Martha and Angella have been friends since they were young children. In 1979 during the Liberation War in Uganda, most people of Moyo, the town on the northernmost tip of Uganda, had to flee their homeland across the border of Sudan to safety. Angella and Martha’s families with their young children left with only their documents, no money and whatever belongings they could carry on their backs. They walked across the border into Sudan and lived as refugees in separate areas wherever they could find shelter. After 8 years, during the resettlement they had a teary and bittersweet reunion when they returned to find that their town of Moyo had been completely destroyed. No houses or buildings anywhere.
As they restarted their lives back home, they were committed to help rebuild their community. They helped start the Marindi Cooperative Society, an organized group composed of women and men to carry out small scale credit and savings services to its members.
Angella and Martha, as a retired nurse and midwife, respectively, wanted to provide more services to improve the health of their community. In 2011, they were selected to participate in the GWWI Women and Water Training in Kampala, Uganda. When they learned about WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) and how to build WASH technologies, they knew that this was one way they could meet their goals. Because lack of access to water was a very big issue for Moyo citizens, they elected to learn how to build rainwater harvesting systems (RWH) with an ISSB tank (interlocking stabilized soil block) to provide water to their community.
When they brought the RWH technology back to Moyo, their organization was so impressed with it and their capacity to build it, they supported them to build a RWH system and tank at a local school serving over hundreds of students and some neighboring families. After seeing how easy it was to build and training other Moyo women to be able to construct the technology, the MCS chair helped the women members form a new organization called the Moyo Women’s Water Initiative (MWWI), inspired by the work of the Global Women’s Water Initiative.
The first order of business was to mobilize over $1200US from the community to buy an ISSB machine so they can make their own bricks, sell them and construct more tanks. The 30 women members of the MWWI have registered with the government and are now well on their way to realizing their collective dream!
And don’t forget:
SAVE THE DATE:
Thurs, Oct 25 in Berkeley, CA
“Women Making Waves: GWWI Report Back from Africa”
Sophia lives in Odesso, Nyamasaria a slum in Kisumu, Kenya, where the main source of water is a contaminated river that runs alongside her community. Everyday you’ll see people fetching water, bathing, washing clothes, dishes and motorbikes, with animals using the water alongside.
Lydia believes this is an opportunity for women to transform their lives and create a new beginning. She has introduced different vocational opportunities such as craft making, sewing and embroidery for the inmates to consider doing as an alternative when they are released. When she learned about the Biosand Filter from one of GWWI Graduates Susan Njeri and Catherine Wanjohi of Life Bloom International, she thought it would be a perfect technology for the inmates to learn while being able to provide clean water for the prison.
Life Bloom International uplifts the lives of abused women with an emphasis on ex-commercial sex workers and provides them with opportunities for leadership and alternative livelihoods for a brighter future.
Meet Mary, a businesswoman who sells clothes in a small shop and lives in a small house in Matejo, a slum area in Arusha, Tanzania. A few years back she had an operation on her back and was advised by her doctor to take safe water only. She was also told not to take boiled or bottled water. Following her doctor’s unusual prescription, she sought alternative options to treat her water. After trying a few local options and not liking them because they still made her nauseous, she found out about the Biosand water filter from Anna Anatoli of ANEPO, a GWWI graduate who was selling this new water treatment in Arusha.
Anna learned how to build the Biosand Filter at the GWWI Women and Water Training and brought it back to her community to start a small micro-enterprise.
Mary attended an ANEPO Health and Wellness Training which was a 2-day Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Training educating the community about the benefits of good hygiene, promoting the Biosand filters (BSF) as an option for clean water, and the benefits of planting organic food for healthy eating. Here she learned how important it was not only to have safe water for drinking, but for cooking, cleaning dishes, hand washing and bathing. Mary was immediately impressed by the BSF because it could remove up to 97-99% of bacteria and it could produce over 100 liters of water per day – enough for her whole family to have safe water for all their water-related activities.
Before buying the Biosand Filter, when someone in her family fell sick from typhoid from the contaminated tap water piped to her house from the municipality, she would end up spending much of her pay on treatment, which made it difficult for her to save money. Because she had 14 people living in her household, she could spend sometimes up to 500,000TSH (approx.: $350) per week on medicines and hospital visits – not to mention lost wages from missing work. After having the BSF for 7 months, there has not been one incidence of typhoid in her family since they installed the filter.
Mary is so grateful to have been relieved from the financial burdens of water related illnesses that have held herself and her family back from opportunities. Based on ANEPOs Health and Wellness Program she also learned how to grow organic vegetables in recycled grain bags in the small spaces in front of and next to her home. Thanks to GWWI graduate Anna Anatoli and ANEPO, Mary has clean water, healthy food and is thriving!
Visit GWWI’s website for more.