Tell Me (TeM) project is an innovative that will focus on raising awareness on the dangers of consuming unsafe water and how proper water management can be attained. The project will focus on awareness raising and not construction of new water sources mainly because even communities with access to water have not been having safe water because they have been contaminating it themselves.
Although the access to water in Uganda stands at 65%, there are still many rural communities that rely on contaminated water sources for drinking water simply because the water sources are shared with animals most especially cows and goats and also because of other behavioral practices such as open defecation and poor management of waste. The project will be implemented in Kakiika Sub-County, Mbarara district, Uganda. Although the area has some water sources, most of them are shared between human and the cattle. This has greatly contaminated the available water sources (streams and open wells) which have resulted into frequent outbreaks of waterborne diseases such as cholera and dysentery. All these factors combined point to the fact that communities are ignorant on the ways/methods of preserving safe water for human consumption which calls for mass health education and awareness raising on water management and safe water.
Tell Me (TeM) project will involve formation of Village Water Committees (VWCs) which will oversee the protection and management of the available water sources on the village. These committees together with the existing village local leadership will also be responsible for ensuring that residents have access to safe water. The project will train all the selected the selected Village Water Committee members as Trainers and will have the responsibility of training the residents on safe water management with the supervision from the team from TeM project. For sustainability the selected Village Water Committees (VWCs) will be under direct supervision of the existing local leadership structures (Local Councils) who will also be trained by the project.
The Village Water Committees (VWCs) and the local leadership structures will be trained in water management and protection, water treatment and purification, management of the water sources, health education, dangers of drinking unsafe water, water cycle management, water conservation, rain water harvesting, water quality and behavioral change communication. These trained committees with support from TeM will roll out sensitization campaigns and awareness drive at every village within the target area. Each village will have to conduct monthly meeting to review the situation of water in their area. These meetings will discuss water problems, challenges, review process and develop a work plan to address the gaps indentified.
The project will also organize drama competitions on water amongst the villages as a way of raising awareness especially to the young and youth. Radio talk shows will also be arranged to reach out to a larger population. The project will also organize interface meetings between the residents and the relevant government authorities (duty bearers) to lobby for what cannot be solved at local level. The project will as much as possible be community owned since the communities understand better the water challenges they are facing.