Health: Sadly, waterborne diseases are still prevalent in rural areas like Buikwe; every year over 4,500 children in Uganda die from diarrhoeal diseases caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation. An estimated 88% of cases of diarrhoeal diseases are preventable with safe drinking water and improved hygiene and sanitation.
Lack of proper sanitation facilities in schools has led to high numbers of children missing school due to illness. Children will leave their studies due to waterborne disease, caring for sick family members, or to collect water.
Income and poverty
Poor families bear more of the burden of unclean water and poor sanitation. The poorest 20 percent of the Ugandan population are over 13 times more likely to defecate in the open than the wealthiest 20 percent. This puts them at significantly higher risk of diarrhoeal diseases. With a lack of funds to build toilets for their families, and hours of time lost to collecting water and sickness, this is a self-perpetuating cycle keeping the poorest families trapped in poverty.
The impact of unsafe water and poor sanitation disproportionally impacts women and girls. Typically, women and girls are expected to collect water for the family each day, paying with their time and lost opportunities.
Even at school, this can cause problems for young women. Many schools lack adequate toilets with privacy. The majority of girls do not have access to sanitary pads or personal cleaning facilities. These issues combined with persisting social stigma, mean many girls will instead opt miss school due to the shame and difficulty of having their period.