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WaSH – Boreholes

January 31, 2020

What is a Borehole? Boreholes are narrow wells operated by hand pumps, which tap into the deep water reserves of aquifers (underground layers of water-bearing permeable rock), providing safe, accessible and reliable water for entire communities. IRT are working to fund boreholes in rural northern Uganda. It costs IRT £3000 to install a Borehole. This […]

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Water, Sanitation, Hygiene

What is a Borehole?

Boreholes are narrow wells operated by hand pumps, which tap into the deep water reserves of aquifers (underground layers of water-bearing permeable rock), providing safe, accessible and reliable water for entire communities. IRT are working to fund boreholes in rural northern Uganda.

It costs IRT £3000 to install a Borehole.

This is small price to pay to ensure that no child has to choose between an education and safe water.

Following a period of high population growth, 22 million people in Uganda lack access to safe drinking water – that’s 51% of the Ugandan population. High demand and poor management mean there is a fundamental lack of facilities providing clean water, leading to the spread of chronic waterborne diseases such as diarrhoea and cholera. One effective solution is borehole wells, sources of fresh water which are created by drilling into the ground.

The construction of a Borehole.

The Ugandan government has previously installed boreholes during the creation of camps set up for villagers to flee to during the terrifying insurgency of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). Following the aftermath of the LRA’s destruction, internally displaced Ugandans have been able to move back to their homes, where they are now hours away from the camp boreholes. Villagers are faced with the choice of trekking several miles a day to fetch clean water from camps or make shorter trips to contaminated water sources such as unprotected springs. Often, the job of fetching water falls on women and girls, reinforcing gender inequality as they are unable to work or go to school as a result of travelling on foot for 4 or 5 hours a day.


WaSH – Protected Springs

January 29, 2020

What is a protected spring Springs are a source of water for people and wildlife alike. On the other hand, many of them come out onto a dirty bit of land leading to stagnant water, diseases and ultimately death. Therefore, springs are protected through building concrete steps, a wall and a raised spring around them […]

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Water, Sanitation, Hygiene

What is a protected spring

Springs are a source of water for people and wildlife alike. On the other hand, many of them come out onto a dirty bit of land leading to stagnant water, diseases and ultimately death. Therefore, springs are protected through building concrete steps, a wall and a raised spring around them to ensure it is a more sanitised way of collecting water. The spring water is also filtered through an underground pit with rocks to clean the water.

It costs IRT less than £1,000 to install a protected spring.

A protective spring in a Ugandan village means that the villagers, who previously drank contaminated water with the risk of diseases such as typhoid and cholera, will be able to drink safe clean water. The ability to drink clean water only a short distance from their homes is life-saving. It ensures the villagers can get back to education and work. In particular, young girls who are going backwards and forwards to contaminated water sources, instead of going to school.

Villagers using their life-changing protected spring for the first time.

WaSH – Sanitary Towels (Petal)

January 29, 2020

In many low-income countries, menstruation is still seen as an embarrassing, shameful, and unclean process Consequently, many adolescent girls find themselves unprepared for their periods and how to manage them. Staggeringly, less than 50% of girls in low- and middle-income countries have access to basics such as sanitary towels or tampons, soap and water, or […]

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Water, Sanitation, Hygiene

In many low-income countries, menstruation is still seen as an embarrassing, shameful, and unclean process

Consequently, many adolescent girls find themselves unprepared for their periods and how to manage them. Staggeringly, less than 50% of girls in low- and middle-income countries have access to basics such as sanitary towels or tampons, soap and water, or facilities to change, clean, or dispose of hygiene products.

Across Uganda as a whole, only 22% of girls are enrolled in secondary schools compared with 91% in primary schools.

In rural areas, the statistics are far worse. One factor in keeping girls out of school is known to be the cost of hygiene products. Almost unthinkably, of those who do attend school, many will have to use old rags, dried leaves, grass or paper – sometimes even tearing pages from school books – in lieu of sanitary towels. Such improvisation frequently leads to the contraction of menstrual diseases.

The stigma surrounding menstruation, lack of understanding, and the unaffordability of hygiene products, all leave girls feeling that they have to stay at home. They miss out on 25% of their education and, in many cases, drop out altogether.

Members of a Petal micro-business demonstrating their wares at a Farmers’ Market

In Uganda, IRT is working together with Wessex Social Ventures and our local partners, Organisation for Community Action, to tackle this appalling situation through a scheme known as ‘Petal’. Under Petal, micro-enterprises produce affordable, reusable sanitary towels that are made and sold by local women. In addition, Petal delivers free, menstrual health education to women and men of all ages, with the aim of eradicating social stigmas.

Training of new Petal entrepreneurs

Petal brings numerous benefits to the community, the customer and the entrepreneur. At community level, women and girls are no longer isolated during menstruation. Girls are able to complete their schooling without interruption. This is critical because, over the long term,  education is crucial to lifting communities out of poverty. For the customer, packs can be as little as 10% of the cost of alternatives.

Women gain back 25% of the year to work and study, and girls can attend school with confidence.

For the entrepreneur, Petal provides a source of sustainable income, enabling them to afford healthcare and schooling for their children. The scheme also empowers women, training them to lead small businesses and developing valuable skills. IRT believes that it is a human right to have access to adequate menstrual hygiene, and is committed to continuing to fund and spread the Petal scheme in Uganda.

Petal entrepreneurs are sensitising schoolgirls on menstrual hygiene and the use of reusable sanitary towels. The girls gain confidence, freely share their experiences, being able to talk about menstruation without shame.

WaSH – Toilets (Roots)

January 29, 2020

ROOTS The treatment and disposal of human waste is becoming increasingly important as the world’s population increases. Every year, over 2 million children die from diarrhoeal diseases – the second most serious killer of children under the age of 5 (WHO). The main source of such infections is human excreta. Clearly, the effective management of […]

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Water, Sanitation, Hygiene

ROOTS

The treatment and disposal of human waste is becoming increasingly important as the world’s population increases.

Every year, over 2 million children die from diarrhoeal diseases – the second most serious killer of children under the age of 5 (WHO). The main source of such infections is human excreta. Clearly, the effective management of human waste is key to reducing infant deaths worldwide.

In the developing world, many people use pit latrines

These consist of a hole in the ground, which may be unlined or lined, with a reinforcing material to contain human excreta. They generally provide little shelter or security. Moreover, larger pit latrines, which are often used in schools, are prone to collapsing into the holes over which they are built.

In Uganda, studies have shown that most pupils in rural schools are demotivated by the poor hygiene and sanitation facilities. Pit latrines often lack privacy, have poor ventilation, inadequate hand-washing facilities, and present a high chance of contracting air- and water-borne diseases. Girls especially are likely to drop out of school because of the lack of privacy

New eco-san lavatory blocks at Adoma Primary School, northern Uganda, alongside old pit-latrine block.

In Uganda, IRT is working together with Wessex Social Ventures and our local partners, Organisation for Community Action, to tackle this appalling situation through a scheme known as ‘Roots’. Under Petal, micro-enterprises produce ‘eco-san lavatories’ in schools. These enable the conversion of human waste into 100% natural fertiliser. The fertiliser is then sold to local farmers at a lower price than other commercial alternatives.

Pupils pose for a picture in front of the newly-constructed eco-san lavatory block at Adoma Primary School, northern Uganda.

The Roots scheme confers enormous benefits.

For the user, it reduces the chances of contracting disease and is both safe and discreet. The school is able to avoid the repetitive and costly task of filling-in existing pit latrines when they fill up, and having to construct replacement toilet blocks. Roots also removes the barrier to girls attending school, especially during menstruation. For the local community, the gains are apparent in a reduction in the spread of disease and the prevention of soil contamination. For the fertiliser customer, the end product can be 70% cheaper than alternatives, and has also been shown to increase crop yields. The entrepreneurs running the Roots micro-enterprises are able to establish a sustainable income over the long term, allowing them to afford healthcare and an education for their children (secondary schooling in Uganda is not free).

“IRT believes that it is a human right to have access to safe, secure and private lavatory facilities, and is committed to continuing to fund and spread the Roots scheme in Uganda”.

Steven Smith, CEO of IRT
Access hatches to waste collection buckets at rear of eco-san lavatory block.
Access hatches to waste collection buckets at rear of eco-san lavatory block.
A pupil poses for a picture in front of the newly-constructed eco-san lavatory block at Adoma Primary School, northern Uganda.

WaSH – Impacts on health

January 28, 2020

WaSH stands for ‘water, sanitation and hygiene’. Universal, affordable and sustainable access to WaSH is a key public health issue within international development. Successful WaSH programmes can improve health, life expectancy, student learning, and gender equality, while reducing poverty and infant mortality. Since 2000, billions of people have gained access to basic drinking water and […]

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Water, Sanitation, Hygiene

WaSH stands for ‘water, sanitation and hygiene’. Universal, affordable and sustainable access to WaSH is a key public health issue within international development. Successful WaSH programmes can improve health, life expectancy, student learning, and gender equality, while reducing poverty and infant mortality.

Collecting water from a contaminated source – Uganda

Since 2000, billions of people have gained access to basic drinking water and improved sanitation facilities. But, often, these remain unsafe. Many homes, medical facilities and schools still lack soap and water for handwashing. This puts the health of all people – but especially young children – at risk of contracting diseases, such as diarrhoea, cholera, dysentery, hepatitis A, and typhoid.

Mother and baby visit a medical facility in Uganda

Lack of sanitation contributes to hundreds of thousands of child deaths every year. The statistics are shocking:

  • Today 1 in 3 people or 2.2 billion people around the world lack safe drinking water.

  • Over half of the global population or 4.2 billion people lack safe sanitation.

  • Globally, at least 2 billion people use a drinking water source contaminated with faeces.

  • Some 297 000 children – more than 800 every day – under five who die annually from diarrhoeal diseases due to poor sanitation, poor hygiene, or unsafe drinking water. 

  • Children younger than age 5 in countries experiencing protracted conflict are 20 times more likely to die from causes linked to unsafe water and sanitation than from direct violence.

  • 1 million deaths each year are associated with unclean births. Infections account for 26% of neonatal deaths and 11% of maternal mortality. 

  • Hygiene promotion is the most cost-effective health intervention.

  • 2 out of 5 people or 3 billion people around the world lack basic handwashing facilities at home. 

  • Universal access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation and hygiene would reduce the global disease burden by 10%.

In Uganda, the situation is particularly desperate

The current child mortality rate in Uganda is listed at 131 per 1,000 live births, or an effective mortality rate of 13.1%. This makes it the highest under-5 mortality rate in Eastern Africa. According to reports from the World Health Organization, Uganda is one of 24 countries that contribute 80% of the world’s deaths of children who are under the age of 5.

It is estimated that diarrhoea alone, one of three major childhood killers in Uganda, kills 33 children every day. In most cases, children get the disease by drinking unsafe water or coming into contact with contaminated hands that have not been washed with soap. 

Early childhood diarrhoea can be deadly. Even when it is not, it contributes to Uganda’s high levels of stunting, which goes on to undermine children’s cognitive development and performance at school.

One key measure that will reduce childhood illness and death is to stop using open fields or the bush as toilets. In Uganda, nearly a tenth of the population practices open defecation, and two thirds of households do not use soap when washing their hands. 

Through our programmes in Uganda, IRT aims to:

Delivering education in WaSH to a community
  1. Provide clean water through boreholes and protected springs, located close to communities.
  2. Encourage communities to construct pit latrines.
  3. Provide education in sanitation and hygiene measures – including the use of ‘tippy-taps’ for handwashing, dish-drying racks, the need to wash hands with soap and to ensure the cleanliness of homes.
  4. Create waste management systems through the use of rubbish pits.


WaSH – Water, Sanitation, Hygiene

January 28, 2020

Clean water, sanitation and hygiene are basic human rights. They are essential to ensure that children grow up healthy and happy. In Uganda, thousands of men, women and children are stuck in a devastating cycle of poverty where thirst and disease are so routine that they have become a normal part of everyday life. Not […]

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Water, Sanitation, Hygiene

Clean water, sanitation and hygiene are basic human rights. They are essential to ensure that children grow up healthy and happy.

In Uganda, thousands of men, women and children are stuck in a devastating cycle of poverty where thirst and disease are so routine that they have become a normal part of everyday life. Not only does contaminated water kill, the long treacherous journey to collect this water prevents thousands of young girls from going to school.

The Problem

More than 7 million children below the age of 5 die every year in the world. Contaminated water is a major cause.

Child mortality in Uganda is 131 per 1,000 live births. This makes it the highest under-5 mortality rate in Eastern Africa. Contaminated water is one of the main causes.

Diarrhoea is one of 3 major childhood killers in Uganda. It kills 33 children every day. Most get the disease by drinking unsafe water or by contact with contaminated hands.

Around 1.8 million people die every year from diarrhoea because they rely on unsafe water. Many are children.

In Uganda, thousands do not have water close to home. Every day, many young girls make the long walk to collect water, which is often contaminated. This prevents them going to school.

The Solution

Boreholes! Installing boreholes in remote villages in Uganda, which eradicate the problem of contaminated water.

If the target of 90% access to safe drinking water is achieved by 2020, 8.3 million Ugandans, including children, will be protected from water-borne diseases like diarrhoea.

IRT are on the case

IRT concentrate on providing long term solutions, not quick fixes. We help refugees to be self-sufficient, so we can leave, and help the next village that needs our help.

Not only are we building boreholes in many remote villages in Uganda, we are installing protected springs, pit latrines, dish-drying racks, rubbish pits, and tippy taps.

We are building toilets, so refugees have a clean and private place to go to the loo. Not only does this decrease the amount of disease in the villages caused by bad sanitation, this gives so many, especially women, the dignity they deserve.

IRT also train the villagers on how sanitation is important to a long and healthy life, from cooking and cleaning, to women’s sanitation, and providing washable, reusable sanitary towels.

Villagers thrilled to be using their new borehole

How much does it cost?

It costs us around £3,000 to install a borehole which provides clean water to a whole village. 

A protected spring costs us £930 to install. 

A ‘tippy tap’ costs just £2.23! Watch this video to see how simple it is to make.

A 3 pack of resuable sanitary towels cost £1.40 for a 4-month supply.

A bar of soap costs 41p.

A Pit Latrine lavatory costs us £458 to construct and install.

We need your help

All of this equipment is funded by you, our incredible supporters. All donations go towards building vital boreholes and other lifesaving equipment to provide clean water to millions of refugees, changing their lives forever and bringing them out of the cycle of poverty and suffering.

Any donation large or small will be an enourmous help to our friends in Uganda. Donate today to make a difference.

Read more about this life saving project:

WaSH – Toilets (Roots)

WaSH – Impact on health

WaSH – Sanitary Towels (Petal)

WaSH – Protected Springs

WaSH – Boreholes