In our first meetings with Mwaro village, we came to learn the community’s water challenges were something we had never come across within the Kisoro district. Being far up in the mountains, there was no available water source for kilometers around and was a direct cause of Mwaro’s status as one of the most impoverished villages in the region. The villagers were trekking up to 3 hours a day through the mountains to collect a single jerry can of water.  Not only was collecting water taking up some of the best hours of the day, neighboring villages were becoming frustrated with the growing lineups at water points where waits were becoming over an hour long and full of outsiders.

Without land to build a water catchment, no active springs or water sources, or even the ability to drill down due to the mountain rock we were running out of traditional solutions. This past May we engaged the local government Kisoro district water office (DWO) with some of the community’s ideas for further brainstorming. With the help of the district engineers, we were able to design a gravity water flow system sourced from a reservoir 4 kilometers away in a different sub-county in just a matter of days. The officers helped fast-track approvals to get the project started and water flowing in a matter of weeks.

Things got a little dicey when a private water company claimed water rights and jurisdiction as to where the pipes could pass (it’s complicated) threatening to derail the project, but the proactive leadership of the local administrators across all levels of the district stepped in to make it things nothing but a short-lived speed bump. With all the red-tape out of the way, RTV provided the pipes, materials, and contractors (to help guide the way) and the community members have started digging.

Families have been coming out every day for the past month to dig the trenches connect pipes right to their village. The community even made special contributions of 200 bricks and 2 bags of cement to construct a shed to protect their tap stands from the elements. As of this week, the furthest household has a 15-minute return trip to collect water.  Yay! With great thanks to our supporters, the District of Kisoro, and the hard working people of Mwaro, water, all year round! Yay!

Connecting to the reservoir

All 600 villagers of Mwaro have been digging together for 2 months, rain or shine.

Behold. Water.