As part of a review undertaken in 2013/14 on how to improve the sustainability of the 3 V vet veterinary shops, IKARE also looked at non-veterinary products with potential of improving farmers’ livelihoods in the rural SOS districts, and which could be supplied through the 3 V vet distribution network which had been established. One of the products which we came across was the Solvatten unit – a jerry-can which both purifies and heats water through use of solar energy. Not only does it reduce water-borne diseases like cholera, diarrhea and typhoid and thus family spend on medication, but it also reduces household spend on charcoal and kerosene - having a positive impact in reducing respiratory, skin and eye diseases as well as CO2 emissions and burns caused by kerosene caused accidents.
Further to piloting the unit through the 3 V vet network (which to-date has been slow as we are yet to find a viable formula for how to best administer and finance what is basically the turning of tomorrow’s savings into today’s cash) a number of Solvatten units were given by IKARE to EUNISCA, the Student for Health co-ordinating council, founded by Ian Waiswa, a student at Makerere University and joining forces with his father, Professor Charles Waiswa (one of the SOS Partners), High Heights Initiative under the Student Support Philanthropy Programme (SSPP) .
Funded by IKARE, EUNISCA/SSPP embarked on an initiative of improving WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) among a few communities in the Kikoni slum of Kampala. Working closely together with Community Based Organizations (CBOs), a number of wells and water collection points were cleaned and repaired, with the communities not only taking increasing responsibility for their upkeep but also instituting by-laws imposing fines on those found littering them. Solvatten units were both distributed to a number of especially vulnerable families selected by the CBOs, as well as used in schools and other locations to demonstrate the importance of clean AND warm water, both for reducing water-born diseases as well as improved hygiene, but also as a means to set-up and improve small businesses like food kiosks, fruit-juice stands, hairdressers etc.
Over these last two years this small side initiative has further grown to see more than 600 students across Ugandan universities becoming involved with EUNISCA. The outcomes as seen in Kikoni of improved access to clean water [link to video] have also generated interest at Kampala City Council Authority and the Ministry of Lands, Department of Urban Development, who have asked EUNISCA to pilot a similar scheme in the Bwaise slum. Bwaise is the home to an estimated 90,000 people with over 80% estimated to be surviving on less than 2 USD a day.
While (still) only approximately 25% of the Ugandan population live in cities, over 40% of the 1.8 million estimated to live in Kampala live in slums like Kikoni and Bwaise, with deplorable conditions when it comes to WASH. DCT (Diarrhea, Cholera and Typhoid) and other water-borne diseases are frequent with a majority of households estimated to be continuously suffering.
In early October 2016 the piloted WASH initiative in Bwaise was launched by EUNISCA in co-operation with the targeted communities and their CBOs. IKARE is proud to be providing both financial as well as non-financial support to these dedicated youths.