OutRiders – BT’s Data Farmers
At the turn of the year, BTs two outriders, Claire Nantongo and Joseph Ssebunya, finished the mammoth task of surveying all of the water points that Busoga Trust has constructed over the last 30 years. This was no mean feat – they visited over 2,000 water points, some harder to get to than others. Lowlights included a very turbulent boat journey on Lake Victoria to get to the Sigulu Islands, and highlights included visiting the water points in the west of the country where grazing wildlife could be seen on the expansive plains. The information that they collected is invaluable to the work of Busoga Trust. We now have a full audit of all of our extensive back catalogue, including GPS markers for each water point, functionality data, and information about the local Hand Pump Mechanics (LHPMs) and the presence of Water User Committees (WUCs). We now know that 68% of our water points are functional and that mechanical disrepair is the leading reason for non-functional water points. There is a very strong correlation between functionality and the presence of an active Water User Committee – highlighting the importance of community based management and the continual training of these committees so that they are in a better position to look after their water source, long term.
The dedicated and hardworking team team are going round again, and doing much more detailed checks and surveys on each water point. They are also adapting their roles and working more holistically by helping communities to re-elect WUCs, and mobilising them to collect money for operation and maintenance purposes. With a bit of guidance and motivation, several communities have collected enough money for spare parts, and have managed to get their pumps working again, which is very rewarding. Our outriders are pivotal in achieving our goal of 100% functionality across all BT installed water sources, and have already helped to make positive steps in that direction