Fetching water in the Kampala region of Uganda is not easy.
Villagers walk up to three kilometers to get to the nearest well, and must sometimes wait between three to six hours to fill a 20-liter container, which will weigh more than 50 pounds once filled.
I recently took part in a multi-disciplinary vocational training team, a group of professionals traveling to learn more about their vocation or teach local professionals about a particular field. Our team from District 5340 (California, USA) was in Uganda in support of an Adopt-A-Village project.
After hearing from the villagers how hard it was to retrieve water, our team set out to find a way to ease the burden. Always interested in novel investigation, I was invigorated by the challenge, and began fetching supplies and researching possibilities. We were greeted by several dozen villagers at the pump.
It soon became apparent to our team that the size of the pump spout and the small opening of the jerrrycans caused significant water loss, increasing the time and energy it took to fill the containers.
After slicing the bottom off a plastic water bottle and placing the inverted bottle in the top of the jerrycan, I began pumping. The makeshift funnel made it possible to fill the container in two-third the time it took previously, and reduced the amount of pumps by 55 percent. We were astonished that such a trivial tool could effectively reduce the burden of retrieving water. But could the villagers access a funnel and would they recognize the value in using it?
Kampala North Rotarians joined us for a meeting where we shared our information. The villagers embraced the change and were more than excited!
Although we still occasionally see a villager without a funnel, we anticipate use of the funnel increasing as villagers continue to spread the word. It was a huge victory, reminding us that even a small change can make a big difference.
- Read the RI News story “US Rotarians use district grants to meet local, global needs“
- Learn more about district grants
- Read about a vocational training team specialized in pediatric heart surgery that traveled to Uganda