It is sobering to realize that water-related illnesses are the leading cause of human sickness and death. In fact, 80% of diseases in the developing world are caused by contaminated water. One such location with no access to clean water is Nyakera, a remote village on Lake George in Western Uganda that SMI is partnered with. Death from water-borne illnesses is a regular occurrence there and the majority of children in the village suffer constant dysentery. Since the ground water is contaminated, the only year-round solution is a gravity-powered water treatment system to purify the polluted lake water at Lake George.
SMI is in the process of raising the funds needed to bring a water treatment facility to Nyakera. SMI is partnering with Healing Waters International (www.healingwaters.org) to design and install this system, in order to bring safe drinking water to this region for the first time. SMI met with village leaders in April to present the concept of a “water club store” that will open in January 2015. The community is constructing at their expense the building to house the equipment (the “store”) and SMI is providing the filtration equipment and training. The community has set the price of water at a point the poorest in the community can afford. A portion of the dues will go into a maintenance fund to keep the equipment operational for years to come. This project will result in a sustainable clean water source, economic development, and local ownership of the facility.