Early last year, WaterStep assisted Field Consultant, Jude Mugema, in the construction of a rain catchment system for his community in the District of Rakai, Uganda. Prior to the system being built, the women and children in the village had to walk 3.7 miles to a water source that was contaminated to retrieve water for their families each day. Many times, more than one trip was required in order to bring enough water back. This left little time for the children to go to school.
The structure was built (pictured above) and the community’s water problems were solved. However, Jude didn’t stop there. The community also had a need for a school, and the rain catchment structure was a large open building with a roof and no walls. Over the last 18 months, Jude has added walls, doors and windows on the outside, and created classrooms on the inside, for what is now the Sunrise Academy Junior School – Rakai.
Muwanguzi Amos, a student at Sunrise Academy (pictured above with walls completed), reflects on daily life prior to the rain catchment structure being built. He said, “We used to travel more than 3.7 miles to Lake Kijjanebarora and other water ponds to collect water for preparing meals and drinking. Not only was it far, but it was also unsafe for human use. Much of the time was spent on collecting water and less on academics. Very few pupils were able to pass the primary leaving examinations and they studied hungry throughout the day because meals were ready so late.” Students are now able to get safe drinking water at the school at any time. Additional water tanks have been added to ensure there is always plenty. There has been a notable reduction of pupils suffering from waterborne illnesses, as well as a significant increase in academic achievement.
Jude has been successful in getting books and uniforms donated to the school (a student shows off his textbooks in the picture above). There is just no stopping Jude! His newest project is the construction of an outdoor kitchen for Sunrise Academy (the current progress is pictured above). We are so excited that this community now has safe drinking water, a school for their children and a building that also serves as a church on the weekends!
Congratulations, Jude, on all you have accomplished and the many lives you have saved through your service to your community. We are so thankful you are a part of WaterStep Nation!