Despite progress over the last two decades, access to water, let alone safe water, is still greatly lacking in many villages. Without water, poor sanitation practices and unsafe water can lead to multiple bouts of diarrheal diseases for families, which is one of the leading causes of death of children worldwide and claims more lives than HIV, malaria, and measles combined. In line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 6, UVP focuses on prevention by teaching the importance of standard sanitation facilities such as handwashing stations (tippy taps), latrines, and plate stands for drying. This approach is cost effective: for every $1 spent on providing clean water and educating on healthy sanitation practices, there is an average return of $25.50.
Focusing on providing education and access to handwashing facilities to students in primary and secondary schools helps to create lifelong habits that will be shared with their families and keep children healthy for generations. In addition to working with the teachers to construct handwashing facilities, we teach memorable rhyming songs (“Naba Mungalo”) and conduct funny skits to demonstrate the importance of handwashing.
Borehole (well) Construction and Rehabilitation
Constructing a new borehole is not just about creating a new water source for a community – education is woven into each aspect. From training the Water User Committee, the group responsible for keeping the well functioning, to conducting educational sessions on keeping water safe from source to mouth, UVP provides education to the entire community about the importance of safe drinking water and how to prevent diarrheal disease.
Sometimes wells break and it costs more to fix them than a community can afford. Following UVP’s tenet of collaboration, we then work to engage the community to raise what funds it can and then supplies the remaining amount. Then, we connect the community with a water engineer from the District Water Office and oversee all the repairs, working with partners when possible. Similar to a new well construction, UVP also provided education to the Water User Committee and educational outreaches about safe water and sanitation to the community.
Campaigns are a compilation of several activities conducted over a short period of time, which target specific groups within a community. From house-to-house visits evaluating existing sanitation facilities, to group education sessions, to selling and constructing subsidized tippy taps, UVP staff work closely with the sub-county Health Assistant to reach as many people as possible with information.