Safe water through the power of the sun in Uganda

Project type: Water (Purification & Saving)

Project location: Eastern Uganda, Namayingo District

Project status: In operation, credits available

Annual CO₂ reduction: Approx. 18,000 t CO2e

This project provides access to safe water for around 50,000 people in rural communities in Eastern Uganda as many people still depend on open and unsafe water sources like lakes and rivers often leading to diseases like diarrhea, typhoid or cholera.

As in other rural regions in Uganda, access to safe drinking water is a huge issue in Eastern Uganda. Waterborne diseases are a continuous problem for the people. The project is working in Buhemba Sub-County, Namayingo District, where currently approximately 40% of people don’t have access to safe water. Most of them depend on Lake Victoria for their daily supply of drinking water. The average income in this region is less than 1 USD per day, hence buying clean water or water disinfection technologies are rarely an option for the people in Buhemba. 

The project comes at a very crucial moment where so many cases of waterborne diseases like diarrhoea, dysentery, typhoid and worms are so common among our people including children.

Auma Patricia, Women Association Leader of Babiri-Bandu Women Development Association in Bukewa East Village

To manage the microbiological contamination of water, families fall back on the available resources and practices: boiling the water with firewood on inefficient three stone fires. For this, people have to cut down trees for timber/charcoal or collect branches in nearby forests or on their own land, further contributing to local deforestation and drop in forest coverage. However, due to financial reasons many people do not treat their water at all, hence being even more exposed to serious diseases as cholera, typhoid or worms. 

 

Solar-powered, robust and cost-effective solution for water disinfection

The vision of myclimate’s partner HELIOZ, an Austrian Social Enterprise, is to provide equal access to safe drinking water and to provide knowledge about proper hygiene and sanitation measures as this is a human right and fundamental to the health and well-being of people. HELIOZ developed a device called WADI (Water Disinfection), a solar powered UV measurement device that visualizes the process of solar water disinfection in PET bottles. Solar water disinfection is a natural process, in which the UV-radiation of the sun inactivates certain harmful pathogens in the water. The process only requires PET bottles which are everywhere available in the project region. They are filled with contaminated water and are then exposed to the sun. The duration of this disinfection process is determined by the sun’s UV intensity. A smiley face is shown on the WADI device once the process is completed confirming that the water is safe to drink. The method has been tested by the World Health Organization (WHO) and approved as an effective method for household water treatment.

Safe water has been a problem, the only treatment option available here is when you have some firewood and can boil the water or put chlorine tablets which is expensive and also the water taste is not good! 

Lwande Godfrey, Local Council One Chairperson, Ogojje Village, Buhemba Sub County

The project provided more than 10,000 households in 45 villages in Buhemba Sub-County with WADI devices and regular trainings on water use and proper hygiene and sanitation practices. By this, the project will reach around 50,000 people. In a previous pilot project in Uganda, families reported that the WADI device is a very easy-to-use solution. As in most households, women are responsible for the collection of firewood and providing their families with water, the project solutions will especially benefit the women by saving time and money. The reduced consumption of firewood will also lift the burden on nearby forests and will save CO2 emissions as boiling on the open three stone fires is prevented. Through the project, the families will be supplied with the necessary resources to disinfect approx. 20 litres of water per day. In the first monitoring period 2020/21 the project has significantly improved the sanitary situation in the project region. Local artisans were trained and over 30,000 simple sanitation facilities such as hand-washing stations, toilets, bathing shelters were constructed.

 

Menstrual hygiene management for school girls 

Carbon finance will be used to finance the implementation of the project by HELIOZ Austria and their local affiliate Get Water Uganda and to further enhance its impact by working on complimentary activities in water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) such as providing menstrual hygiene trainings to young girls and supporting households with installing simple handwashing facilities, pit latrines, etc. Carbon finance will also be used to create income opportunities, especially for women in form of fruit tree planting and establishing plastic collection groups to support recycling of plastics.

 

This project contributes to 9 SDGs (as of end 2021):

Find out how myclimate reports these SDGs in our FAQ.

 

The following SDGs are verified by the Gold Standard:

In 2021 the households saved over 100 USD since the consumption of firewood for water boiling is not necessary anymore. 99% of the households confirm a reduction of medical expenses due to a reduced number of doctor’s visits.

In 2021 over 57,200 people in over 10,000 households have benefited from save water. 100% of the households confirmed a reduction of water-borne diseases (such as typhoid and diarrhea).  

More than 14,000 beneficiaries received trainings in the first monitoring period. Examples are trainings on the use of the WADI, proper hygienic practices, construction of sanitation facilities, financial trainings for the set-up of Village Savings and Loans Associations and many more. 

Women empowerment is a focus of the project. In 2021 women saved on the average 400 hours for the collection of firewood and water boiling due to the more sustainable method of water disinfection. The project supports the target group to organize themselves in income generating groups, e.g. in Village Savings and Loans Associations. 53% of all group members are women. 

Access to safe water is a human right. Every family disinfects on the average 20 liters of water per day as drinking water.  

Each WADI avoids up to 3t CO2 per year from reduced use of firewood for water boiling.

Reduction of firewood means reduced deforestation. Each household saved on the average 1600kg of firewood in 2021. This creates less pressure on natural habitats.  

These SDGs have been approved by myclimate:

The project supports fruit tree planting activities. Subsidized fruit tree seedlings are distributed and trainings on planting provided to households. 760 fruit trees were planted in 2020/21.   

Four plastic collection groups have been formed with 120 members, all of them women. The members received environmental awareness and waste management trainings. Within one year  they collected 407 kg of plastics by paying a small amount per each kilogram to the households. The volume will be sold to a local recycler, the margin provides a small additional income to the women. 

Situation without project

Boiling of water with firewood or no water treatment

Project standard

Project number

7192-C

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