In the heart of Gulu District – Uganda, Beatrice Akol, a resilient mother of two, has experienced the daily struggle for access to clean water. Akol and her fellow residents lived in the village of Lataaya, located in the Bungatila sub-district, and faced the arduous task of fetching water from the nearby Onyama River.
Shared with animals and nestled in a bush, this seasonal river not only posed a risk of contamination, but also endangered them from lurking reptiles such as snakes. Thanks to the efforts of the Ugandan Red Cross (URCS) and the Skybird Bird Project, Akol’s life and that of her community members has changed.
In 2022, with the support of the Austrian Development Cooperation through the Austrian Red Cross, URCS conducted a comprehensive assessment of water hygiene and sanitation (WASH) in Gulu district. The assessment highlighted the dire water shortage and identified the most affected sub-provinces, including Paico and Bungatila. Based on these findings, URCS, supported by the Skybird Project, began building a protected well to provide clean and safe water, bringing hope and change to the residents of Lataaya village. interventions of the URCS.
No longer bound by the constraints of hazardous water sources, Akol and her community members now have access to clean and safe water. Kilama Bosco, the water officer in Gulu district, explains the impact of the Red Cross interventions: “Before the involvement of URCS, the functionality of water points in Bungatila sub-district was 79.7%. However, after the intervention of the Skybird Project, functionality increased to an impressive 82.35%.” The scope of the Skybird project extended beyond individual wells.
It included the construction of five protected wells in peri-urban communities, with Bungatira sub-district receiving three and Paicho sub-district receiving two, all fully operational. In addition, seven water tanks were installed in Bardege/Layibi Division and Laroo/Pece Division in Gulu City, providing access to clean and safe water for surrounding communities.
Furthermore, the project focused on capacity building, educating water user committees on their roles and responsibilities, and ensuring sustainable water management within the communities. Training sessions were held for the members of the households hosting the water tanks, enabling them to operate the tanks efficiently and educating them about sharing water resources responsibly.
Borehole Rehabilitation for Greater Impact Recognizing the importance of boreholes in ensuring broad access to clean water, the Skybird project rehabilitated ten boreholes in the Gulu district. The sub-provinces of Bungatira and Paicho each received five repaired boreholes. This comprehensive approach has led to a significant increase in safe water sources, benefiting many communities.
Ballam Oyugi, the supervisor of the Skybird project at the Ugandan Red Cross, emphasizes the organization’s commitment to alleviating water-related challenges. “Working closely with local authorities and Community-Based Disaster Risk Reduction (CBDRR) initiatives, the project aims to ensure communities have sustainable access to clean water,” said Oyugi.
Outside Gulu District, the Skybird project is being implemented in multiple Ugandan Red Cross branches, including Lira, Adjumani, Ntungamo, Kampala South, Moroto, Iganga and Rakai. The Austrian Red Cross through the Ugandan Red Cross is committed to improving access to clean and safe water in communities across Uganda.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of the Ugandan Red Cross.
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Skybrid Bird Project transforms lives with access to clean water in Gulu District
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