Forty-three-year-old Mrs. Ssebaggala Milly is a farmer, keeping poultry and growing mushrooms in Kyebando village, Uganda. She and her husband have five children, ranging in age from five to 16 years old.
She and her family share how their lives have changed with the new *pre-paid water kiosks completed by Water.org and its local partner Voluntary Action for Development (VAD) to provide safe water to their community:
“We have lived here all of our life. Many people think that urban dwellers are well off because they can access services very easily but this has not been our experience. Water is easily accessible in the urban areas but for poor urban people, like my family, it is hard to come by. The only clean water that is available is very expensive. One 20 liter jerry can costs 500 UGX [$0.18 USD]. My family needs a minimum of seven jerry cans per day. This would mean my family would pay 3,500 UGX [$1.24 USD] per day, yet our daily family income is 1,500 UGX [$0.53 USD]. This is a very hard struggle.
We decided to only buy two jerry cans every day, which we would use sparingly, especially for drinking. But for other household uses like cooking and bathing, we used to collect dirty water from the nearby ponds. At times, when we couldn’t afford to buy the clean water to drink, my children resorted to drinking the dirty, unsafe water. Then they would get diarrhea and stomachaches all the time. We would then spend a lot of money on treatment.
My family had also given up growing mushrooms and keeping chickens because both activities required another four jerry cans of water every day. But with the coming of this Water.org and VAD water project, which provides very cheap, clean water, my family has revived our mushroom growing and poultry rearing projects!
As a family we are very happy and grateful that this pre-paid water kiosk has come to our village. We can buy one jerry can at 50 UGX [$0.02 USD]! My mushroom project is booming. I am now keeping 300 poultry because I can afford to give them enough water every day.
Our family life has normalized. We get a minimum of 12,000 UGX [$4.26 USD] every day from the sales of mushrooms and eggs, and we only spend 800 UGX [$0.28] on water. We are now saving a lot of money which is used to uplift the livelihoods of our children and family as a whole. Life is different from what it was and my family and I are very happy that Water.org and VAD thought of us here in Kyebando.”
*A pre-paid water kiosk is a public water tap with a little house around it to protect the tap and store some supplies. In the last few years, the Uganda National Water and Sewerage Corporation has piloted pre-paid water kiosks as a way to streamline the cost of water in poor urban settlements. The pre-paid technology ensures that community members pay a lower cost per 20-liter container of water and that the cost is constant, no matter if a drought or illness outbreak occurs. Water.org is supporting this effort because an increased number of kiosks will allow people to have water closer to their homes and to save time by people not waiting in lines at other kiosks and water points. The kiosks will also allow sections of communities that have not had a tap water in the past to now access tap water at a low cost.