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Richmond organization turns on the taps in Uganda water project

Twelve tap stands and 9,000 handwashing stations were built in rural Uganda during COVID-19.

A Richmond organization is working to ensure people living in rural Uganda have clean water – especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Acts for Water, a Richmond-based organization, has built 12 tap stands in rural Uganda using a system called Gravity Flow Systems which uses the force of gravity to deliver clean water from high up in the mountains to homes, health clinics and schools.

According to Jeff Golby, CEO of Acts for Water, the average Ugandan has to walk three kilometres to fetch dirty and disease-filled water.

Acts for Water have distributed kits to build more than 9,000 handwashing stations, a simple jug with clean water, in rural Uganda since the pandemic started in March 2020.

Furthermore, the organization has taught kids and families how to make soap to combat COVID-19.

Families learned to use materials bought from the market to make the soap and they then sell it as a form of income.

Soap making and handwashing workshops were ways the organization thought could help keep Ugandans safe during the pandemic, while volunteers were building the temporary handwashing stations and finishing the tap stand project.

“While we in Canada are obviously appropriately waiting a long time for a vaccine to come, it’ll be a long time for people in rural Uganda to get access to a vaccine, if ever,” said Golby.

“There are Canadians giving the single most effective way for people to defend themselves against COVID-19, which is clean water.”

Golby told the Richmond News that each tap stand costs $10,000 to build, but it works out to be $2 per person for clean, safe water for a year. The majority of funding for the project came from Richmond residents, businesses and churches and was collected through fundraisers.

“These small acts by people in Richmond are making a big impact on real people in Uganda.”

Meanwhile, Acts for Water has begun on a new project in Muhaha, southwest Uganda, and is planning to fundraise for it on World Water Day on March 22.

Acts for Water is an organization with 30 years of history in fundraising for clean and accessible water in Uganda.