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Working Toward Water Independence In Western Uganda

Kyle Westaway, a founding partner at Westaway Law, writes in the Huffington Post’s “Water” blog about his experience traveling to Uganda as “a member of the board of the Adventure Project, a non-profit focused on innovative solutions for poverty.” In the district of Kamwenge, 43 percent of the wells are non-functional, he notes, adding, “I joined our team on this trip to search for the answer to one simple question … What does it take to ensure consistent, long-term access to clean water?” He discusses Diana Keesiga, a civil engineer who works “with Water For People in rural Western Uganda to train and empower local entrepreneurs to take ownership and maintain wells.” Westaway writes, “Diana is working with the local district government to institute a ‘pay-as-you-fetch’ system,” which appoints an overseer of the well who collects fees from users and who uses those fees to maintain the well. “This approach creates jobs for the water entrepreneur catalyzing for upward social mobility for his or her family. Their children are healthy and stay in school and have better opportunities for the future,” Westaway states, adding, “Most importantly, the community moves from dependence on [non-governmental organizations (NGOs)] or the government to independence.” He concludes, “As with any new innovation, there will be challenges along the way. But Diana is not content to sit idly by and watch her country return to the scoop hole. She is committed to charting a new course for sustainable access to clean water in Uganda for generations to come” (8/11).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.