All posts tagged news2013-05

Continuous and Sustainable Growth of the Water Scheme

by fontes on 01/05/2013 No comments

Fontes Foundation continues its commitment to increase safe water access among the people of Katunguru-Kasese fishing village.

Villagers and Fontes Foundation's field staff member Ibrahim Ssemakula installing the new 400 m long water pipe which delivers water for the new public tap station.

Villagers and Fontes Foundation’s field staff member Ibrahim Ssemakula installing the new 400 m long water pipe which delivers water for the new public tap station.

As Abraham Maslow expressed in his theory of human motivation, “human beings can only develop the desire for a higher level need if the lower level need has been met”. A similar situation is unfolding in Katunguru-Kasese fishing village. Before the construction of the safe water supply scheme in their village, people used to fetch water from Kazinga channel for their domestic use while those who could afford used to get it from Kyambura in Rubirizi district which is about 5 kilometeres away. This was because the water in Kazinga channel was highly contaminated with a lot of organic materials. Obviously, the water fetched from the channel has a very bad taste and can cause a lot of different diseases. Additionally, a lot of villagers were not aware of the fact that they were getting sick because of the bad water quality in the channel. Therefore, informing the people about the negative consequences of fetching water in the channel and the positive consequences of a safe water scheme is absolutely crucial. Otherwise, people do not see the benefits of such a change, and will refuse to pay for purchasing water at the scheme, even though it would be easily affordable for them.

One of the currently 8 private connections which have been installed in Katunguru-Kasese since the construction of the scheme in 2010.

One of the currently 8 private connections which have been installed in Katunguru-Kasese since the construction of the scheme in 2010.

Since the scheme’s construction in 2010, the demand for safe water in the village has continuously grown. At the time of construction of the scheme, one would think that one public stand would be enough as it was not clear whether the people would change from using the Kazinga channel water that they had used for decades. However, this was a wrong assumption, as most people embraced the safe water from the scheme, leading to congestion at the public stand that had four taps. Some people applied for the water lines to be extended to their homesteads so that they could have taps in order to supplement the public tap and this resulted in private connections. Those people realised the benefits of the new water scheme and with the installation of this private connections, their lives become more convenient.

A second water storage tank has been installed on the newly constructed water tower. The reason is to increase the water pressure for the private connections, which need a higher pressure than the public tap stations.

A second water storage tank has been installed on the newly constructed water tower. The reason is to increase the water pressure for the private connections, which need a higher pressure than the public tap stations.

Most people would expect that a fishing village cannot be able to run and sustain a pumped piped scheme, but the water user committee for the scheme has done a great job and has managed to do some reasonable extensions and private connections from the main pipe line. Recognizing the efforts of the community members, Fontes Foundation has carried out an extension of the scheme by four hundred metres into one of the corners of the village and put up another public stand pipe with four taps. In order to improve the pressure of the water, a water tower has also been constructed. With those improvements on the scheme, more private connections can be connected to the scheme which will increase the revenue collections to maintain the scheme. All of that would have not been possible without the support of the Lions Club Slemdal in Oslo, Norway, who funded the initial phase and the extension of the scheme.

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fontesContinuous and Sustainable Growth of the Water Scheme

Impressive Results of the First Core Course Round

by fontes on 25/04/2013 No comments

The first round of Core Course students has successfully graduated in April. Especially the business plans they created were overall very promising and impressive.

The Potentiam Youth Development Centre is proud to graduate the first intake of Core course students who enrolled in November last year. The students who received a certificate in Applied Business Skills from the Youth Centre were extremely excited and ready to implement the business plans that they had spent the last 6 months preparing. The Centre was set up with a unique strategy not just to empower youth by developing their business skills, but the personal development course and all aspects of the business course were developed in a way that supports critical thinking. The curriculum in Uganda is crippling too many students who study with the sole aim to pass exams and not necessarily to learn. Working closely with youth who have dropped out of the formal learning system, it was necessary to apply methods that would improve the classroom environment, promoting different learning styles and ability.

11 students from the first round of the 6 month core course in Applied Business skills graduated on 13th April 2013.

11 students from the first round of the 6 month core course in Applied Business skills graduated on 13th April 2013.

11 students were able to graduate out of the 15 who started the course. 3 students dropped out for personal reasons and 1 student did not receive the marks required to graduate from the course. The graduation ceremony was very colourful with representatives from the community and parents in attendance to help the students celebrate this milestone in their lives. There was entertainment from the Fontes Drama Troop with a couple of students performing their original song compositions which got everybody excited. The students are eager to apply their education and some of them have already found employment.

The Potentiam Youth Centre is striving to provide education that is relevant, motivational, engaging and most of all easily understood by the students. The likelihood of young entrepreneurs returning to their home communities can be enhanced by connecting them with specific business opportunities, either a new business startup or being employed by an existing business. It is therefore essential that the students understand their business plans and find a way to apply it in either situation. With the help of the community and the mentors, several students have already been able to find employment after graduating from the centre. Others have concrete plans laid out in their business plans and are saving to finance their start-ups.

The students are required to keep their business plans realistic, innovative, feasible and scalable. To achieve this, they had to conduct a market research and analysis and in their own simple way. They were able to understand the importance of having a plan in place and anticipating the challenges in their businesses. Some of the students even went ahead to start micro businesses within the centre, providing treats for their fellow students and some were even employed by the centre.

The students exceeded all expectations presenting impressive business plans that demonstrated clear understandings of the businesses they hoped to delve into.

They were able to confidently present their business plans to a panel of judges. In an impressive end to the course, the business plans were not only innovative and well written but also demonstrated a level of thinking and attitude adjustment which justified the approach that Fontes Foundation has taken from the start.

The Centre is currently seeking funding to finance a Business Development and Advisory component to follow up the students’ plans and have far reaching impact on their livelihood options.

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fontesImpressive Results of the First Core Course Round

Monitoring as the Key to Sustainable Development

by Lucrezia Biteete on 15/04/2013 No comments

In April, the Monitoring Sustainable WASH Service Delivery Symposium took place in Addis Ababa, with participation of Fontes Foundation staff.

Monitoring of development initiatives is a controversial issue. Some say organizations are spending too much on useless, one-off exercises that are not updated, relevant or even used by anyone. Others say organizations do not have sufficient knowledge of the programmes they are carrying out in order to make good decisions, such as information on functionality, cost, impact and demand. How to strike a balance between using a minimum of resources and having access to sufficient information, at all levels, at all times, to make informed decisions which contribute towards improved service delivery and sustainability? From the 9th to the 11th April 2013, Lucrezia Biteete, Regional Coordinator of Fontes Foundation, participated at the Monitoring Sustainable WASH Service Delivery Symposium, organised by IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Based on the cost analysis in Kabarole district, the expenditure per capita for the different technologies in 2013 Uganda shillings, broken down by categories.

Based on the cost analysis in Kabarole district, the expenditure per capita for the different technologies in 2013 Uganda shillings, broken down by categories.

Fontes Foundation has been at the forefront on monitoring for many years. In 2008, a paper was presented at the WEDC conference in Accra, Ghana, outlining the different flows of information from community water projects such as daily water quantity information, monthly incomes and expenditures and annual numbers of beneficiaries. Already in this paper it is highlighted how important it is to ask the following questions: Who is the monitoring for? What information are those agents primarily interested in? The purpose of the monitoring should always be prioritized when developing a monitoring and evaluation framework; will the information be used to make management decisions? To report to donors? To improve a certain programme or approach? Most approaches presented at the conference showed a one-time survey and its results, but did not mention how the effort is going to be continued, who is going to pay for it and how the information will actually be used in a practical way.

Fontes has been part of an informal working group on monitoring sustainability since 2010, together with representatives from Water for People/Improve International, WASH Advocates and WASHCost/WaterAid. The team came together in Addis Ababa.

Fontes Foundation has continued its work on monitoring by developing a new indicator, Water-Person-Years, in 2009. Since then, Fontes Foundation has also participated in an informal working group, together with practitioners from WaterAid, Improve International and WASH Advocates, in order to develop a better indicator for sustainability in water projects than the most commonly used “coverage” indicator. In addition, Fontes Foundation has an established monitoring and evaluation framework in all projects. In the water projects, monthly reports are collected by the organization from the water committees, with information on quality, use and finances. The GSM monitoring system is operating in two villages, sending real-time information by SMS on water quantity, incomes and expenditures. The youth project has an elaborated monitoring and evaluation framework with a number of tools in order to improve the courses, evaluate facilitators, follow up the progress on students and provide motivation for time-keeping.

During the conference in Addis Ababa, the use of ICT in monitoring was thoroughly discussed. A number of new technologies such as smart phones and internet platforms are used to share information quicker, to a broader audience. Fontes Foundation built such a system already in 2007. Many ICT solutions encounter challenges in the implementation phase because the human aspect has not been sufficiently taken into account; people will only use something if they are motivated and have the capacity to do so.

Lucrezia Biteete also presented a paper which is based on a study which collected information on all expenditures related to rural water supply delivery in an entire district in Uganda (Kabarole) for the last 3 years. This is part of a drive to make stakeholders aware of the Life-Cycle Cost Approach in Uganda, in order to improve planning and budgeting in the sector. All publications mentioned in this article can be found on our website.

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Lucrezia BiteeteMonitoring as the Key to Sustainable Development

Getting Connected

by fontes on 10/04/2013 No comments

Fontes Foundation opened its internet café in the Katunguru area in Southwestern Uganda.

The Fontes Foundation internet café was officially launched on 9th April 2013. The internet café is the latest project of Fontes Foundation Uganda and gives people in the Katunguru area, which is located in the Queen Elizabeth National Park in Southwestern Uganda, the possibility to get connected to the world wide web. With a safe water scheme and a primary school project already established in the same village, the internet café is a great contribution to the further development of the region. Especially the primary school and its teachers can profit from this opportunity to have access to computers and the internet. The ceremony was attended by a variety of representatives from politics and the local administration, which shows that the efforts of Fontes Foundation are noticed and appreciated. The inauguration has been organised by the Katunguru-Rubirizi Primary School, with a variety of entertaining contributions by the students.

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fontesGetting Connected

Capacity-building: A Continuous Learning Process

by fontes on 01/03/2013 No comments

During the six months of the first Core Course round, different capacity-building events took place at the Potentiam Youth Centre to increase the knowledge and skills of both facilitators and students.

The benefit of capacity-building is widely accepted all around the globe: It is the development of knowledge, skills and attitudes in individuals and groups which are important to improve the smooth running of an organisation.
It is against this background to further empower its staff that the Potentiam Youth Development Centre and the management of Fontes Foundation realised that capacity-building is a very useful tool to increase the skills and knowledge of its staff and students and that it should be done on a monthly basis.
Some of the topics that have been covered for the student capacity-buildings include sexual health with Dr. Solomon Kamba of Case Clinic, general sanitation and use of the Eco San facilities at the Youth Centre with William Barigye of Fontes Foundation, current investment trends with Muhoozi Martin of The Investment Club, and an off-to-work preparation session with Cecilie Don Wallebeck of Kyambogo University.

The staff capacity-building topics include lesson planning with Robert Seruhogi, which is himself member of staff at the youth centre, teaching through games with Cecilie Don Wallebeck of Kyambogo University and effective communication skills with Alex Mukiibi of the Human Resource Consult.
What impacts did the capacity-buildings have on the staff and students? A small survey was done to find some answers to that question. Participants with different functions within the Potentiam Youth Centre have been asked for their opinion about the capacity-building events. The reactions were overall very positive, people liked this format of learning something new and the knowledge gain seems to be high. By going away from the classical form of teaching towards a more interactive and innovative one, students and facilitators seem to profit more, because they remember those events as something extraordinary. Like that, skills and knowledge seems to be easier gained and memorised than in the traditional way of learning.

I never realized that baking could be done without an oven until we actually did it practically during the off-to-work capacity building. The current investment trends capacity building was also a very big eye opener for me because it helped me to realize that I have only been working towards being employed and expecting a salary, even though my options are actually more than this. I have learned that I can use already existing resources to generate an income as I wait for a job. – Stella Mirembe, Core course Student

My biggest benefit from the capacity buildings was the one on effective communication. I never realized before that communicating effectively also involves that the message which I am sending has to be received and correctly interpreted. Now that I know this, I always make sure to confirm that my message has been delivered an understood by the intended recipient. I learned that when writing emails it is very important for the subject to reflect the content of the email and to use short simple sentences that are straight to the point. This makes my work much simpler. – Denis Sebugwawo, Administrative Assistant

The capacity building sessions have helped me to touch base with the students while gaining their trust. I am using more games and interactive sessions in my teaching methods. It has made both the students and myself more confident when expressing ourselves. I also learned that there have to be certain boundaries between the facilitator and the students which have to be defined. With the effective communication skills capacity building, I have noticed changes in both myself and my fellow facilitators and the way we communicate to our superiors and amongst ourselves. It is amazing how knowing something as simple as how to send a text message or write an email can make such a big difference. – Gillian Niwemukiza, ICT facilitator

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fontesCapacity-building: A Continuous Learning Process

Completion of the Internet Café Structure in Katunguru

by fontes on 12/12/2012 No comments

Fontes Foundation started the construction of the Internet café and a latrine in January 2012. The project will provide the village with desperately needed access to the Internet and other secretarial services such as printing and typing. Currently, people have to travel more than 10 km for this. The café will also serve as a stop-over place for tourists and travelers, where people can rest in the forest and have a drink as they access the Internet. Potential customers are travelers, tourists, Uganda Wildlife Authority staff (the headquarters of UWA are only 1 km away), the primary school, Fontes Foundation staff and local residents.The café is located on primary school land only about 70 m from the main road, and marketing with signposts and banners is planned to attract customers. If funding allows, Fontes Foundation also plans to organize short courses in computer skills for local residents and children from the primary school in future.

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fontesCompletion of the Internet Café Structure in Katunguru