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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.

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Drop in the Bucket is Drilling Wells for Health Centers in Uganda

Around the world, millions are navigating the COVID-19 pandemic. And in rural Uganda communities have the added challenge of living without access to clean water. One place lack of water becomes a striking concern is rural health centers and clinics.

Rural clinics are the first line of health defense for remote communities throughout Africa. These local medical facilities, often staffed with only nurses, midwives or medical assistants, are the thing that stands between life and death for vulnerable and sick community members.

These are small but crucial institutions. They may be stark, with few instruments and minimal staff but they are a true lifeline.

Since the majority of households have only a bicycle for transportation, each day, in villages throughout Uganda, sick, injured and pregnant patients are walked, wheeled or physically carried into these rudimentary facilities with life-threatening conditions such as malaria, typhoid, infections, and yes… flus and viruses.

Although there are many challenges faced by the tireless healthcare workers, one of the biggest concerns is lack of clean water.

Imagine having to collect unclean water to clean a wound, give a feverish child some medicine or clean off a newborn baby. And now, as the COVID-19 pandemic rages, imagine adding the responsibility of protecting the community and patients from the deadly and highly-contagious virus.

Last month, as we wrapped up our most recent drilling projects, the local leaders from Pader district requested a meeting with us. They drove two-hours to our office to discuss the possibility of DROP drilling water for some of their desperate rural health centers. And although we did not have the funding at the time, we knew we had to try and help. This is why we are reaching out to you. We know times are tough for everyone right now, but if you are able to help, we could use your support.

How you can help!

So, for the remainder of 2020, DROP is dedicating our entire focus to raising money to drill wells for 20 health centers in Pader District of northern Uganda.

Please join us and support our campaign – 20 wells for 20 clinics in 2020.

Thank you for your support.

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August Drilling Updates

The COVID-19 crisis has had an enormous impact on the whole world for most of this year. And here in Uganda, life has also been at a standstill. Schools have been closed since March, gatherings of over a dozen people are banned, and all borders have been tightly shut down. But fortunately, since the need for clean water was so urgent to help fight the virus and protect the communities, Drop in the Bucket has been allowed to keep drilling, although under strict guidelines.

We recently finished drilling 12 wells for communities and schools in Pader and Nwoya districts of northern Uganda. And, last month, we were given the green light to finally begin our community trainings. With guidance from the local Covid-19 task forces, we have now completed training all of the village water management committees on strategies for proper care and maintenance of those new wells. The participants were required to wear face masks and sit in marked positions that adhere to the social distancing guidelines during the trainings. We also included an additional hygiene component that focuses on COVID-19 related procedures for operating the hand pumps and keeping the community safe. Water users are also required to wear face masks around the wells at all times, avoid congregating, and wash their hands before pumping water.

It has been a long three months of working without community involvement. Because of COVID-19, the communities were not even allowed to watch drilling progress. This was not normal and we missed them.

Our 2020 campaign will be aimed at providing clean water for 20 clinics and health centers in northern Uganda. Please consider supporting this campaign as we work to help these communities stay healthy and fight the virus.

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An Update from our Director April 2020

Greetings from Uganda. I hope everybody is staying safe and managing the new and unusual lives we are living during this coronavirus global crisis.

It’s been a dramatic couple of months for the world. When I returned to Uganda at the end of January, life was very different than it is today. Over the past couple of months, we’ve been reading reports about the unimaginable global death toll and hearing stories about the impact the COVID-19 lockdown has had on almost every corner of the earth.

Here, in the communities where we work, most people lack the basic necessities that are essential to fighting off a deadly virus – clean water and soap. And an outbreak of a virus like COVID-19 could easily devastate the country. For that reason, the nation has been actively participating in the global effort to shut down, social distance and stop the spread.

In February, the government began monitoring, testing and quarantining travelers coming in from high-risk countries. And by mid-March, a full shutting down of the country was underway. Businesses stopped operating, except those selling food or medicine. The airport was closed and students were sent home from schools. All public gatherings were banned, and even funerals were prohibited.

By the beginning of April, even more stringent measures went into place. All transportation, both public and private, was stopped. The remaining borders were closed and the military was dispatched to enforce a 7PM curfew.

Now, the streets of Uganda are empty.

The usually bustling streets of Kitgum, Uganda stand empty during the Covid-19 pandemic.

But the people are being kept well informed. There is a website that is updated daily with the latest statistics on testing, quarantines, tracking and tracing. And the president gives regular speeches on the radio, which is the way everybody here gets their news. Even in the deep villages, people use radios to keep up with the outside world. He provides information on how the virus is easily spread and strategies for protecting yourself and others. He regularly reminds the country that it is their social responsibility to not get each other sick. And the best way to do that is to stay home.

And although these are some of the most extreme measures in all of Africa, there is no question that if coronavirus were to take hold here, it would be a disaster. Left unchecked, COVID-19 would tear through this country and they do not have the medical infrastructure to manage it. Without sufficient PPE, something like this would also take out a good percentage of their medical force and the country cannot afford to lose their valuable nurses and doctors.  Also, since so many rural villages do not have clean water, the virus could easily infect entire communities.

Empty streets in Kitgum Uganda during the Covid-19 pandemic

So the country completely shut down. And, as with the rest of the world, it has not been easy. Most people here live day to day and have no savings. Weekly village markets, which provide vital food, supplies and small economic opportunities to rural communities, have been stopped. But there was no option. The markets attract large numbers of people who crowd onto lorries bringing them from the villages. The entire way of life here is social and involves being very close to others. It is a breeding ground for a contagious virus.

But, for us here at DROP, it has been business as usual. When the shutdown began, the government officials in the district we are working appealed to us to please keep drilling. They granted us special permission to have our vehicles on the road and even provided soldiers to guard our equipment at times. We have had complete support because people here know that clean water not only saves lives, it also helps fight COVID-19. And we plan to help as much as we can, including expanding our community trainings to include a component that focuses on COVID-19, with tips on how to stay safe and stop the spread.

For the past 14 years, DROP has made it our mission to bring clean water to these rural communities. Last year alone, we drilled over 40 wells. And this year, despite the pandemic and country-wide lockdown, we have not let up.

Although the world can feel dark at times like this, it really brings a ray of light to the people here to know they have not been forgotten and that we are still coming, as promised, to bring them clean water.

So, thank you for your continued support. Stay safe and please keep washing your hands!

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Some tips for effective hand washing

SOME TIPS FOR EFFECTIVE HAND WASHING
While we are in no way experts in viruses, we do have some experience in hand washing, having taught hygiene and sanitation at schools in Africa for more than a decade.

The virus can’t be killed, just eroded. The way it works is, the virus is just a protein – it’s not a living organism, it is a protein with a protective layer of fat surrounding it. This means it cannot be killed, it must decay to become harmless. Soap cuts the layer of fat and the exposed protein starts breaking down.

But it takes time. The longer you wash your hands, the more the fat breaks down. The foam that you produce by rubbing your hands together is excellent for cutting fat, so the more foam, the better. (30 seconds is a good amount of time for the soap to do its job)

 

Use warm water. Heat melts fat, so warm water is better than cold water, but if you don’t have warm water, cold water still works.

 

Isopropyl Alcohol also works. Isopropyl alcohol (often sold as rubbing alcohol) also dissolves fat, but it has to be over 65% alcohol. Vodka or gin or most alcohol sold as a consumable product will not work as they are generally around 40% alcohol.

 

Antibacterial products are not better than soap. Friends of mine in the US have been asking me about if they should be using an anti-bacterial soap or which type of soap is the best to use in this situation and the answer is the best type of soap is the one you have. The corona virus is actually a protein molecule. It is not a bacteria, so anti-bacterial soaps are not actually better in this case. The soap can be scented or unscented, it can be a bar or a liquid, it can be a well-known brand, handmade or a generic brand All of them will work in the same way and most importantly, all of them will work.

What about hand sanitizer? Hand sanitizers need to contain at least 65% alcohol and they cannot be alcohol-free, as many are. If they list benzalkonium chloride as the active ingredient or the label contains the words “alcohol-free formula, these will not remove the protective fat around the virus protein, so they don’t actually help.

 

Keep surfaces clean at home too.  Lysol works, so does bleach.  Bleach is more practical but must be diluted 1-part bleach to 5-parts water. Caution must be practiced when using bleach as it can be harmful to certain surfaces including your skin.

In terms of what works best, the answer is still soap and water, though covering your mouth/nose in public, and not touching your face are also important. If you are in an indoor public area (like a supermarket) a mask is advised. We hope this helps and we hope you stay safe and healthy during this global pandemic.

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Some Tips to Keep Yourself Safe During the COVID 19 Pandemic

Drop in the Bucket provides water, sanitation training, and education to schools and communities in Africa. We regularly teach the importance of good hygiene to avoid the spread of disease, and as we all try to mitigate the impact of this novel strain of coronavirus, we wanted to share some of what we’ve learned with you. 

  1. Wash your hands well enough to kill viruses: with soap and water for 20-30 seconds.  Experts are suggesting singing Happy Birthday twice, which absolutely works, or you could go with the classic “A little bit of soap” – also, the chorus of the Bee Gees Stayin’ Alive is the perfect length to get your hands clean!
  2. Stay Home! If you can avoid going out please do. It’s not just about you – it’s about trying not to infect the most vulnerable among us. It’s about slowing the spread to avoid overwhelming our hospitals, so everyone who needs help can get it.
  3. Wash your hands! We repeat. Wash your hands with soap and water. For 30 seconds. 
  4. Keep some distance! This virus can be silently transmitted by people who look and feel healthy so social distancing is paramount. Keep a 6 foot physical distance from other people to minimize the risk of coming into contact with the virus.
  5. When you go out for provisions, consider who you can help if possible. An elderly neighbor, or if a family member has asthma – do whatever you can to help them avoid unessential trips outside for the next few weeks. 

This is not the time for xenophobia, viruses don’t recognize borders and please don’t hoard more than you need.  We all live together on this big beautiful planet and we’re going to get through this if we work together. Be kind to each other and look out for each other. 

 

How You Can Help

In order to get the new dorm in shape, we’ll need to do some painting, fixing up, piping water from the well to the bathrooms, and even putting a new roof on one of the buildings. Your donations will go directly toward making those much-needed repairs. The girls are so excited to be moving in by April 1st and we can’t wait to send you photos!

Your Support Helps Empower Young Women

& Creates A Brighter Future For Us All

Donate Now

A large group of students in Uganda smile for Drop in the Bucket


RELATED: Empowering Girls


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International Women’s Day 2020

As we look forward to celebrating International Women’s Day on March 8, 2020, we’d like to give an update on a very special project close to our hearts.

We recently heard from the parish priest in Nimule, South Sudan that a compound that belongs to the church, which was previously occupied by some nuns, was coming available to rent.

The compound is very well secured with two gates, five building blocks, large grounds with lots of trees and it is very close to their school. Everything about the place is perfect. It’s been pretty neglected due to a lack of money for maintenance and repairs when the sisters were there.

So we would like to clean it up and make some repairs before we take the girls over.

We are officially moving into the new dormitory on April 1st!


A young female student lays down in her dorm bunk in Uganda

A Brighter Future For Young Girls

Drop in the Bucket’s girl education program in South Sudan works to identify primary school students who are excelling academically, but cannot afford to attend secondary school. We began sponsoring students in 2016 and currently have awarded over 100 girls with secondary school scholarships.

Since most of their parents are living in the refugee camps, we try to enroll our girls in boarding schools in Uganda. But not all of our students qualify to attend school in Uganda. So we have now opened the DROP dorm in South Sudan, which currently accommodates many of these girls. Our goal is to provide them with a safe learning environment where they are free to grow, create and pursue their academic dreams.

“If every girl worldwide received 12 years of quality education, lifetime earnings for women could increase by up to $30 trillion globally, boosting the GDPs of entire countries worldwide.”- MIT Solve

Students in Uganda smiling in class


How You Can Help

In order to get the new dorm in shape, we’ll need to do some painting, fixing up, piping water from the well to the bathrooms, and even putting a new roof on one of the buildings. Your donations will go directly toward making those much-needed repairs. The girls are so excited to be moving in by April 1st and we can’t wait to send you photos!

Your Support Helps Empower Young Women

& Creates A Brighter Future For Us All

Donate Now

A large group of students in Uganda smile for Drop in the Bucket


RELATED: Empowering Girls


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World Water Day 2020

Drop in the Bucket believes that water is a basic human right and by providing access to clean water we can solve a multitude of the world’s problems. On March 22nd, 2020 we’re celebrating World Water Day and we’d like your help to spread awareness about the World Water Crisis we’re all facing.

“Our bodies, our cities and our industries, our agriculture and our ecosystems all depend on it. Water is a human right. Nobody should be denied access.” — UN Secretary-General António Guterres

Why Does Clean Water Mater?

 

According to the UN, 700 million people worldwide could be displaced by intense water scarcity by 2030. That’s a scary number!

By building wells and sanitation systems in Uganda and South Sudan, Drop in the Bucket, is directly fighting the World Water Crisis in some of the world’s most vulnerable areas. See our completed projects below.

 

Drop in the Bucket has drilled over 400 wells in Uganda and South Sudan.
Drop in the Bucket has drilled over 400 wells in Uganda and South Sudan.


Get The Facts

Want to learn more about the World Water Crisis? Get the facts here!

Share a fact on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and help spread awareness about the World Water Crisis.



How Can I Help?

Start A Fundraiser

You can do a lot on your own, but think what you could do with a group? Start a fundraiser with your business, school, church, team, or organization group! Once your well is drilled we’ll send you photos of it being used. That way you can see the faces of the children you helped. We will also place a tile with the inscription of your choice on the tile as a permanent commemoration of your achievement. Learn More.


Donate Your Birthday

The greatest gift you can give is the gift of life. It’s hard to wrap our heads around the fact that while we all have so much, some people only need one thing to improve their lives, clean water. Next year on your birthday ask your friends to do something different. Give them the opportunity to change an entire community’s lives. Why not donate your next birthday and instead of gifts ask people to help build a well in your name? Learn More.


Become a Monthly Donor

Monthly donations make it possible for us to plan ahead with drilling projects. Knowing that we have the funds to drill more wells in a specific area means we can be more efficient and help more people. Please consider signing up for a monthly donation, no amount is too small or too large, but being able to count on regular monthly donations is huge for us as an organization so we really appreciate all of our regular supporters. Honestly, we couldn’t do any of this without you. Learn More


Drop in the Bucket celebrating World Water Day March 22 2020
Nursery school students in Paicho, Uganda now have access to clean water thanks to a new well drilled by Drop in the Bucket.

 

Thanks to your generous donations, Drop in the Bucket has drilled over 400 wells and sanitation systems since 2006!


RELATED: How A Pair Of Shoes Started A Movement


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QUIZ: How Can You Save Water?

Conserving water is one of the easiest ways we can make a difference. Take our quiz and get personalized recommendations on how you can save water!

Your Support Helps Provide Clean Water

& Creates A Brighter Future For Us All

Donate Now


RELATED: How A Well In Uganda Changed One Girl’s Life


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