SEATTLE — Water is one of the most precious elements the earth has to offer. Without clean water, life cannot be sustained. Unfortunately, the water quality in Uganda is low and not accessible to nearly 60 percent of the population.
The country of Uganda has had to deal with internally displaced people as a result of the conflict initiated by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). For more than 20 years, the LRA terrorized the people of Northern Uganda. When the conflict ended, citizens began trying to develop the land again. Those in IDP camps began rebuilding their lives. However, one of the major problems they faced was a lack of quality water.
Despite trying to move forward and recover, the people of Uganda have found that without water, the efforts are to no avail. With the lack of access to clean water, more than 22,000 children die each year from water-borne disease and over 4,000 children under five die every year from preventable diarrheal diseases. While efforts are being made to improve the issues, more help is needed.
With the lack of water, farmers have major issues as well: they cannot grow crops or earn their living. In addition, many Ugandans rely on the natural resources on the land to survive. With the removal of forests giving way to the agricultural land, the soil is exposed to erosion and loses fertility. There are also several nomadic communities in Uganda that are unable to have access to clean water and safe sanitation and are therefore trapped in poverty.
The crisis has called for the World Health Assembly to address the quality of water and sanitation in Uganda. The need for leaders to provide safe water and sanitation to fight diseases is pertinent. Women and children have to retrieve water from gutters and fill containers that were at one time holding fertilizers or oil. A lack of knowledge on water safety has led to people retrieving contaminated water, but many have no other choice.
Organizations such as Charity Water have been taking steps to help the water quality in Uganda. They have funded 564 projects and invested $6,620,150 to help Uganda. Some of the solutions they have implemented on the ground include drilled wells and rainwater catchments. Further, the organization WaterAid has partnered with local organizations to find appropriate and sustainable solutions for the different areas in Uganda. To donate and help improve the water quality in Uganda, check out their websites here and here.
– Chavez Spicer