May 2, 2018

Lifeline May 2018 Update

Pastor Christopher at the upgraded spring
Pastor Christopher at the upgraded spring

Dear Lifeline supporters,

From community meetings in rural Uganda to the halls of the World Bank in Washington, D.C., millions around the world are asking: what does it take to create a truly sustainable water system? Is it a structured investment or government management? New technologies to measure water flow and system costs? Throughout 12 years of deep community engagement in Northern Uganda, we at Lifeline have learned that relationships are at the true heart of community development.

Lifeline’s work is driven by dedicated individuals and entrepreneurs from our partner communities and our own WASH team. Our approach leverages the process of developing clean energy and safe water systems to establish locally-owned enterprises and distribution channels. This leads to a shift in the ability to share and replicate innovations, long-term stakeholder inclusion, and community participation and ownership. A critical thread linking all of Lifeline’s projects are authentic, self-reported stories of personal growth.

Meet Pastor Christopher O. from the village of Barapwo Te Dam just outside of Lira, Uganda. When Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army swept through Northern Uganda during the 1990s and early 2000s, violent raids were launched to terrorize communities and forcibly recruit child soldiers. One night, LRA militants attacked Christopher’s home, forcing him to flee on foot into the wilderness with his mother and siblings. On the run for years, Christopher struggled with homelessness and eventually found himself sleeping on a bench outside of a church. Recognizing an opportunity for change, Christopher became more involved in the church, where he found the focus and resolve to earn his high school diploma and later pursued a bachelor’s degree and graduate studies.

Now, as a professional pastor, Christopher is committed to uplifting his community by improving access to education and clean water. Through our longtime partner Water To Thrive, Lifeline became connected with Pastor Christopher as he was seeking a partner to develop the spring in his home village of Barapwo Te Dam. Thanks to Christopher’s leadership, Lifeline successfully completed structural upgrades at the spring, which now serves over 4,000 residents and students at the nearby University of Lira with clean water. This energy for positive change – the catalyzing force behind development – is what Lifeline seeks to leverage in each of its partner communities for lasting impact.

Lifeline is equally grateful for the dedicated individuals on our WASH team who work directly with communities to develop and maintain sustainable water resources. Michelle White-Yates, who served as a Peace Corps volunteer with Lifeline’s Clear Water Initiative in Northern Uganda, is a prime example of this driving spirit. As a management advisor, Michelle worked to streamline program planning and operations to ensure clean water reached communities efficiently.

Sadly, Michelle passed away suddenly in August of 2016. To honor her legacy of service to others and passion for improving water access throughout rural Uganda, Michelle’s friends and family worked together to raise funds to rehabilitate a community water point. Lifeline recently completed this borehole rehabilitation project in the village of Bung B, where over 250 residents are now benefitting from improved access to clean water. We are proud to complete this water point as a living memorial to Michelle that will continue to serve clean water both for healthy living and as a resource for community growth.

Now more than ever these local agents for change need our support and we ask for your generous contributions to allow them to continue building on this inspiring work. As always, thank you for your commitment to our mission of supporting community-led transformations towards greater well-being. 

Sincerely,

The Lifeline Team

Michelle's rehabilitated well serving Bung B
Michelle's rehabilitated well serving Bung B
Jan 31, 2018

January 2018 Update

Collecting water for the first time in Aberidwogo
Collecting water for the first time in Aberidwogo

In partnership with Generosity.org, International Lifeline Fund finished December 2017 by successfully drilling two new wells and rehabilitating two existing wells to serve a total of 2,682 residents, students, and teachers with safe and reliable drinking water. In addition, Lifeline has continued efforts to support a pre-existing clean water ecosystem. Our goal is to minimize the risks of borehole malfunctions while maximizing the likelihood that timely corrective action will be taken in the event water access problems do arise. Activities to promote the community ownership and maintenance of these water points included:

1) training a 9-person Water User Committee (WUC) from each village in borehole oversight and maintenance (O&M) procedures, including the collection of water user fees;

2) training a caretaker from each village to track borehole functionality and report breakdowns; and,

3) educating and sensitizing a total of 265 community members on best practices for hygiene and sanitation to maintain the cleanliness of their water points.

As a result of these activities, the communities are now well-equipped to maintain their water points for years to come.

These projects have already made significant impacts on the residents of the beneficiary villages. Patrick A. is a 33-year-old father of four from Alado village. Before the installation of the new well in Alado, Patrick remembers traveling up to 2 kilometers each way to collect water from an unprotected spring. Patrick expressed his gratitude for the newly drilled borehole and its positive impact on his health and hygiene. “Now,” he says, “I do not experience cases of stomach problems [from drinking contaminated water] and can bathe at any time.”

The two communities that were previously relying on dysfunctional wells are likewise seeing changes in their everyday lives. Mary A., a mother of seven, recalls the yellow water that used to flow from the Abatapo community well prior to its rehabilitation, and how difficult the handle was to pump. “At times,” Mary remembers, “we traveled to another borehole when the water color became too bad.” These days, at the newly rehabilitated borehole, Mary has access to clean water with a handle that is easy for her to pump. “This saves me time to take care of my family and saves me stress from waiting in line at the other village’s borehole,” says Mary.

Continuing on this momentum, Lifeline is currently preparing to implement new and exciting programs throughout 2018. In particualr, we look forward to ten new projects with our longtime partner Water To Thrive, which will improve water access for an estimated 3,800 beneficiaries. 

Thank you to all of our generous donors who enable these positive impacts to reach so many lives. Your continous support helps Lifeline to advance our goal of providing universal access to clean water across the entire district of Apac, Uganda.

Gratefully, 

The Lifeline Team

Patrick A. is improving his health and hygiene
Patrick A. is improving his health and hygiene
Testing the pump while repairing the Abatapo well
Testing the pump while repairing the Abatapo well
Excitement surrounds Ayomjeri Primary School
Excitement surrounds Ayomjeri Primary School
Nov 2, 2017

Lifeline Update November 2017

Doris -- Trained hand pump mechanic.
Doris -- Trained hand pump mechanic.

Dear Lifeline supporters,

How often does the water service in your home malfunction? If you live in an area with a developed public water infrastructure, service is rarely interrupted because the infrastructure is well maintained. When water service in your home does malfunction, how do you solve the problem? If you call the utility company to report the issue, the company will send a licensed mechanic to assess the problem and conduct repairs. You likely will not receive a bill for these services, as this public utility is financed by your tax dollars.

In rural Uganda, there is no public utility infrastructure responsible for maintaining water services. This is largely due to 1) the absence of a “prevention mentality,” so communities do not consider system maintenance until water stops flowing, and 2) a lack of performance incentives for mechanics to ensure the water system continuously functions. As a result, hand pumps frequently break down and communities face a variety of barriers to restoring water service.

Lifeline is now excited to announce that we have officially launched a professional maintenance service in Apac, Uganda! Over the past six months, you have read about our efforts to improve access to clean water in rural Uganda by improving the quality of hardware and maintenance services available to sustain wells over the long term. This has included 1) training and contracting local hand pump mechanics to perform routine mechanical assessments and pump calibrations; 2) establishing 2-year maintenance contracts between villages and local mechanics; 3) training Water User Committees to operate bank accounts for maintenance service subscriptions; and 4) upgrading wells to corrosion-resistant stainless steel materials.

In just three months of operating the maintenance business, Lifeline has signed 2-year maintenance service subscriptions with a total 12 communities and looks forward to extending the service to many more across Apac District. For a flat monthly fee of about $25, each community receives monthly water well maintenance performed by a Lifeline-trained mechanic, as well as a yearly overhaul to replaced worn parts. In the event of any functionality issues or breakdowns, Lifeline operates a toll-free Help Desk hotline to dispatch mechanics within 24 hours for emergency repairs. 

The preliminary results of this project are encouraging. In 5 out of 6 emergency repair cases, Lifeline has dispatched a mechanic in less than 24 hours to assess the pump damage and perform necessary repairs. As a result, these twelve community wells have been consistently delivering drinking water for 98% of their operating time. This is a huge achievement, as these communities may have waited weeks or months for a local mechanic to restore their water well service before.

As Lifeline grows this affordable and effective maintenance service into more communities across Apac, we look forward to collaborating with the Apac District Hand Pump Mechanics Association, as well as local entrepreneurs, to hand over this business to community members for long term ownership that will both sustain local livelihoods and clean water access.

We appreciate your continuous support in bringing clean drinking water to the communities of rural Uganda and sustaining their water access for years to come.

 

Sincerely,

The Lifeline Team

Broken water well being repaired.
Broken water well being repaired.
Repaired well in the village of Apiremit.
Repaired well in the village of Apiremit.
Clean, fresh drinking water restored.
Clean, fresh drinking water restored.
 
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