Kyaka Refuge Camp Clean Water Project
This project was implemented in the Kyaka II Refugee Settlement in western Uganda. The settlement's population expanded quickly, and the existing infrastructure was unable to meet the demands. Clean water was necessary to prevent the residents from contracting waterborne diseases. There were many components involved including a rainwater collection system.
 
This project was made possible in part by a $25,000 grant from the WASH Rotary Action Group
Kyaka Refuge Camp Clean Water Project
(PowerPoint file of pictures from the project)
 
Where is the project: This project is being implemented in the Kyaka II Refugee Settlement in western Uganda. As of March of 2022, Kyaka II had a population of 136,841 refugees, mainly from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), who have fled ongoing militia activities, inter-ethnic violence, and widespread human rights violations in North Kivu and Ituri provinces in DRC. By comparison, the population in 2015 was 28,000, so the settlement grew rapidly.

What was the problem: As the settled population has quickly expanded, significant pressure has been exerted on the existing water supply infrastructure and services, thus limiting the number of people with access to clean and safe water. As a result, this has further exposed inhabitants to related public health risks.

What was the solution: The project's goal is to reduce the vulnerability of refugee women, girls, boys, men, and host community members to public health risks. The objective was to increase the potable water supply for refugees and host communities in Kyaka II. This project involved several components, with the aim of improving water coverage, reducing water trucking, and reducing walking distances and queuing time at water collection points. The components included:
        1. Construct water harvesting systems
        2. Build a 100m3 steel tank at Buliti/Sweswe water supply
        3. Develop a mobile water quality laboratory at Sweswe
        4. Extend the utilities to Bujubuli Water Plant
In total, these components will provide an enhanced supply of clean and safe water to approximately 37,000 people.

Did you do anything Unique or Innovative: My experience working in refugee settlements is always unique in its challenges. In similar projects where the same interventions would be implemented in a village, there needs to be buy-in from the local residents, which is similar in this case. Then, it would be a matter of working with the proper governmental authorities and a chosen vendor. In refugee settlements/camps, there is a bit more oversight from authorities: not only does the local government need to be involved, but UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) and the Office of the Prime Minister must also be involved. Additionally, all efforts must be coordinated with the implementing partner contracted with UNHCR to provide oversight and facilitation of services. In this case, Oxfam is the contracted partner with UNHCR to provide WASH-related services in Kyaka II, so we needed to work directly with them…there is no alternative.

What lessons were learned: As the International Partner, my biggest takeaway deals with the relationship with, and the level of involvement from, the Host Club. The Rotary Club of Kampala South has been a great partner and the “leader” of the project. They built relationships on the ground, conducted the needs assessment, wrote the grant application, and have been very active in implementing the project. Since our club is several thousand miles away, we couldn’t have the same level of involvement and sense of ownership. As a result, this project has gone much more smoothly than others I have been involved with (not saying those have been bad; this has just been a great experience).

Who is the Host Club: Rotary Club of Kampala South
Who are the International Clubs: Rotary Club of Prior Lake, MN- United States
How was the project funded: This project was funded with a combination of club funds, District Designated funds, individual Rotarian contributions, and, most importantly, a grant from the WASH Rotary Action Group.
The clubs that contributed to the project:
        Rotary Club of Kampala South- Uganda
        Rotary Club of Prior Lake, MN- United States
        Rotary Club of East Orange, NJ- United States
        Rotary Club of South Amboy-Sayreville, NJ- United States
        Rotary Club of North St. Paul-Maplewood-Oakdale, MN- United States
        Rotary Club of Savage, MN- United States
Districts that contributed District Designated Funds to the project:
        District 5960- Minnesota & Wisconsin, United States
        District 7170- New York, United States
        District 9213- Uganda
Individual Rotarian Contribution: George Wickstrom, Rotary Club of Faribault, MN- United States
 
What is the status: As of early May, the water harvesting systems have been installed at four schools and one medical center. The foundation for the 100m3 steel tank at Buliti/Sweswe is well underway and will be completed soon. Once that is finished, efforts will commence on developing the mobile water quality laboratory and extending utilities to the Bujubuli Water Plant.
 
Members of the Rotary Club of Kampala South continue to visit the project site, and all project team members are provided regular updates via WhatsApp from a cooperating partner with AQUA Methods in Kyaka II.