Uganda Archives - WaterStep

Update from Kabowa Village: Phase One

Our work in Kaabowa Village is just beginning. Our partners at the Rural Health Care Foundation sent us photos of their Phase One implementation, and we are encouraged and inspired by their results.

Because of your support through financial giving and shoe donations, Phase One has been completed, and we have dug a new well in Kaabowa Village. This is the first and most crucial step to accessing safe water and improving the health of this Ugandan community.

Phase Two is next and you can learn more or support our mission by going to our water project page. During Phase Two, we will:

  • Construct pit latrines and continue sanitation education
  • Install water purification systems at schools and the health center
  • Install rain harvesting systems at schools and the health center

WaterStep’s Doug Lark will travel to Kaabowa village in June to check up on the project and send back even more results, photos, and stories. We are excited to bring you more updates and continue working together to bring safe water to the entire community of Kaabowa.

Read all of our past blogs about Kaabowa, Uganda.

well repair work community development waterstep access to water in Uganda safe water Kaabowa Village well repair WaterStep Well Repair 3



Digging a Well in Uganda

By now, I hope you’ve heard about our community project in Kaabowa Village, Uganda. During our work here, we will address all of the water needs of the entire community.

Like we’ve outlined on our project page, the first phase of this project will focus on digging a well to provide safe water in a central community area. The well will allow families to access clean and safe water quickly and efficiently.

RHCF (our local partner) will begin digging this well with an expectation of high community participation in manual labor and contribution of locally available materials. The community mobilization will allow everyone to participate and take ownership of this new project. This is a component that we have discovered is crucial to success in water projects: an engaged community.

Dr. Ssenoga of the RHCF previously wrote about the dangers of unsafe water in the community. “Where I live, people die from diseases because they don’t believe there is treatment,” he wrote. Many people in Kaabowa village do not understand that their water quality is dangerous to them and their families.

That is why WaterStep is working to train a water user committee that will be strong enough to control the operation and maintenance of the water source. This group of individuals will become local spokespeople for the cause of safe water and ensure its sustainability.

Dr. Ssenoga and his community are in desperate need of safe water to drink, and this first step can drastically change the quality of their lives. To learn more about the village, check out the project page and follow along as we keep you updated about the phases of this project. I know that the entire WaterStep staff is grateful for your help and excited about the possibility for change in Kaabowa village.

Check back in for more updates about Phase One next week.

60,000 pounds of shoes means a well for a community in Uganda

Last month for World Water Day, we challenged the WaterStep community to collect a semi-truck full of shoes to help bring water to a village in Uganda – about 22,000 pounds of shoes.

We were blown away by the response. Schools, businesses, churches, and individuals donated their bags of used shoes by the dozens, collecting a total of not one, not two, but three semi-trucks of shoes.

That’s over 60,000 pounds of shoes.

People from around the country hosted shoes drive and participated in shoe challenges:


World Water Day KUNA shoes 2

Middle school and high school students from all over Kentucky brought their shoes to the YMCA Kentucky United Nations Assembly (KUNA) throughout the month of March.



World Water Day North Carolina shoe drive

Sandra Davis in North Carolina decided to lead a shoe drive inspired by the memory of her late husband, and ended up collecting half of a semi-truck of shoes.




World Water Day Delaware shoe drive

And 17-year-old Emma Rider in Delaware collected a full semi-truck of shoes, making this her fifth tractor trailer load since she started collecting shoes to support water projects when she was 12.




World Water Day Hite Elementary shoes

Fifth graders from Hite Elementary School came by our headquarters for a field trip to see what their shoes were doing to provide safe water to people that need it.

And so many more! For everyone who held shoe drives or who dropped off their shoes here in Louisville, thank you. Your shoes mean we will be able to dig a well for the small community of Kaabowa Village in Uganda. Thanks to your help, we’re starting the first phase of our project there, digging a well so that more of the community has nearby access to water.

After that, we’ll be installing household filters, setting up water purifiers, building latrines, and implementing a community health program for students and families. Learn more about the project and how you can help provide safe water to Kaabowa Village.


See the project

World Water Day Uganda well 3

A Picture of Kabowa Village

Water in Uganda

The community model is WaterStep’s approach to providing safe water to a community for a lifetime. The community model addresses the water needs one individual, one family, one community at a time.

This year, we are looking to Kaabowa Village in Uganda. Dr. Ssenoga reached out to us to explain their need for safe water, and together, we have developed a plan that will address the water needs of the entire village for years to come.

Kaabowa is a small village in the Mubende district of Uganda with a population of just 1,300 people. However, children from neighboring villages walk an average of 3 miles to get to Kaabowa each day because they have four schools with about 500 children each. The village also is home to a central market area that people walk miles to visit.

The market center and high schools give Kaabowa an impactful place in the Mubende community. The influence of the schools in the area is wide. Children who come to the community each day drink unsafe water, which is still one of the leading causes of sickness and death in the region.

Water in Uganda

Drilling wells wills in Kaabowa will be a first priority, which will have a ripple effect throughout the entire district as new water sources become available. The second phase of the project will include providing safe water in the schools and several pit latrines throughout the community. Finally, each family will be equipped with a household water filter.

We are so excited to begin this project in Uganda, but we need your help to make it happen. You can learn more on our project page and see how you can support the community model in Kaabowa Village.

A letter from a doctor in Uganda




Read the letter below from Dr. Ssenoga Dickson, whose working in rural Uganda to provide support and health services to people living with HIV/AIDS. This year, we at WaterStep are working with Dr. Ssenoga to bring safe water to the one of the communities where he works, called Kaabowa Village, and we’re asking you to be a part.


Where I live, people die from diseases because they don’t believe there is treatment.


Growing up in rural Uganda, I saw the toll of disease on people’s lives. Many children had parents that died from AIDS, leaving them alone to support themselves. The pain that I felt for these kids and a passion to help them took root in my heart.


So my cousin Willy and I started treating patients, not only AIDS patients, but people with malaria, tuberculosis, and pneumonia. Even though we were treating these diseases, people were still getting sick because they were ignorant about proper health practices – people were still drinking contaminated water.


Like many of the communities where I work, life in the community of Kaabowa Village is characterized by poverty. People have to travel long distances to look for safe water, others get water from open ponds shared with animals – this has resulted in cholera outbreaks and other waterborne illness. Children can’t go to school because they’re collecting water, adults don’t have the energy to work because they’re sick.


The good news is, it doesn’t have to be this way. While the problem in Kaabowa Village is big, the solutions are simple. We have plans to bring safe water to Kaabowa Village. When safe water is available year round, students will be able to go to school because they have better health. People will spend less time being sick, and more time tending to their crops. Health will improve, and the economic status of the community will rise.


But Willy and I can’t do it by ourselves.


Alongside WaterStep, we’re asking you to be a part of helping Kaabowa Village. We have plans to dig two wells, install two mini-water treatment plants, and provide health education. You can help by donating money and spreading the word.


Together, we can help Kaabowa Village get the safe water it needs. Thank you.

Dr. Ssenoga


See the project