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Water User Committees at the Heart of Water Source Improvement

“When something is left without a caretaker, it usually disintegrates. Similarly, when water sources are left without caretakers, they can disintegrate.” This statement was made by Daniel Semaganda, a Fields of Life Officer in charge of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH).

Fields of Life has drilled 750 boreholes in the remotest parts of East Africa to ensure that communities have access to safe, clean water. As an organisation, we recognise that engaging the community members is key to ensuring sustainability of these water sources. The community members need to be engaged to take on ownership of their water source.

“The community needs to be involved because if not they can, knowingly or unknowingly, destroy a water supply system,” said Daniel.

In a bid to maintain the functionality of water sources, Fields of Life, together with the respective district local governments and community members in Uganda, have identified over 7,000 people to serve on various Water User Committees.

These individuals have been trained on safe water chain maintenance, gender task analysis, record keeping and their respective roles and responsibilities. In addition to this, the different committee members manage local water points, collect and manage water user fees, keep good records of functionality and repairs and provide feedback to their community members when necessary.

“The Water User Committees ensure that even after Fields of Life leave the area, the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene standards are maintained,” explains Daniel.

Each Water User Committee consists of up to ten members with at least half being females so as to encourage gender balance.

Christine, the Vice Chairperson of the Water User Committee of a water source in Obosoi village, Kumi District, Eastern Uganda, said training is necessary for the members of the Water User Committees. “Before I was trained, I didn’t know my role on this Water User Committee. But now, I know that I am to assist the Chairperson to chair meetings and ensure that we maintain a functional borehole and good sanitation in our community,” Christine said.