June 24, 2011
Adah and Shakira are all girls aged below 15. They live in Kakatunda Parish in Bukinda Sub County of the mountainous district of Kabale in south western Uganda.
The two girls collect water for their families from a shallow well at least twice a day. They collect water of questionable quality from unprotected surface water source at a great distance from their homes.
Apart from deterring them from collecting sufficient quantities, it wastes their time so sometimes they have to skip school.
This problem is significantly worse during the dry season, when the water table drops, and rivers and shallow wells dry up.
This unprotected shallow well often collapses and fills up with soil due to soil erosion which is common in the hilly Kabale district
All the dirt from the hills usually flows into this well. Surprisingly some people in this village do not know that something is wrong. After all, their grandparents had been drinking from these wells and they survived.
It is such unsafe water that kills. In his message to the world during the 2010 World Water Day, the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon lamented that unsafe water kills more people than war plus all other forms of violence combined.
Like Adah, many children in Uganda spend hours each day collecting water instead of going to school.
Instead of going to schools, millions of children in rural parts of Uganda spend almost half a day collecting water for their families. Others spend weeks at home suffering from unsafe water-related illness or attending to their parents suffering from unsafe water- related illnesses.
Extension of safe water to such homes would help these children study uninterruptedly, live healthy and became prosperous in future.