teso

Communities in Teso supported with bio-sand filters for safe water

(Last Updated On: 13 July 2023)

By John Ogulei

Soroti, July 12, 2023: The fishing communities in some land sites in Serere and Soroti districts, Eastern Uganda have received bio-sand filters through the MissionCleanWater project“The WaterGirl” created by Dylan Oster.

The project is aimed at addressing the concerns of clean water supply, sanitation and hygiene in rural areas.

Dylan Oster is a high school student from New Hope Pennsylvania in the USA.

The move is aimed at reducing waterborne diseases, providing clean potable water, and reducing teenage pregnancies, gender-based violence, early marriages and school dropouts.

The bio-sand filter mechanism is a simple household water treatment device consisting of different sizes of stones and pebbles, coarse sand, fine sand, and activated charcoal arranged in layers inside a food-grade container that helps purify water.

It is estimated that about 1.1 billion people globally do not have access to safe drinking water in the developing world, a situation that is resulting in approximately 1.8 million deaths each year from waterborne diseases such as diarrhoea, and cholera among others.

“The Project target is to have a bio-sand filter in every household in communities without access to secure safe, clean, and potable water in the community,” said Andrew Auruku, a Bio-sand Filter program Manager in Uganda.

Auruku noted that when people have healthy water, their life changes, children go to school and girls continue and complete their school circle.

One of the beneficiaries, Michael Olego from Mulondo landing site in Serere who adopted the method of bio-sand filter use, said the project is far too cheaper than any other methods of commercial water filtration and treatment.

He added that the method is suitable for last-mile communities without access to clean potable water. He narrated that before the BSF was introduced to them, members of the community used to rely mainly on lake water, ponds, and rainwater.

“The project provides low-cost, socially acceptable, and appropriate technologies that address problems of poor access to clean water,” he narrated.

Olego also notes that bio-sand filters have also helped conserve the environment.

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“We used to cut trees to get firewood and charcoal every day to help in boiling water so having the bio-sand filters helps us keep our trees. If we preserve the trees, our environment wins.”

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John Engwau of Mugarama landing site in Serere district told this website that the water filter that has been installed has helped to eliminate waterborne diseases.

He added that school absenteeism has dropped by nearly two-thirds now that children aren’t getting sick as frequently. He also noted that part of the money initially used for treatment is being saved to help in paying school fees and feeding families with a well-balanced diet.

Editha Amongin, an elderly woman from Mukura Town Council in Ngora District, also said that the bio-sand filter has saved her from the burden of spending money on buying water guards and firewood.

She noted since when the filter was installed in her community she has also saved much time she used to waste to boil water and conserve the environment.

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