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The Uganda Water Crisis

The Uganda water crisis is serious but not unsolvable. Nearly 24 million people are currently living without access to clean water.[1] More than 29 million people are living without access to improved sanitation, and about 2.5 million people are still practicing open defecation.[2] The most seriously affected and vulnerable people live in rural, hard to reach places.

Uganda water crisis facts

Although the issue is big, Uganda is experiencing bigger transformation. The country has been on the rise, with varying degrees and speeds for years. Ugandans are persevering against various odds to create better, healthier lives for themselves, their families, and their neighbors.

Uganda Today: A Persevering Country

Uganda – a landlocked country located in East Africa, bordering South Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo – is one of the most populous countries in Africa, with more than 39 million people. Although Uganda has faced some minor setbacks due to the influx of South Sudanese refugees in recent years, the country is still persevering. The public sector and governance has seen significant reform in the last two decades, and policy is steadily improving. However, vulnerable people living in rural areas are still facing major challenges.

Uganda water crisis - unsafe water source
Women in Uganda collect water from unsafe sources like this one every day.

In those rural areas where Lifewater focuses, we have identified specific challenges. For example, water-borne diseases are prevalent, with children under 5 being at high risk for chronic diarrhea. At the start of our programs, 20-36% of children under 5 had suffered from diarrhea in the last seven days. Furthermore, based on average household size, each person only uses about 4.7 gallons of water per day, which is still below the recommended amount by the World Health Organization: 5.3 gallons per person per day. To give a better idea, the average American uses approximately 80-100 gallons per day. Water collection can take upwards of 2 hours per day for each household. Furthermore, of the rural communities we serve, only about half of the people have access to improved latrines.

Download our Kaliro and Mayuge Baseline Reports for more information.

How Lifewater is Ending the Uganda Water Crisis

Clean water close to home means girls can stay in school.

At Lifewater, we are dedicated to ending the water and sanitation crisis in Uganda. To date, we have helped 30,586 people in the rural districts of Kaliro and Mayuge gain access to clean water, improved sanitation, and hygiene. As part of our Vision of a Healthy Village program, we have certified 5,533 Healthy Homes. Lifewater’s Vision of a Healthy Village is a community led program effecting small changes – constructing improved latrines and handwashing devices; implementing the usage of drying racks for dishes; keeping home compounds clean; and keeping water clean – house by house, village by village. In the next five years, we aim to help 160,000 people in rural Uganda gain access to clean water and improved sanitation and hygiene.

How You Can Help

You can make a real difference for vulnerable people impacted by the Uganda water crisis. One way to make a difference is to sponsor a Village Water Project with Lifewater, to bring transformation to a community of people in Uganda. When you sponsor a village, you get to choose the village, view the communities and homes on a map, and see your impact. Sponsoring a Village Water Project is a great way to be connected to the people you love and serve.

Stories from the Field

Meet Rachel, a farmer, wife, and mother of five working hard to bring clean water, health and hope to her family. Rachel lives as though all things are possible and continues to bless others through her commitment to bring real and lasting change. Read more here: How a Mother is Overcoming Water Poverty in Uganda

Meet Nairuba, a grandmother in her early seventies who has been faithfully praying for clean water for a long time. Nairuba is grateful to God for answering her prayers through Lifewater. Read more here: The Gift of Clean Water: Gratitude from Kaliro, Uganda

These are two stories, among others of how vulnerable people are overcoming the Uganda water crisis thanks to loving people like you. Join us in bringing clean water, health, and hope to more people in Uganda.

[1] World Health Organization, Uganda Country Profile, last updated in 2015, http://www.who.int/countries/uga/en/

[2] WHO and UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation, World WASH Data, last updated in 2015, https://washdata.org/data