Cleophas Tumuhimbise comes from the small fishing village of Kashaka, one of the villages where Fontes Foundation has installed a safe water system. His mother, as a single mother, could not afford his education. In the extremely poor villages of the Queen Elizabeth National Park, without an education, a young boy like Cleophas is expected to become a fisherman. A fisherman’s life is extremely harsh with little pay and dangerous working conditions. The fishermen of Kashaka risk their lives every day to catch fish in lakes that are crocodile and hippo infested. Thanks to Cleophas’s sponsor in Germany, he was given a chance to study and build a better life for himself.
With his donor’s support, Cleophas completed secondary school and two years of vocational training. He now has a certificate in electrical engineering and one in business management. His hard work and excellent grades made Cleophas a model student, while his outgoing and friendly personality has helped him to establish good relations and networks within his community. This strong community involvement made Cleophas the perfect candidate for our field intern position. And we weren’t wrong, he has already hit the ground running, assisting our field officer and also former scholarship student, Pascal. When Kashaka lost their water technician, Cleophas was quick to step in and take over the position.
In addition, Cleophas continues to build strong ties to his community by recently opening a bar in Kashaka.
By sponsoring a child through the Fontes Foundation’s Scholarship program, you can provide a child like Cleophas with the opportunity to escape poverty and create a better life for themselves and their community. Find out more about how to sponsor a child this Christmas.
This year, Fontes Foundation was able to hold a safe water seminar for the first time since 2012, thanks to a generous donation from the Pharo Foundation. The water seminar took place in Katunguru-Kasese from 24th-25th November, 2016. The objective of the water seminar was to improve financial and technical capabilities of the Fontes Foundation water committees to ensure adequate water service delivery to the community. The seminar addressed a number of areas that are vital for ensuring effective water committee management, these included community mobilization, financial management and technical training.
Water seminars present an opportunity for the different water committees to come together and share experiences and learn from one another. During the seminar participants were encouraged to actively engage in discussions, group work and presentations. In addition, local leaders and other stakeholders were also invited to the seminar to facilitate relationship building and community mobilization.
The seminar was a huge success, the organizers were met with extremely engaged and motivated participants. The feedback from the participants was overwhelmingly positive, they expressed how the opportunity allowed them to network and make friends, develop new skills, to share experiences and gain knowledge about project management. In their feedback, many of the participants suggested yearly water seminars. We are therefore happy to announce that Pharo Foundation has provided funding for three consecutive years. We look forward to next year’s water seminar and seeing how the committees are progressing as a result of such training sessions.
Michael Pletscher, joined Fontes Foundation as an Intern in early 2013. As an intern, Michael demonstrated strong leadership skills and was known for his enthusiastic hands on approach. In addition, Michael adapted very quickly to the Ugandan lifestyle, in particular to the Ugandan food. As Regional Coordinator, Michael has ensured the technical quality of all activities in the implementation and management of Fontes’ safe water, education and youth programmes. His valuable contribution has increased fundraising efforts, community mobilisation and improved organisational structure.
As we weren’t quite ready to say goodbye to Michael and loose his knowledge and expertise, we were proud to invite Michael to be a Fontes Foundation board member. Michael’s extensive experience working closely on all of Fontes Foundation’s projects makes him the perfect candidate for providing advice and guidance for Fontes’ activities for hopefully years to come.
Michael with the other Fontes Foundation board members
The Fontes Foundation team has just returned from a field trip in the Queen Elizabeth National Park, where the main purpose of the trip was to conduct follow-ups in all of our water and education projects and hold a two-day water seminar for the Fontes water committees. The Fontes team observed how the water committees were taking charge and creating positive change in their water systems by showing a greater commitment to project maintenance, upscaling the water systems and coming up with innovative solutions to reoccurring problems.
Across all water projects, committees were improving their systems by ensuring regular maintenance. The committees weren’t just making small repairs, they were also undertaking more substantive maintenance. When a filter broke in Kazinga, the water committee raised money to buy and replace the broken parts. In both Kazinga and Kashaka the water committees have replaced broken doors at the tap stands and water meters. In Kiseyni, the committee brought in technical expertise to fix a broken intake cable. While the water committee in Katuguru-Kasese has put concrete around their intake for lasting stability.
The Fontes team was impressed by some of the water committees, who were taking initiative and upscaling their water systems. In Kisenyi, the water committee has installed an additional public tap stand to accommodate those people in the village who live further away from the two main public tap stands. They have plans to install another two public tap stands in the near future to ensure that the whole community has easy access to clean water. Katunguru-Kasese and Katunguru-Rubirizi are both continuing to install private connections. Kasese currently has 25 private connections. Such private connections and additional public tap stands provide the water committees with greater income and savings to better manage the systems and ensure the system’s sustainability.
Lastly, the water committees demonstrated their ability to implement innovative and preventable solutions to reoccurring problems. In Kisenyi, the water committee came up with an environmentally sustainable solution to animals destroying the fence that surrounds the water tanks. The committee has created a natural fence by planting trees. After loosing a technician, the water committee in Kashaka is providing technical training to multiple people in the community to ensure that information is never lost and that they can always find a quick replacement technician if needed. In Katunguru-Kasese the water committee is testing out a new type of tap that has a gate valve, in an attempt to stop leakages. Finally, to fix the problem of chemical shortages, all five water committees are considering buying chemicals together in bulk and storing them in Katunguru-Kasese, as it has the most accessible road. By buying in bulk together, all water committees will ensure that their water system will never suffer from chemical shortages again.
At Fontes, we believe that greater community participation in development projects leads to improved resource sustainability and quality of infrastructure. As the Fontes water committees actively invest in maintaining, improving and managing their water systems their communities will continue to benefit from the Fontes safe water projects for years to come.