Charlotte, our Operations Manager, shares from her first trip to see the work of Busoga trust in Jinja.
I visited the Busoga Trust for the first time just over a year ago. I was working in South Sudan at the time, and I decided to take a week's holiday in Uganda. Having volunteered for Busoga Trust UK in the past, it was a great opportunity to stay at the Guest House and visit the team alongside the rest of my plans.
It was lovely to meet the Busoga Trust team and travel with the Jinja Community Development Officers to see what their day looked like. Part of their job is to check in on communities which had already received a new well, and see how things are going.
One thing I was struck by was the sense of camaraderie and friendship they had with community members in each village. It showed the care they put into their work, and how well they made people feel valued.
In one village we visited I met a lovely lady called Hannah (pictured above). She greeted me with a huge hug saying "I'm so happy to see you!" and then took me on a tour of her village, smiling and laughing at every opportunity. She described how the community used to have to travel two miles across the swamp to collect water, a round trip of two hours.
Not now the new handpump means clean water is just 5 minutes away!
Hannah also described her role at Treasurer of the Water User Committee. In each village Buosga Trust works, the local community elect a committee to take responsibility for managing he well. As treasurer Hannah collects money from the community so that there is a repair fund, and she described the willingness of households to contribute financially towards the sustainability of their water source because of how much it meant to them.
She also described how the community had experienced much more extensive change on top of the arrival of a new well. Busoga The community hygiene and sanitation training meant that households now had drying racks, latrines, hand washing stations, and separate kitchens, and these developments continued even after Busoga Trust had left.
Having worked in a number of developing countries, working to promote these messages of hygiene and sanitation, it was so impressive to see the effectiveness of Busoga Trust's work, with communities actually adopting behavioural change long term. This is testament to the skill and hard work of the staff.
Hannah, and her superb tour, left me with a tangible sense of the hope Busoga Trust brings and an insight into how investing in, and partnering with, communities well, is key in fostering the ingredients for ongoing sustainability.