in conjunction with Notre Dame Community Outreach Association (NDCOA).

It discovered that within the District, 35% of the water user committees (WATSAN) no longer existed and water pumps were not functioning, leaving the communities with no choice but to go back to the open water sources.

The major objective of the project is to address the reasons for pump failures in a specified area. This will be done by promoting community based management approaches through education and physical participation as well as providing money to carry out repairs and creating a stock of spare parts

Funding for Water Pumps Project

Kisoboka developed a detailed proposal and has received funding for this project from:

  • Living Water Africa – fights water poverty by funding the building, fixing and maintenance of water wells in rural Africa. Learn more about them here.
  • Kitchen Table Charities Trust – supports the work of small charities such as Kisoboka, you can meet them here.

Water Pumps project – Phase 1 completed.

The Donors and Kisoboka agreed that the project should be split into two phases so that the positive effects of the local methods could be seen before making further funding available.

Phase 1 is finished – What has been done so far:

  • A protected spring now supplies clean water
  • Two water pumps are now back in use
  • WATSAN committees have been set up in communities to…..(manage water supplies/upkeep)
  • A survey of those suffering from waterborne diseases in the pump user areas has been made
  • A stock of spare parts has been bought to ensure ongoing maintenance
  • Bank accounts have been set up by the committees for long term upkeep

Phase 2 will start soon.

Several more pumps will be repaired and reintroduced as working water supplies. As with Phase 1, committees will be set up and funds collected from pump users will be saved in bank accounts, meaning spare parts can be bought when needed.

The Future

This project is just a beginning in solving the health problems created by failing pumps. The experience gained and lessons learnt will be shared throughout neighbouring communities as well as in other districts.

Already, recommendations have been made to develop a proposal for promotion of sanitation and hygiene in these communities to transform them into model communities by moving forward from the safe water provision project.


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