How we work
The charity was setup in 1996 by UK Environmental Health Officers in the UK. These days our work in Uganda and Zambia is managed by Ugandan & Zambian Environmental Health Professionals (EHPs). Quality and sustainability is ensured by regular visits by trustees some of whom are EHPs. It’s a very successful formula
Water for Kids aims for a holistic approach to the prevention of waterborne disease and, in terms of its ethos, the charity adopts what we call the ‘three legged stool’. The first leg is the provision of safe water, the second is ensuring there is improved sanitation and the third is hygiene education.
All of our projects involve local environmental health professionals who continue the hygiene promotion after the end of the project and assist local water committees to sustain the water supply. An evaluation carried out by a Zambian environmental health officer of our project in Chipapa Market led to us changing the way we work to ensure that we provide hygiene education alongside the provision of safe water. We also fund projects which are managed by other organisations, which we know and trust. They are also encouraged to involve health professionals.
In the areas where the WfK projects are located, there is often little surface water. Boreholes are drilled in locations where sonar equipment indicated the rock is less dense, here water will collect at 45 to 90m below ground level. Pipes are then installed to bring water to the surface. Most commonly hand pumps are used to draw the water up through the borehole to fill containers. The cost of drilling a borehole and providing a hand pump is over £3,000 to £4,000. So few boreholes can be provided and people often have to walk a long way to get water and may have to queue when they get there. This may mean they use contaminated surface wells or streams instead.
Promoting good hygiene
Our projects have a strong emphasis on health education and sanitation. The core program involves training volunteers to become Hygiene Promoters to carry out hygiene education with each household and to encourage them to build latrines and tip-taps (simple structures for hand-washing).
Keeping the Water Flowing
Water for Kids considers sustainability to be the essence of its projects, there is no point in bothering unless it’s going to last. So we aim to involve the local community from the start. Later we discuss how they will maintain the installation in the future and make arrangements for them to take over the new system on completion. We will, wherever we can, use local labour and materials.