GWWI Report From the Field: Girls No Longer Miss School Thanks to a Newly Installed Rainwater Harvesting System

Project: Women Building a Water Movement in East Africa

Topics: ,

The Global Women’s Water Initiative Team has been traveling through East Africa to visit the women teams that were trained in our 2011-2012 year long training program. Meet the people whose lives they are changing.
GWWI Team – Gemma Bulos, Director; Rose Wamalwa, Kenya/Tanzania Field Coordinator; Comfort Mukasa, Uganda Field Coordinator
“You cannot even study when you are thirsty. Even the work of the school administration becomes difficult.”  
—Administrator at Amuria High School
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Eunice
The 200 female boarders at Amuria High School in Amuria, Uganda no longer have to leave their classes to fetch water or miss school entirely when they were menstruating thanks to GWWI graduates Florence and Eunice of Orphans and Widows Association for Development. Florence and Eunice received funding from a local WaterAid partner who not only sponsored them to build a rainwater harvesting system with a 15,000 liter tank (approx. 4000 gallons) on their dormitory but also to a cleaning bay where the girls can bathe between classes when they have their period.

The 200 girls who live in the school dormitory would be required to fetch water during school hours, which could sometimes take up to 3-4 hours increasing their risk of getting attacked and defiled. When they got their periods, they would miss school entirely or even drop out because there was not enough water for them to clean themselves.

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Florence
Student fetches water at the new tank behind her dorm
Student fetches water at the new tank behind her dorm
According to the school health officer, having the rainwater harvesting tank and access to water has created so many opportunities not only for the girls but also for the school. The school kitchen would have to wait for water to cook, and now the meals can be served on time so the girls have the energy for their studies. Sometimes up to 5 girls a day would faint from dehydration, but now have clean water to drink. The project even united families in the community who came together to donate time and materials for the construction of the tank. And the most exciting, according to the head teacher, the money they saved from spending 8000UGX per day on clean water (approx. $3.25US) and medical expenses when students fell ill from water-related disease (upwards of 300,000UGX approx. $120US/week) as well as donations from the community, the high school has been able to accumulate over 11million UGX (approx. $4,400) of the 18million they need to complete construction of a borehole that will serve the community at large.
Water is changing the game in Amuria. And everyone WINS!

GWWI Report from the Field: Typhoid Eliminated in School Thanks to Biosand Filter!

Project: Women Building a Water Movement in East Africa

Topics: ,

The Global Women’s Water Initiative Team has been traveling through East Africa to visit the women teams that were trained in our 2011-2012 year long training program. Meet the people whose lives they are changing.
GWWI Team – Gemma Bulos, Director; Rose Wamalwa, Kenya/Tanzania Field Coordinator; Comfort Mukasa, Uganda Field Coordinator
“Before we got the Biosand Filters, seven students per week would get sick from typhoid. The school paid at least per student 450KSH (approx. $6US) just to take them to the doctor. Now we no longer have cases of typhoid and the school is saving money to buy educational materials.” 
—Teacher at Angel Academy
 
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At the Angel Academy Primary School typhoid was a daily occurrence with both students and teachers falling ill to disease caused by contaminated water.  With over 500 students and at least 7 incidences of typhoid per week costing a minimum of 450KSH per patient – not to mention the 200KSH/day the school laid out to have someone fetch the ‘safer’ water from the river, the school was spending thousands of dollars a year in water related costs. When they learned about the Biosand filter from GWWI Graduates Jane and Linda from Kilili Self Help Program (KSHP), they knew this was an opportunity for them to address this recurring health issue and minimize their financial burden once and for all.
1 (1)KSHP is a respected organization in this region having already trained over 25,000 people in organic bio-dynamic farming. They integrated Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) into their program after being sponsored by American Jewish World Service to attend the GWWI Women and Water Training Program in 2011.

The Director at Angel Academy called upon KSHP to engage their students and teachers to build seven Biosand Filters – 6 for the school (1 filter per 100 people) and because he was completely convinced that this technology was the best solution for contaminated water, he even bought one for himself to place in his private home which he shares with his neighbors.  KSHP brought the mold to the school and conducted a BSF training for some of the teachers, local community members and one 15 year-old stellar student.  Some of the younger students helped with some of the simpler tasks like washing the gravel and sand, and everyone benefitted from the KSHPs WASH Education Training which covered proper hygiene, operations and care for the Biosand filter and other water and sanitation related practices.
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The students are so happy with the filter and after noticing their own improved health, they are even recommending that KSHP help them to go door to door to promote the BSF to their families so they can have clean water at home!

SAVE THE DATE: Women Making Waves: Report Back from Africa, Oct 25 at the David Brower Center!



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GWWI Report From the Field: Neighborhood Group Builds 30 Filters for Their Community

Project: Women Building a Water Movement in East Africa

Topics: ,

The Global Women’s Water Initiative Team has been traveling through East Africa to visit the women teams that were trained in our 2011-2012 year long training program. Meet the people whose lives they are changing.
GWWI Team – Gemma Bulos, Director; Rose Wamalwa, Kenya/Tanzania Field Coordinator; Comfort Mukasa, Uganda Field Coordinator
 “I never had hope of becoming rich because I would spend 2000KSH ($25US) per month because my children would get sick of typhoid. The money would come and go. Because of the Biosand Filter, now I dream of being rich!”
—CISO Member
The Community Initiative Self-Help Organization (CISO) of Birunda loves the Biosand Filter! So much so, that after a few of them learned how to build it, they convinced the other members to adopt it and started planning a campaign to bring clean water to their group.
BSF's
BSF’s

CISO learned about the BSF from GWWI Graduates Jane and Lindah Kilili Self-Help Program (KSHP).  KSHP promotes food security having trained over 25,000 people in organic bio-dynamic farming to increase their crop yield so they can provide food for their family and sell the excess.  After attending the GWWI Women and Water Training Program, KSHP has since integrated a new Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) program, adding water security to their mission. KSHP hosted a WASH Education training inviting people from five of their local communities to learn to build the Biosand Filter. Those attendees returned home to promote the BSF and encourage their community members to consider it as a viable option for clean water.
Linda
Linda
Jane
Jane

CISO took the information and ran with it! It didn’t take much convincing for some of the members. After testing the water from her existing water treatment, one woman member found out that her current clay water filter was not working and she broke it and wanted a Biosand Filter.  Another family who had not been able to boil their water during the rainy season because there was no available firewood and chlorine was too expensive wanted a BSF too!
BSF Owner
BSF Owner
They collected money from their members and rented the BSF mold from KSHP so they could provide filters for their group as well as sell them. They came up with a “Buy One Sell One” promotion scheme that required all the members to buy one filter and sell one to guarantee that they make their investment back and more. They also contributed the funds for materials, tools and labor to build 30 filters to start their business!
CISO is well on their way to building a sustainable enterprise to provide clean water for their community and beyond!

GWWI Report From the Field: Sophia Elected As Chair of the Water Committee

Project: Women Building a Water Movement in East Africa

Topics: , ,

The Global Women’s Water Initiative Team has been traveling through East Africa to visit the women teams that were trained in our 2011-2012 year long training program. Meet the people whose lives they are changing.
GWWI Team – Gemma Bulos, Director; Rose Wamalwa, Kenya/Tanzania Field Coordinator; Comfort Mukasa, Uganda Field Coordinator
Sophia, grandmother of 33 is elected as the Chairperson for the Water Tank Committee
Sophia, grandmother of 33 is elected as the Chairperson for the Water Tank Committee

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.

In the past year, she had been participating in a program conducted by Kisumu Medical Education Trust (KMET) who facilitated a planning process whereby her community was able to identify their most pressing needs – which they concluded was access to water. When GWWI Graduates Rosemary and Joy of KMET returned from the GWWI training in Kampala in July 2011, they went to Sophia’s community to offer a WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) seminar in her community and introduced the rainwater harvesting system (RWH) with storage tank. Sophia jumped at the chance to participate in the seminar as well as the construction to learn how to build the system. As a grandmother with 33 grandchildren, she knew that it was important to have this knowledge to ensure that they have a hopeful future.
KMETs mission emerged from the Founder’s desire to address maternal mortality in her community. It has since evolved into the provision of health and social services in 45 communities. As a result as of the GWWI training, Rosemary and Joy are determined to integrate WASH education and technologies into KMETs mission, which they believe is a cross-cutting issue that is crucial for KMET to meet all their community health goals.
A Water Tank committee was formed consisting of all women!
A Water Tank committee was formed consisting of all women!
Rosemary and Joy trained the Odessa RWH team alongside GWWI Training partner Connect Africa. They built their tank in 5 days where the women made their own bricks, laid the foundation, and built the tank. A water committee was formed to maintain and manage the system and Sophia was elected as the Chair. The committee now sells the water at a discount price to the community. Normally water is sold at 10KSH ($.12US) per 5 gallons and the Odessa Water Committee sells it for 3KSH ($.04US). The money earned is given to widows and orphans to pay their school fees and uniforms.
In the past year, Sophia has seen more houses being built around her community because they want to be closer to the water tank so they don’t have to use the river water. Sophia is so grateful because her family no longer gets sick and she has not heard of anyone getting sick who has purchased the water.
Powerful partnership between KMET, Water Tank Committee and GWWI!
Powerful partnership between KMET, Water Tank Committee and GWWI!
  Sophia proves at any age, you can be a Water Champion!
Save the DATE: Join us on Oct 25, 2012 at the David Brower Center for the Global Women’s Water Initiative Report Back! More info to follow…

GWWI Report From the Field: Women Prisoners Provide Their Own Clean Water

Project: Women Building a Water Movement in East Africa

Topics: , ,

The Global Women’s Water Initiative Team has been traveling through East Africa to visit the women teams that were trained in our 2011-2012 year long training program. Meet the people whose lives they are changing.
GWWI Team – Gemma Bulos, Director; Rose Wamalwa, Kenya/Tanzania Field Coordinator; Comfort Mukasa, Uganda Field Coordinator
Lydia, Naivasha Women's Prison Warden
Lydia, Naivasha Women’s Prison Warden
 
Lydia, the senior warden of Naivasha Women’s Medium Security Prison in Kenya believes that prisons should be a place for rehabilitation and transformation. In her experience, she has seen that the majority of the women who have been sentenced to time spent in prison are often convicted of crimes such as prostitution and/or abandoning their children. Despite the reasons for women feeling forced to resort to prostitution to provide for their children and having to abandon them to do so, it is still a crime and women can spend up to 3 years in prison for such offenses

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, prison guards and inmates and GWWI Team with the biosand filter
Life Bloom, prison guards and inmates and GWWI Team with the biosand filter


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.

Inmates perform poetry
Inmates perform poetry
Inmates and GWWI team dance!
Inmates and GWWI team dance!
Susan, an ex-commercial sex worker herself, went through the Life Bloom program, transformed her life and found herself alongside Director, Catherine Wanjohi as invited participants in the GWWI Women and Water Training Program. They brought the BSF back to Naivasha and were invited by Lydia to train the inmates in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) education and to construct the BSF. The inmates were able to build two filters that are now providing all the water for the female inmates, the guards and the four children living in the prison (children under four live with their inmate mothers).
Prior to having the Biosand Filter, there were very regular outbreaks of diarrhea and vomiting, with the worst of the outbreaks happening just before the training.  They have had the filter for nearly 9 months and there has not been one episode of diarrhea since then. The male prisoners are now asking that the BSF be installed in their prison.
Thanks to the incredible inspiration of Lydia and the expertise and commitment of Life Bloom, the women prisoners now have a future full of hope!