Two members of the Rotary Club of Abingdon Vesper, Paul and Maya, visited Uganda in 2016. This is their report.
Paul and I made a 12 days visit to Mubende from 25 Feb to 9 March 2016, mainly to restart the Learning for Life project, but we also managed to spend a few days on microcredit business.
We held a Key Farmer Trainers training day during which the KFTs learned how to assemble and install Lifewater Safe Drinking Water Filters. The first filters were installed in four Learning for Life schools and are reported to work well. More of these filters will be installed in other schools near microcredit villages as soon as the approved funding arrives in Mubende.
We also introduced small ceramic drinking water filter units made and bought near Kampala for use by individual families and we set up a local supply point for these filters in Mubende. The Key Farmer Trainers have since used the International Women's Day Fair in Mubende as an opportunity to showcase these filters as well as a simple and affordable irrigation system. We had donated two filters to the Learning for Life Coordinators and they have proved so popular in their neighbourhoods that there is a constant stream of neighbours visiting with their jerry cans. We hope lots of people will buy these units at £15 each as this will eliminate the use of a lot of firewood and save increasingly scarce trees.
Another innovation designed and tested by Paul was a small chimney made from locally available parts to take smoke outside a cooking hut. Women spend a lot of time inhaling unhealthy fumes while cooking for their families. After a bit of experimenting the miracle worked and this little hut has become a major attraction with visitors coming from far afield to witness and hopefully copy this piece of equipment.
Another experiment of building an underground water reservoir holding 6000 litres of rainwater from the roof of his little house was undertaken by John Bosco Yiga, one of our Key Farmer Trainers. With Vincent's car filled beyond capacity with ourselves and twelve Key Farmer Trainers we bumped our way to John-Bosco's Farm, walking the last mile as the path became too narrow for the car to pass. What this boy has achieved is remarkable, using just a hoe and a spade he excavated a big square hole next to his house, lined it with a thick polythene thick sheet which has to withstand termites and covered it with planks, another polythene sheet and soil, so that it looked like a normal farmyard. Water is fed into it and scooped out from a small trapdoor. An overflow feeds into the garden and what is to become a fishpond at a later stage. The biggest expense was 300,000 UGS (around £65). for the polythene sheets. Most families cannot afford plastic or metal watertanks for rainwater collection at over 2M UGS each, so this may be become an affordable alternative solution.
I am glad to report that the funds to build three classrooms have finally arrived in Mubende. We visited the school, and to our surprise the parents had already cleared the site and foundations had been laid for the classroom block. In addition, parents will contribute funds and materials so that a 4th classroom can be built at the same time. This really is a remarkably cohesive and hard working community. We also found all the temporary classrooms full with children sitting close together on simple benches with exercise books on their laps and in each class a teacher. This cannot be said of many other schools.