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Happy World Water Day!

Today is World Water Day. 

Maybe, as you read this, you have a glass of water within arm’s reach. Perhaps you enjoy your water ice cold…or maybe at room temperature. Some people prefer to drink their water with lemon. And some people still don’t have water to drink at all. 

Even if you are fortunate enough to live in one of the countries with a steady supply of clean water at your fingertips, by now you have heard the statistics about the global water crisis. And many of you have been actively supporting DROP to help provide some relief to suffering communities.

No matter how often you hear it, it’s still hard to believe that in 2021, one in every ten people on the planet still lack this basic necessity.

And it’s always heartbreaking to hear the personal stories about the women, girls, teachers, school administrators and so many others who spend valuable time each day walking long distances to collect water. The challenges they face on a daily basis are already enormous, without this added burden of searching for water. But being sick is worse. And having a child die from drinking contaminated water is unbearable.

Although our primary focus at DROP has been providing clean water for school children, in the past few years we have expanded our activities to also include drilling for more communities. We realize that we cannot provide enough wells to fully solve the enormous problem, but it is too difficult to turn our backs on those who are suffering. 

Time and time again, we have turned to our donors for help. And the incredible spirit of the DROP community always shines through.

Last December, DROP launched a campaign to raise awareness to the struggle rural healthcare facilities face in trying to provide clean water for their patients and medical treatments. You came to the rescue, donating enough to fund twenty wells for some of the most needy clinics, schools and communities in northern Uganda – some of which we are in the process of drilling right now. 

Since gathering our friends around the kitchen table and starting DROP 15 years ago, we have provided clean water to more than 250,000 people in more than 400 communities across Uganda and South Sudan. This is all thanks to the unwavering generosity, giant hearts and steady support from you – our donors, our friends, and our beautiful DROP family.

As we recognize World Water Day 2021, we hope you will give yourselves a pat on the back. We appreciate the sacrifices you have made to help support these communities with clean water. There is still so much to do, but we are making progress.

So take a deep breath before you sip your next drink of water and realize that your support is making it possible for people on the other side of the world to also drink water.

Your donations help save lives, instill hope, and contribute to eradicating the global water crisis. Please continue to support DROP. 

Your donations aren’t part of the solution, your donations ARE the solution. 

Thank you! 

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February Drilling Updates

February Drilling Update

During the last few months of 2020, Drop In The Bucket launched an initiative to drill twenty wells at twenty health centers in the Pader district of northern Uganda. The campaign was a direct response to the Covid-19 pandemic, and addressed the grim reality that many of the region’s health centers were struggling to provide clean water for their patients. No water to wash their hands. No water to ingest medicine. No water to facilitate treatments, and no water to help with general hygiene and cleanliness. 
 
The situation was dire and required immediate attention, so we started an online campaign. The response from our donors was also immediate, and within just a few months we had all of the funding we needed to drill those twenty wells – and more. Our drillers are currently in the field, and work is progressing fast and efficiently. We are expecting another three wells to be completed this week, and there are no plans to stop working until all of the health centers on our list have clean water.

What difference can one well make?

Latigi Health Center II is a new facility, built in a recently updated building that houses both the healthcare facilities and staff quarters. But Latigi does not have running water. The only nearby water source is a well that broke down several months ago. This means that the health center staff have to walk several miles to a distant community and stand in a long line at the well, then walk back carrying the water. Without this water, they can’t clean their instruments, they can’t clean the facilities, and they can’t treat patients. This is also the only water they have to drink.

Salva Abaa is a nursing assistant at Latigi. He cares deeply about helping his community, but these days he spends far more time hauling water than treating patients. “The people who come here suffer a lot,” he tells us. “They come to my home asking for drinking water.” He is more than happy to help out when he can, but with so little water available, he can’t even clean his cup and dish after each use.
 
The Ugandan Ministry of Health has recommended that every health center should be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized twice a day. Salva and his coworkers struggle to maintain these standards, but without an easily accessible water source the extra labor leaves them exhausted. Due to the lack of running water at the facility, Latigi is not treated as a priority by the government agency in charge of distributing medicine, and Salva says that deliveries are regularly late and the center is inadequately stocked. This means that even after working hard to gather water for the facility, they sometimes have to turn patients away due to a lack of medicine. For Salva – and the countless health care workers like him – not being able to help people in need is the toughest part of his job.

Twenty wells is not enough. We can’t stop until no patient is turned away – and clean water is where we can make the greatest difference. As we know from our own battles with Covid-19, personal and social hygiene are the easiest ways to stop the spread of communicable diseases, and we plan on continuing to raise money so we can keep drilling at more health centers and schools throughout the pandemic, and beyond. 
 
For a moment, think about how difficult it is to start your day without brushing your teeth. Or how you’d feel preparing your family’s food without being able to wash your hands all day. Or merely the thought of turning on your computer without that first cup of morning coffee. Think about how exhausting housework can be… Now think about carrying ten, fifteen, twenty gallons of water several miles – all before you can even start your work day.
 
Can we really make a difference from the other side of the planet? Just ask the doctors, nurses and health care professionals who are working around the clock to provide relief to people not only suffering from Covid-19, but countless other ailments we take for granted. 
 
Take Salva’s word for it – every dollar helps. 
 
Thank you for your continued support.  
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Today is Giving Tuesday

Today is Giving Tuesday. This is an opportunity to redirect your attention away from the constant stream of consumerism and focus on those in need. 

This year has brought many changes to all of our lives but one thing remains the same. There are families in Africa that need clean water. And here at DROP we are thankful for our loyal supporters who share our mission to help them. Together we are bringing water, education and development to rural Africa.

And in that spirit, we are gearing up to begin our current water project: 20 wells for 20 clinics in 2020. The team is loading the trucks now and heading out to begin drilling next week. We have almost reached our target of funding for 20 wells. But we need your help. Click here to support water for a clinic or health center in northern Uganda.

Drop in the Bucket Drillers load the trucks before heading out to start a new drilling project in Uganda.
Drop in the Bucket Drillers load the trucks before heading out to start a new drilling project in Uganda.
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Ogago Health Center II – Where the Security Guard has to Fetch Water.

Ogago Health Center II – Where the security guard has to leave her post to fetch water every day.

 

Owlla Christine - Security guard at the Qgago Health Center II in Uganda
Owlla Christine – Security guard at the Qgago Health Center II in Uganda

When Christina Owila applied to be the security guard at Ogago Health Center II, she knew her job would include creating a safe and welcoming space for anyone seeking care at the center and potentially heading off any would-be thieves. What she didn’t know was that most of her energy would go towards keeping the center stocked with water.

While there is a school near to the health center that has a well, it is a shallow well rather than a deep borehole well like the ones that Drop in the Bucket drills. It has also been broken for more than a year. During the rainy season, this open well floods with polluted standing water, making the water unsafe to drink. The closest safe water source is a well at the distant trading center, a grueling walk in the hot sun. The trading center’s well also charges for the use of the well, a common practice in Uganda.

Christine wakes up hours before Ogago opens to make sure the center has the water it needs for the day. Whenever possible she makes the long walk to the training center, but money, time restrictions, and high demand mean that more often than not the open well is her only option. The patients at Ogago desperately need water to drink and use to take their medications, and new mothers need safe water so they can sponge bathe their newborns. Using water from the open well puts both new moms and their babies at risk of infection, but any water is better than no water.

Cecilia Avero is the director of Ogago Health Center II. She works tirelessly to find solutions for the water problem, but the center simply does not have the funds for a sustainable solution. The added strain of the coronavirus pandemic has made a difficult situation significantly worse. The new guidelines from Uganda’s Ministry of Health mean that the center has to be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized twice a day, but this added workload also means more time spent walking for water.

Both Cecilia and Christine do everything they can to make sure their patients have clean water and sanitary working conditions for the medical staff, and the burden of the work and keeping the space clean is a lot to deal with. A well at the health center would change everything for the staff at Ogago and would allow them to spend their days with confidence and allow them to focus on their patients without the additional burden of walking for water.

How Can You Help?

Drop in the Bucket is currently running a campaign to raise the money for 20 wells at health centers in Pader district. By providing these healthcare specialists with clean water we can help them better serve their communities and help save lives. But we need your help!

While a single donation may not seem like it will make much of an impact, together we can turn every drop in the bucket into a wave that will change lives for the better. Please consider making a donation so that Cecilia and Christine can do what they do best: provide a safe healing space for their community.

The Ogago Health Center II in Uganda
Ogago Health Center II

To help Christine and the staff at Ogago Health Center please visit our 20 wells for 2020 clinics campaign.