From a river to her doorstep

Just north of the main thoroughfare from Bombo to Kigwaga town in Uganda sits the home of Narwoga and Mubiru. A few mixed-material structures make up the home they share with their five children. The couple’s small roadside shop faces the busy road, offering snacks and bottled drinks to passersby.

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"...every day I walked a few miles past the road to get water from the river." Narwoga, Uganda

Narwoga and Mubiru have had many financial obstacles over their years - they lost part of their small taxi business and their biggest challenge was a lack of water at home. Narwoga explained, “We could not afford to pay for water from the vendors. So, every day I walked a few miles past the road to get water from the river. The kids helped me, but it was difficult. The containers are heavy, and it took many trips to get enough for our day.”

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Narwoga sits in front of her home.

While their taxi repairs were out of budget, a small affordable loan to free their family from the burden of the water crisis was not. Access to financial services in Uganda has improved significantly over the last decade. This development made it possible for Narwoga and Mubiru to finance a rain catchment tank for their property.

The tank can hold up to 10,000 liters. A single rainy season can fill the tank. Based on the family’s water use, a full tank lasts them at least three months. With every downpour, that’s three more months of hope, three more months of possibility, and three more months of living life unburdened by the water crisis.

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Narwoga washes clothing with water from her rain storage tank.
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Narwoga's shop is her main source of income. Now, she is able to keep it open more hours of the day and can earn more money.

Fifty-one percent of Ugandans lack access to safe water and 82 percent do not have access to improved sanitation facilities. At the same time, access to financial services in Uganda has improved significantly over the last decade, mostly driven by the expansion in mobile-money services. This development, along with the private sector’s interest in including clients living at the base of the economic pyramid, primed the market for expansion of microfinance services to a larger share of the population. Learn more about how Water.org is empowering families like Narwoga's with safe water through access to affordable financing.