Blog Action Day is an annual event held every October 15 that unites the world’s bloggers in posting about the same issue on the same day with the aim of sparking a global discussion and driving collective action. This year's topic is water.
This year the Eurochange Charity a UK based charity which works to find sustainable solutions to poverty relief in Africa, funded a water harvesting facility for the Batwa Pygmies in the Kisoro region of Uganda.
The Batwa, who are among some of the poorest people in the world, live on the fringes of the Bwindi Impenetrable and Mgahinga Gorilla National Parks, home to half of the world population of critically endangered mountain gorillas. For centuries they lived alongside the gorillas in the dense mountainous forests and survived by hunting for food. Since the establishment of the National Parks the Batwa can no longer access the area and have lost their traditional lifestyle. Lacking specialist skills, they mainly work as labourers for land owners, dance for tourists or even beg for money or food. The Batwa have been unable to compete on equal terms with other ethnic groups and struggle to access education, health care, employment and the crucial land they need to grow food for their families and a provide sustainable security for the future. Consequently, the Batwa live on the margins of an already marginalised society.
The Eurochange charity is involved in a number of projects to help the Batwa including the provision of healthcare, but most recently the charity constructed of a 30,000 litre water tank beneath a rain-harvesting metal roof which also doubles as a shaded 'meeting' area. The water tank and meeting area is intended primarily to benefit a small, remote, community of 12 Batwa families at Kabahenda in an area where water is not easily accessible. The tank provides access to a clean water facility thus improving sanitation, hygiene and living standards. The whole project will also help other, non-Batwa, families living in this area and significantly increase community and neighbour integration.
It amazing what can be done with a little money in a very short space of time. This whole project took only a matter of months from inception to realisation with funding provided by The Eurochange Charity. The project was monitored/supervised on the ground by the charity's Uganda project manager and the money was used to buy all the necessary materials and to employ local builders along with some hard working Batwa labour with a vested interest in the project. Everyone involved set about construction with great enthusiasm and they can rightly be proud of their achievements. Proof, if you need it, that where there's a will, there's a way. This facility will dramatically improve the quality of life for all who benefit from it. There is, of course, still much more to be done in other areas to help the Batwa but, in the meantime, bring on the rain!
To find out more about the work the Eurochange Charity is doing to help the Batwa and other marginalised groups in Uganda, or to make a donation, see http://www.eurochangecharity.org/