In 2007, Lawrence, a young farmer, returned
to his home village of Akwaiworo in Northern Uganda after spending time living
in a refugee camp while war had ravaged his region.
Like many other returning to their communities they found their few clean water points had fallen into disrepair, putting the lives of their families in jeopardy. As a husband and father of two young children, Lawrence was aware of the risk that a lack of safe water posed. Seeing the need, Lawrence took the responsibility upon himself and signed up to be trained in pump repair through Blood:Water's local partner.
When a water point breaks down, sending
someone from afar to repair it can take weeks if not months. For this reason, Blood:Water connects community leaders like Lawrence with local partners to receive training and skills in developing their ability to be active agents in their own community's development. Focusing on the growth of the community from within as the key to sustainability, Blood:Water and its
partners have been key in training local reliable people to be able to
reinstate the clean water supply as soon as possible.
To foster this kind of internal community development, Blood:Water supports the creation of village leadership teams. Lawrence joined alongside his neighbor, Tony, to create a well repair committee. He followed Lawrence into training in 2008, and the pair became a team. Tony, is 29 years old and not yet married;
"I'm still a youth!" he says, with a catching grin. Knowing the difference it makes in
their lives, he has endless enthusiasm for helping people get easy access to
Armed with a cell phone, a tool kit and a
bicycle Lawrence and Tony have so far repaired over 20 wells in their
region. Local communities and even
the regional government have begun to keep note of their number, and recently
they were able to fix two wells in one village - one for the school and one for
the wider community - within 24 hours of getting the call.
Now the dynamic duo are in turn planning to
start a small pump repair business not only to provide the desperately needed
assistance to their local area, but also to pass on their knowledge by training up
other local teams and encouraging each community to become totally
One of the great struggles with water projects is making them truly sustainable - both so that there does not need to be a continual influx of dollars and also to promote local ownership. Local ownership is an important part of empowerment - it means that not only is the water problem addressed sustainable, but that there is encouragement and a fostered belief in the community's own ability to address and tackle other problems. Lawrence and Tony represent the kind of human development that must occur for true community development.
~ Pamela Crane, PhD, Africa Field Manager