Uganda, also known as the Pearl of Africa, is an East African country bordering five other East African Countries and known for its substantial portion of Lake Victoria, source of the Nile River and home to the Eastern Rift mountain range, famously known for Mt. Kilimanjaro. English and Swahili are the main languages spoken by the over 41 million residents.
Uganda was once a protectorate of Britain, but gained its independence in 1962 and has since been in intermittent conflict and civil war against the Lord’s Resistance Army. This ongoing conflict has crippled development and caused Uganda to be ranked low on the Human Development Index at 163 out of 188. As one of the poorest nations in the world, over 37% of Ugandans live on less than $1.25 a day, causing perpetual poverty cycles and unrest throughout the nation.
The number of people with access to safe water and sanitation has improved over the past 10 years, but as of 2015, more than 23 million out of 41 million Ugandans still didn’t have access to safe water and 31 million Ugandans don’t have access to a decent toilet. This causes a high risk for waterborne disease and results in the deaths of over 4,500 children under 5 each year to diarrhoeal disease.
The team of Freedom Drillers refuse to let the challenges of the water crisis stop their fight.
High population growth, over 3% annually and 5.68 births per woman, stresses water and sanitation resources that are currently available. In unplanned urban settlements near Kampala, residents pay up to three times more for safe tap water than residents living in planned urban communities. As a result, residents collect water from alternate contaminated sources, causing frequent outbreaks of waterborne diseases such as cholera and dysentery.
Water4 started working in Uganda in 2010 and operations are now managed by Freedom Drillers, led by Meddy Wokorach and Patrick Arop. Freedom Drillers has 16 employees that make up two manual drilling teams and one mechanical drilling team. The team recently promoted Meddy as Managing Director of their operation because of his servant leadership, hard work and expertise. Under his leadership Water4 is hoping the team will continue to grow spiritually while improving the professionalism of their work.
Since starting operations in 2010, Freedom Drillers has completed 155 water projects, 15 of those in 2017 and they’ve set a goal to complete over 40 new wells in 2018, all under service agreements in the communities where they work.
The women and men of Freedom Drillers have faced many challenges, but refuse to let the challenges of the water crisis stop their fight.
“They don’t quit,” said Water4 Director of Implementation, Richard Moore. “These gals and guys are committed to ending the water crisis, and with the tools in their tool kit they have what they need to get it done.”
After each new water well is installed, Freedom Drillers provides an initial 1-2 Missional Water Access Sanitation and Hygiene trainings through curriculum of LifeWater International (mWaSH), connecting the living water of the Gospel to safe water through scripture. These trainings tie in core Gospel teachings with the sanitation ladder, key handwashing times and how to build handwashing stations.
The faith of the employees is the reason they’ve kept fighting over the years. Without the freedom of living water, they wouldn’t have the drive they do today, to make sure all people in their nation have access to safe and living water. Faith is at the core of what they do. The team members start each day together in bible study and prayer before beginning work and that pours out into the communities they serve.
By Emilie Hechtner / Sources: Wikipedia, Water Aid / Category: Countries