A newly refurbished water delivery system in Kabale district, an impoverished region of Uganda, has been completed and now delivers clean, safe water to more than 7,000 people, thanks to funding contributions from event industry charity Meetings Industry Meeting Needs (MIMN).

The project was implemented by Africa Equipment for Schools (AES) in partnership with Just a Drop UK, sponsored by Evan Cornish Foundation, The Open Gate Trust, MIMN, and The Century Function Delegates. The results of the work were revealed at the M&IT Industry Awards Dinner by Just a Drop’s Fiona Jeffrey.

The system flows through the 10 villages where the majority of people are subsistence farmers. The land is divided into small plots with women finding work by moving between the plots, often from one side of a mountain to another, digging for the owners. The main crops are potatoes, sweet potatoes, cabbages, sorghum, peas, finger millet, bananas and pineapples, none of which attracts high prices and seasonal agriculture and the need for daily water collection often stops many young girls from attending classes. Girls are the main water carriers for the family and are expected to fill jerry cans before walking to school each day.

As early as 6am, when it is still dark, girls can be seen struggling to carry the water home. Children and women were walking a round-trip of an hour twice a day with heavy jerry cans to collect water and because the tank covers were not functioning correctly, dirt and insects were getting into the water supply. As a result, the children were suffering from diarrhoea, dysentery, intestinal worms and cholera. All of these greatly weaken the children’s bodies and can lead to secondary infections, and sometimes death.

In September 2014, work began on the refurbishment of a Gravity Water System (GWS) in Ruboroga, Uganda. A GWS uses gravity to direct water flow downhill from a source through a system of pipelines, and tanks to tap stands further down the hill within a local community, and work was completed this year.

The sources in this project are from unpolluted springs, which means water is easily accessible to all households, the schools and medical centre and will provide a constant, reliable and sustainable water supply. These systems have low maintenance needs and allows the community to get on with looking after homes and crops and allows the children to attend classes.

The community as a whole is responsible for the pipes and reservoir. People living near each tap have been formed into tap maintenance committees. The source collection tanks, reservoir and break pressure tanks will be inspected regularly by the maintenance committee to check for roots growing or any other obstruction.

Meeting Needs executive committee member Jennifer Jenkins said: “This was a major project undertaken by Just a Drop and we were delighted to support it and make such a huge difference to the lives of so many people.”

Pictured: The refurbished water delivery system provides clean, safe water for more than 7,000 people in Kabale, Uganda