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Published on: 22/12/2017

It all started in March 2017, when IRC staff, family and friends participated in The Hague’s City Pier City run. Our purpose? To raise 10,000 euros to provide 1,500 people with safe water in Kabarole district, in Uganda. The project especially aimed to improve the situation of girls. Reducing distances to fetch water has significant impact on their future as it allows them to spend more time in school. The target amount was successfully reached with the much appreciated help of 282 generous sponsors through the One Percent Club crowdfunding platform. 

Rehabilitating five boreholes with IRC’s systems approach 

So what has been accomplished in Kabarole district over the last few months? The process concentrated on the rehabilitation of five broken boreholes and was guided by IRC’s systems approach. A large network of people and organisations worked together to assess and restore the functionality of the boreholes and to engage and mobilize the beneficiary communities. The Kabarole District Hand Pump and Scheme Attendants Association (KAHASA) and their trained mechanics were responsible for the assessment and rehabilitation of the boreholes. Water User Committees (WUC) were formed from local community members and educated about their responsibilities to support the management  of each borehole.

Communities have agreed to start paying for their water on a  'pay as you fetch' basis. This management model raises funds for operation and maintenance to help avoid returning to a history of partial repairs and frequent breakdowns. 

Mukumbwe borehole - Rubingo Parish, Karambi Sub County

When assessing the borehole, KAHASA hand pump mechanics found that many pipes were missing and parts were old or broken, so they replaced these. Now the next step is to build a protective fence and plant grass around the borehole. 

 Hapiida borehole - Kiyombya Parish, Kiyombya Sub County

After a two-year break, this borehole also needed a total makeover. It now also has a dedicated caretaker, nominated by members of the newly formed local water user committee.

 Bugungu borehole - Kibiito Sub County

A big challenge was the Bugungu Borehole, which hadn’t been operational for the past five years. It was dirty and run down, so all mechanical parts needed replacement. The rehabilitation works meant a great transformation for the borehole and an important change for the people of Kibiito Sub County. 

 Rusekere borehole - Hakibaale Sub County

Also nonfunctional for over five years, the rehabilitation of this borehole was perhaps the most challenging process. So far that several other organisations did not want to take it on as it was considered too costly to repair. Now the borehole is as good as new. 



Rwezera borehole - Isunga Parish, Kasenda Sub County
Although this borehole was partially functional, it was very difficult to use the pump, so it also received a major overhaul both above and under the surface.

And one more accomplishment... 

In appreciation for the support of IRC and its sponsors, KAHASA offered to repair the rainwater harvesting system of the Burungu Primary school. Now the tanks can supply the school with clean water locally for at least two months in a rainy season.

To be continued...

Our work on the five boreholes in Kabarole district hasn’t ended. The water user committees will be officially registered, bank accounts will be opened for depositing the water user fees and the boreholes will be continuously monitored and maintained. Most importantly, this experience will be used to encourage similar crowdfunding campaigns to carry out rehabilitation activities on broken down water facilities, meanwhile building the systems to help avoid returning to a history of partial repairs and frequent breakdowns. Since the start of this initiative others have started to adopt the 'pay as you fetch' model for instance. 

Which leads us to...

The story of Kabarole district taught us that even with relatively small funds, the support and good intentions of the public can mobilise large networks to bring about change. ”Running for Water” has given 1,500 people sustainable access to safe water in Kabarole District in Uganda. Through the rehabilitation of five broken boreholes in the area, the distance girls have to walk to collect water is reduced significantly, meaning that girls can now spend more time in school. Driven by the success and encouraging power of crowdfunding, IRC is ready for another run for water in  March 2018. Will you join us again? Keep an eye on our website and social media for more details to come. 

By Sara Bori, Intern at IRC for the International and Innovation Programme. With inputs from IRC Uganda


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