The Uganda project is working in the community of Lweza, a village that is just east of the capital city of Kampala. We are working with the organization Village Health Project to provide the citizens of Lweza with clean water. Currently, the nine primary water sources in the community are contaminated with E. Coli and other harmful pathogens. Our goal is to install a sustainable, clean source of water and educate the community to improve their public health. We traveled in Summer of 2015 to conduct our first assessment and create a foundation for a long term commitment to the community. In January 2017 we conducted our first implementation trip, and we are currently working to prepare for another implementation trip.
Despite a low key 2018, the year of 2019 started on a great and eventful note. Early January, five of our members and a mentor traveled to Lweza, where they were able to conduct community meetings and update the community on our progress and make sure we are on the same page. The team also secured a contractor to build the pump house at the Lweza guest house which is seeing its completion as I write this. We were able to get updated GPS points for the pipeline distribution system and talk to the owners whose land we pass. There are only so many things you can do from 7800 miles away, much more was accomplished by meeting the suppliers, water committee and contractors face to face. We are now confident in doing a complete implementation August 2019.
During the last spring semester and into summer 2018 we were able to finish up the design for the implementation of a pump, chlorination system, pump house, solar panels, piping distribution network, and storage tank and submit our Pre-Implementation Report to EWB-USA for the first round of comments. We were unable to implement in summer 2018 as planned because of some delays with land contracts, and fundraising. That being said, the new goal is to travel this January 2019 and implement everything stated above. The goals for this semester are to reply to comments on the Pre-Implementation Plan from EWB-USA and get our design approved, get all necessary land agreements signed, and fundraise the remaining money needed to travel.
EWB drilled at the Lweza Guest House about 600 meters from the Lweza Primary School. Operations lead Keerthana was on site to oversee the drilling operation, which was successful. Once the well was drilled, water testing was done by the drilling company. The water quality met US EPA standards, and the flow rate was sufficient to provide for the school. The team has been busy ever since, preparing for a full system implementation planned for the summer of 2018.
Last month, we sent a travel team of five people to the community. During that trip we drilled for water at the Lweza Primary School, but unfortunately hit dry fractures instead of wet fractures. We conducted multiple additional hydrogeological surveys while in country and found another potential drilling site for our proposed borehole system. During that time we focused on community education and strengthening our relationship with the community, as well. We are currently working to prepare to drill again at the new site. We hope to drill again during the semester, and then send a travel team to finish implementation later this year.
The EWB-UW Uganda program is partnered with the NGO Village Health Project (VHP) to provide clean water to the village of Lweza, a 6000-member peri-urban community 50 km east of the Ugandan capital city Kampala. Lweza has nine surface water sources located throughout the community, all of which are contaminated with e. Coli and other coliform bacteria. This contamination causes illnesses within the community, most often affecting children and the elderly.
In the summer of 2015 members of the Uganda project traveled to Lweza for an assessment trip. During the trip the team conducted water testing, community surveying, materials sourcing, and land surveying. The goal for our project is to design and implement a sustainable water system for the village.
Our team has spent the past year and a half designing an centralized water system to provide water for 3,000 members of Lweza. The design consists of a 60m drilled borehole, 60,000 L water storage tank, and distribution piping to several taps to facilitate accessibility. The borehole pump can be powered by electricity or solar power. We are planning a trip for January 2017 for the first phase of implementation.
We are in the process of finishing up our pre-assessment paperwork for the 521 deadline in mid-April. Our subgroups have been on top of their game, getting most of our documents completed with one month to go before the deadline! We recently also picked our travel team and will be aiming to send 7 students and 1 professional mentor to Lweza for a 3 week assessment trip in July. In a few weeks, we will be picking a new project manager to transition at the end of the semester.
EWB-UW-Uganda is officially an EWB-USA project! We received our 501 and 502 documents back from EWB-USA in mid-January, informing us that our project was accepted. However, we received notice of the project acceptance 2 days after the January deadline for the 521. Because of this longer-than-expected turn-around time, EWB-Uganda will not be able to submit our 521 pre-assessment in time to travel in March over spring break. Though these logistics are disappointing at face value, we think it will be more valuable to pursue a longer and more intensive assessment trip over the summer. With the semester started back up, our EWBers are busy researching and filling out documentation to prepare for a thorough assessment in July or August. We are also looking forward to gaining new members at our project-specific kickoff on February 12th!
Last month we submitted the 501/502 documents and are looking forward to completing the 521 by the end of the semester in preparation for the January 15th submission deadline. This will allow us to travel in March 2015 if all of our applications are approved. This month we will also be sending out travel applications and creating a week-by-week plan for next semester.
This month we are beginning work on the 521 pre-assessment documentation in preparation for a December submission. We will also be submitting the completed 501/502 documentation in time for the November deadline. Previous issues regarding the 501 documentation were resolved through communication with our primary community contact, Ronald Nsimbe. Due to one of our project managers graduating in December, we have sent out applications and will begin reviewing them early next month.
The biggest update this month for the Uganda project is that we have revised our first travel date. Instead of traveling in January, we now plan on traveling over spring break for a shorter assessment trip. This decision was driven by our discussions with the community; we had a few issues with initial project selection. However, we believe we can easily resolve these issues and are close to having a completed 501. Village Health Project (the NGO we work with) has been very helpful in arranging for video communication with the community leaders which has assisted our efforts to determine our first project. Looking forward, we plan to submit completed 501/502 documents in November and start the 521 document.