Are the projects Sustainable?

The first couple weeks here in Uganda have been great!

Washington and I have been traveling around Central and Northern Uganda to check on our former projects. We work hard to make sure the community takes ownership of the projects and sustains them. Now that we have 8 years worth of projects here, I can get a good idea of how sustainable our work actually is in Uganda. My goal was to be able to identify areas where we might need to improve our current design, remind project recipients of their responsibilities and take note of locations where we might want to do additional projects. We usually do one type of WaSH (Water and Sanitation, Hygiene) project per community. The community applies for either a rainwater catchment system, borehole well (where the soil is conducive) or multi-stall latrines. We set up our projects at community centers, such as Schools, Churches or Medical Clinics. The Principal, Pastor or Medical Clinic Supervisor are the people who are in charge of maintaining the WaSH projects, but they are supported by the community. For borehole wells, we insist that a Water Committee is established and small monthly dues are collected to maintain the pump. In Uganda, we install Indian Mark II pumps. Indian Mark II pumps are common here so parts are locally available and mechanics are in every sub-county. This method has worked for us these last 8 years in Uganda. In many countries, we teach people to build their own pumps, but if the community resists building their own, is willing to pay for maintenance and repair of a pump and we know there is a local mechanic, we will install those commercial manual pumps. I have only seen our most recent borehole well (video above) which was drilled just a few weeks ago. The other borehole wells are far outside where we have plans to check on this trip, but Washington will continue monitoring the projects and send updates.

So, now that you have a background of what we do in Uganda… let’s see a few of our former projects.

Kabakazi Primary School:

Year Completed: 2013

Notes: A cow charging past one of the tanks took out one of our flush pipes and gutter, so now we will implement small fences around the tanks if cows are also sharing the same land 🙂

This one water tank in Kabakazi is still functioning well 7 years after it was installed!

A cow got the best of us on this one so the community needs to put up a little fence and we will replace the flush pipe and gutters

Katuugo Parents School:

Year Completed: 2019

Notes: The school did a good job protecting the tanks by building the brick enclosures. There is some cracking because they built them too close to the tanks (which expand when filled with water) but everything functions well and the recipients are showing initiative in caring for the tanks.

Katuugo Parents School

St. Franciscan Medical Clinic:

Year Completed: 2018

Notes: This is a good example of improvements happening after we initiate a project. On a couple occasions, our work has brought attention to facilities and others come in to add to the work. We installed 10,000 liters of water storage tanks and gutters. Other aid came in after and now the medical clinic had about 20,000 additional liters of water storage and more gutters!

St. Franciscan Medical Clinic

Kakooge Parents School:

Year Completed: 2016

Notes: The toilets are well cared for and cleaned daily. Doors are still functioning with locks and only the drainage pit needs some minor tweaks. We always include a washroom for the girls to bath and we have a pipe drain into a soak pit behind the toilets. In this case, the soak pit needs to be cleaned out and refilled with stone.

Kakooge Parents School

Ebenezer Primary School:

Year Completed: 2016

Notes: The principal did a little repair himself after he accidentally broke the gutters. We are going to help with the repair. The gutters and pipe still function and the tank was full of water and used daily at the school.

Ebenezer Primary School

Batuusa Church:

Year Completed: 2013

Notes: This church had one tank that was functioning and one with a broken tap. They have trouble with some community members, but we just discussed how it is their (the church) responsibility to care for the systems and provide water to the community. We will help them with material for repairs. It will be easier once someone is living on the premises (which is their plan). Taps have been vandalized at various locations so there is a difficult balance between keeping a system open to the public and protecting the parts. One way that seems to work is to have the water accessible during the day and lock the tanks taps overnight.

Batuusa Church

Kyambogo Buruli Primary School:

Year Completed: 2017

Notes: I was a bit confused at first because the top of the water tap (the “key”) was missing on both tanks, but they are just removed to reduce vandalism. The “keys” are nearby so the school and community members can still access the water.

This cow is tied. That’s the way to go Kyambogo Buruli Primary School!
Parents, teachers and community members coming over to meet about the water tanks

Layibi Parents School:

Year Completed: 2019

Notes: Great condition. A “parents school” is a school that reaches children that couldn’t normally go to school due to the fees. These schools allow the parents to bring what they have (small fee, labor, crop, bricks, etc) in exchange for the education. These schools often have very little, yet work so very hard to bring in all kids – even orphans- to receive an education.

Layibi Parents School

St. Peters Junior School:

Year Completed: 2015

Notes: Tanks still function really well! Kids were gathering water from this tank while I was there to check the system.

St. Peter’s Junior School

Gulu Showtime School:

Year Completed: 2020

Notes: This borehole is such a blessing to the school and surrounding community. They have started their Water Committee and even have a small amount of money set aside now for repairs and maintenance.

A borehole well is huge for this Keyi B Bar Dege Division of Gulu

Cornerstone Leadership Academy:

Year Completed: 2012

Notes: This latrine is great! It is cleaned daily and everything still works great!

Cornerstone Leadership Academy Latrine
Of course we are taking a selfie in front of our 8 year old latrine!

When I first arrived, I was able to catch up with friends that live here in Uganda full-time serving in their respective ministries. It was so awesome to spend time with the Rosser and Willard families! I brought a T-Rex costume for the Rosser family and while we were hanging out, I put it on and danced with the kids. Corrie, their 4-year old, absolutely loves dinosaurs and was so happy to be dancing with a “real” Dino 🙂 I also got to reconnect with the Willards, who I met 8 years ago at Equip International. It was so nice to hang with their family and get to know their kids. I’m actually wearing all of Cori Willard’s clothes in these photos because my backpack was stolen (with my clothes and some gear) on my third day in Uganda. I am so thankful for Cori (and Adam) for sharing their stuff with me so I could keep working (they rock!).

10 thoughts on “Are the projects Sustainable?

  1. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this post! The pics are fantastic for this old (now retired) engineer! Your work is doing so much good to so many!

  2. Thanks for the update Kay Dee! Be safe! God’s Best Always!

    Have a great day! Bruce Funk. Sent from my iPhone


  3. Awesome work, Caitlin! Praising the Lord for the gift of water and sanitation you are bringing (and sustaining) around the world.

  4. You are truly a blessing to so many! Thank you for hanging in there even with the trials and tribulations. You are a great example of being Jesus’s feet (going) and hands (doing ) and heart. ( love and compassion) .

  5. Hey Caitlin. It had to be encouraging to see former projects in Uganda still in good working condition. Praise God for the WaSH projects! and parents schools! Where’s the picture of you dancing in the T-Rex costume?? lol Sorry to hear about your backpack:( May God keep you healthy and safe. Let’s schedule a lunch date when you get home!
    Big hug, My love and continued prayers, Kathy Orr

  6. Hi Caitlin.
    It had to be encouraging to see former projects in Uganda still in good working condition. Praise God for the WaSH projects! and parents schools! Where’s the picture of you dancing in the T-Rex costume?? lol Sorry to hear about your backpack:(
    May God keep you healthy and safe. Let’s schedule a lunch date when you get home!
    Big hug, My love and prayers, Kathy Orr

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