helping ugandan refugees

Helping Ugandan Refugees


In May 2011 Water for Kids approved a grant of £6,227 to an NGO, called Helping Ugandan Refugees (HUR), to provide water from a borehole for 5,588 displaced people in Kivuuvu, Uganda. At that time their water was from a contaminated spring 2km away plus a small supply from rainwater harvesting at the school. The new borehole and hand pump are now in use.

Peter Scott, founder of HUR, describes the project:
Kivuuvu, near Kampala, is made up of two communities of around 5,588 internally displaced people. They fled from the north of Uganda to escape the LRA (Lord's Resistance Army) who terrorised the communities in the region, killing tens of thousands and displacing around 2 million people. In 2004 the UNHCR classified this conflict as the most neglected humanitarian crisis in the world.

Most members of the camps have had family members killed by the LRA. The 'families' that live together are often a mix of orphans, adults and elderly people. HUR (Helping Ugandan Refugees) was set up to try and help heal the past and build a future for everyone. Most of the work we undertake is achieved through the help and care provided by local Ugandans.

The camps are former lodgings for itinerant sugar cane workers. The dwellings have been generously given by the sugar cane company, SCOUL. From the outset a major target was to provide sanitation and clean water. Latrines have been constructed, as has a limited rainwater capture facility. However most water has historically been collected from a contaminated source, about 2km away. The main problem has been that the camps are elevated with respect to the surrounding countryside, so that available groundwater can only be found at significant depth.”

Around June 2011 HUR put an application to WfK to provide a grant to enable a water borehole to be sunk. Prior to this Peter Scott (founder of HUR) investigated suitable companies to undertake this work, taking advice from local officials in Kampala. Initially a geophysical survey was undertaken to determine the best location for the borehole. Subsequently a borehole was drilled to 55m depth and a good water supply obtained.

The borehole location is within the sugar plantation. Permission was granted by SCOUL to undertake the work, but as it is not in one of the camps HUR have arranged for a security enclosure to be built. A full time water bailiff has also been employed to oversee the operation of the pump and to undertake regular maintenance.

With guaranteed clean water now available a nurse, employed by HUR, will commence educating the communities in improving health and hygiene through the effective use of water for drinking, washing hands after using the toilets and before meals, and keeping cooking and eating utensils clean. Activities that were impractical when reliant on an impure and remote water source.

In November 2011 trustee Peter Minhinnett visited Kivuvu the works had just been completed and the community were using the clean water, which is now only 300 metres away from one of the camps.