Media centre

Media Centre


Press Releases

Media Calendar

Features Archive



UNICEF provides clean water to drought affected communities in Kotido District

By Proscovia Nakibuuka Mbonye

It is early in the morning and the tap attendant from East Lokore Village in Kanawat Parish, Kotido District, North Eastern Uganda, moves from home to home mobilising families to collect water from the motorised solar water system provided by UNICEF.

This village is one of those areas that have been adversely affected by the dry spell which hit the district last year, leaving many communities without water.

Among the children lining up to collect water at the UNICEF supported tap stand is Nakiru, an eight year old girl who lives close to the water source. Nakiru, other children and their mothers are happy to access clean and safe water from a clean source. They have carried all their empty plastic containers to be filled with water.

She mentions that the weather conditions this year have destroyed their crops leaving them with little food to harvest from the garden. “The sun has also left all the other wells dry but with the new tap stand, we have water almost all the time,” she adds.

Nakiru mentions that the dry spell this year has been so long. “I last saw rain many months ago. I am not happy because we only have one meal a day since most of our crops have dried up and are sometimes thirsty due to the heat,” she says.

The drastic change in weather conditions such as those in Kotido, threaten the security of water sources, placing the lives of millions of children at risk. In addition, droughts and floods destroy or contaminate water supplies, threatening the lives of many especially children. 

Today, as the world observes World Water Day, UNICEF is highlighting the link between climate change, water and children. Water and climate change are inextricably linked, as the effects of climate change are first felt through water. Without clean water, children are at risk of diseases such as diarrhea - every day over 800 children under five die from diarrhea linked to unsafe water, poor sanitation and hygiene. 

Before the UNICEF water system was installed, Nakiru asserts that she and her friends used to collect water from a borehole located five kilometres away from her home. They often endured long queues at the borehole because it was the only source of clean water.

Sometimes they would also collect water from a pond when the queues at the borehole were very long. The water from the pond was dirty because the same pond was also used by cattle and other community members to bathe, making the water very unsafe. “We used to fall sick a lot whenever we drank that water from the pond,” she continues.

However, all this is in the past. She and her family now access water from a solar motorised system that is very close to her home. The water from the system is readily available, clean and safe for the community. “I am happy that we don’t have to travel long distances to the borehole to collect water,” Nakiru mentions. “And we don’t have to worry about drinking dirty water anymore.”

However she notes that due to the prolonged dry spell, they have to use the clean water sparingly.

Nakiru’s day begins as early as six o’clock in the morning. After washing her face, Nakiru sweeps the compound, washes the dishes and then waits for the ‘call to collect water’ from the tap attendant. Upon return, Nakiru helps with cooking porridge for her siblings as well as feed them after which she proceeds to garden to help her mother with weeding, planting and harvesting farm produce that includes sorghum (a grain that is grown in this part of the country). In the afternoons, Nakiru takes a break to play with her friends and her favourite games are hopping and dodge ball.

To address the impact of the weather changes, Nakiru suggests that Government should provide communities with more clean water sources like the UNICEF motorised water system in her village, because it provides them with clean drinking water, especially during the long dry spells like the one they are experiencing.

Nakiru has never attended school but given a chance, she would like to become a nurse. When asked why, she mentions, “Nurses give us drugs when we are sick and also help our mothers deliver healthy children.”

The Situation Analysis of Children in Uganda 2015 report indicates that 60 per cent of children live more than a 30 minutes trip from the nearest water source. The report further reveals that 30 percent of children don’t have access to safe water.



 Email this article

unite for children