Boreholes, Rain Water Harvesting, Latrines and Health Education in Uganda

Bishops’ Appeal has regularly funded the work of Fields of Life in their water and sanitation initiatives across Uganda. This is examples of three such projects funded.


Water & Sanitation remains a crucial issue for millions of people and thus remains high on the priorities of Bishops’ Appeal.  Today 748 million people do not have access to safe drinking water.  Of them 173 million are reliant on stagnant , surface water (many of these in rural areas) And despite much work being done, today 1 billion people will have no alternative to open defecation.

Boreholes: This water drilling project is a vital constituent element of the Fields of Life Health programme. Fields of Life owns and operates its own drilling rigs and drills wells at all the schools it builds as well as in many rural communities it works with. We install rainwater harvesting systems where the topography does not favour drilling boreholes. We also ensure that there is adequate sanitation facilities at all school sites. In most parts of Uganda, there is an abundance of clean water just 50 to 60 metres beneath the feet of the people who are suffering daily. Access to and the supply of potable water significantly impacts on the health of a population. During each day of 2014 another 330 people accessed clean water from a Fields of Life borehole.

Fields of Life is reapplying to Bishops’ Appeal to support the drilling of at least another two boreholes in Amuria to add to the one supported. This project is a crucial constituent of the Fields of Life Health programme and targets to drill a total of 20 wells in 2015 in Amuria District, North-eastern Uganda where the potable water supply is woefully inadequate. We currently have the possibility of grants from 4 UK Trusts to drill 7 boreholes in Amuria as we aim to reach our initial target of 20 wells.

Through the money being made available to Fields of Life for this borehole, 1000 people will have access to safe drinking water.  This has a knock on effect, allowing more girl children to attend school instead of spending hours collecting water and it reduces the violence experienced by women and girls when they are in the vulnerable position of collecting water far from the protection of the village.  It is followed up with training for eradicating water borne diseases in what was once a water-scarce community.  It frees up women to focus on income generating schemes and home gardens as their time is not spent walking for water.

Rain Water Harvesting: While the main sources of water in Uganda is ground water, subsurface water and surface water sources, the majority of the districts experiencing severe water shortage are in the dry belt. These are water stressed areas with low ground water potential and therefore it’s not possible to drill boreholes. With a 1200mm annual rainfall in Uganda, RWH is the only viable option. The potential for RWH in South Western Uganda is vast. Traditionally young girls/women have to collect water from water points located in valleys and carry it up hill.

The RWH project will collect rainwater from the largest expanse of roof in most rural villages, the corrugated roof of school classroom blocks. The water collected on three classroom roofs will discharge into three 10,000 litre plastic storage tanks. The water is filtered and leaves, twigs and other debris extracted. The tanks are erected on a concrete base and the water dispensed via tap stands located close to latrines to promote hand washing. The grant will pay for the purchase and installation of the RWH system as well as the sanitation and hygiene training in one specific school – Kigina Diginity Primary School.

The project goal is to improve the health and provide safe drinking water to approximately 2,500 pupils, teachers, parents and local people in the vicinity of Kigina Diginity Primary School by installing a RWH system. Benefits will include open access to 30,000 litres of rainwater for the school and local population and improved sanitation and hygiene awareness and water usage and preservation training practices in the school and about prevention of water borne diseases.

The project’s aims and objectives include the construction and installation of a 3-tank, 30,000 litre capacity RWH System in Kigina Diginity Primary School in Rukungiri District, Southwest Uganda; the provision of safe drinking water for c. 177 pupils, 5 teachers and indirectly benefiting 3,400 local people; raising awareness about safe drinking water, sanitation, water borne diseases and hygiene promotion among pupils, teachers, Water User’s Committee (WUC) and community and improving schools sanitation and hygiene practices.



Fields of Life’s is working to support schools in East Africa to achieve total sanitation by 2020. The target is to provide toilets to meet the recommended World Health Organisation standards of one stance per 25 girls and one for female staff; one toilet plus one urinal (or 50cm of urinal wall) per 50 boys, and one for male staff and encouraging hygienic behaviour in the schools. To achieve this, Fields of Life (FOL) not only needs to construct latrines but also to provide hand washing facilities, washrooms for girls specifically for during menstruation and to provide water to rural primary schools.

The schools are located in areas which traditionally struggle with the water shortage, but the demand for water and sanitation facilities has increased as a result of the introduction of Universal Primary Education (UPE) in Uganda. The national pupil: latrine stance ratio is 1:67 and has only improved marginally over recent years, as there has not been an effort to construct new facilities in schools. Nationally by the end of 2015 only 7 districts met the national target of a pupil: latrine stance ratio of less than 1:40. Access to hand washing facilities in schools is very low at 38% of the schools reported to have hand washing facilities and yet it is accepted that hand washing with soap lowers risk of many preventable diseases. The Centre for Disease Control refers to it as a “do-it-yourself” vaccine. Access to toilet handwashing facilities is 33.2%, much lower than the national target of 50 percent.


FOL has already designed a one stop latrine facility including a lined pit, a urinal for boys, a separate washroom for girls and a self-supplying handwashing facility attached to the latrine facility. The project will support the construction of child friendly WASH facilities for boys and girls as well as provide sanitation and personal hygiene training in one specific school which previously benefited from a Bishops Appeal Water grant, Kigina Dignity Primary School.

The project aims to improve the health and provide child-friendly hygiene and sanitation facilities to 256 pupils and 5 teachers at Kigina Diginity Primary School by constructing boys and girls child friendly complete latrine facilities. Benefits will include access to more latrine stances, currently 128:1, access to water for handwashing facilities which contain 400 litres of rainwater tapped from the toilet roofs and a private washroom for girls where they can change and clean themselves during menstruation.

The project will construct 2 (1 girls and 1 boys) lined pit latrine facilities and include the provision of 2 self-sustaining hand washing facilities attached to the latrines each with a 200 litres capacity for c.111 girls, c.145 boys and c.5 teachers and indirectly benefiting 3,400 local people; raising awareness about handwashing, menstrual hygiene management and child protection.