Local Heroes

The water crisis is one of the most critical issues facing the world today. Bringing clean drinking water into communities is an essential step in breaking the poverty cycle, but creating solutions that last can be challenging without the right local partner. This month we are celebrating the local heroes who work day in and day out to make lasting change possible in their communities.

 

 Meeting between farmers from Kichwamba coffee farm, WaterAid and Project Waterfall. Photo credit: Eliza Powell Photography

Meeting between farmers from Kichwamba coffee farm, WaterAid and Project Waterfall. Photo credit: Eliza Powell Photography

Project Waterfall believes that lasting change comes with community ownership and empowerment. We work alongside local grassroots organisations to bring clean water and sanitation into communities. These organisations are the first line of defence against the water crisis.  Their skills and expertise ensure the projects are sustainable, and can mean the difference between a lifetime of clean water or a broken well that can’t be fixed.

Introducing our partners, JESE

On our recent trip to the Fort Portal region of Uganda with WaterAid UK, we visited several schools from our Investing in Education programme. During the trip we met with Joint Effort to Save the Environment, better known as JESE. JESE are the local delivery partner for this project who have been working with the communities in Fort Portal to bring clean drinking water and sanitation into schools. As well as increasing access to clean water and sanitation, JESE works with communities to improve agricultural practises and protect the environment for future generations.

 Photo credit: Eliza Powell Photography

Photo credit: Eliza Powell Photography

Throughout every project, JESE works to ensure sustainability by involving communities in the designing, planning, constructing and maintenance process of water and sanitation facilities. Their work includes both the ‘hard’ changes, like building pumps and toilets, and the equally important ‘soft changes’, such as implementing health clubs in schools and setting up monitoring committees that involve parents and teachers. Their incredible work is changing the future of Uganda from the bottom up.

 Photo credit: Eliza Powell Photography

Photo credit: Eliza Powell Photography

By empowering students and providing them with the knowledge and skills to understand the importance of clean drinking water and sanitation, JESE have sparked change in the schools which has led to healthier students who are confident in their future. Schools are a hub for the local community, and children often bring the knowledge they learn at health club back home to their siblings and parents.

 Photo credit: Eliza Powell Photography

Photo credit: Eliza Powell Photography

Photo credit: Eliza Powell Photography

“I tell my friends who are not members of the health club about what we learn there; how to keep our bodies clean, washing hands with soap after using the toilet or handling food.” – Kenaaju Shakila from Rwenthuuha

Solving the water crisis and bringing clean drinking water to everyone is possible thanks to the tireless efforts of local organizations around the world. While there is still a long way to go before water scarcity is an issue of the past, by strengthening local partnerships and learning from their expertise and guidance we can be hopeful that bringing clean drinking water to everyone, everywhere is an achievable goal.

You can learn more about JESE’s work on their website here.