In the rural village of Kayoro A, Akadot Sub County, Tororo District, resides an extraordinary woman named Nyaketcho Margaret. At 57 years old, she is the grandmother of a resilient household, facing numerous challenges with unwavering strength and determination.
Margaret, a 57-year-old widow, has been grappling with a chronic illness which has left her lame, and with her age, has found herself feeble and frail. However, her spirit remains unbroken. In her modest home, she cares for not only her two biological children (son and daughter) but also her grandchildren, amounting to a total of six members in her household.
The financial constraints, particularly the inability to pay school fees, led to the unfortunate circumstance where Margaret’s son had to drop out of school after Senior 4, while her daughter’s education halted at Primary 6. Despite these challenges, the children remain healthy, a testament to Margaret’s tenacious care and resourcefulness.
The family sustains itself through subsistence agriculture (mainly cassava in 3 acres of land), toiling the poor soil around Kayoro A village. The nearest primary school, Akadot Primary School, is about 2 kilometers away, and the Mukuju Health Centre 111, where Margaret occasionally seeks medical attention is 5 kilometers away. Water is sourced from a borehole located 1/2 kilometer away, and firewood is a vital commodity purchased from the local community. But with little earnings as a result of her inability to actively till her land, she is not able to afford even 1500/= a day for firewood. This leaves her with no option but to gather scarce dry cassava stems and maize stalk from her garden in order cook food for the family.
On 17th May 2023, a glimmer of hope entered Margaret’s life – Solvatten, a simple yet transformative solution for clean water. This innovative solar water purification device arrived at Margaret’s doorstep having been selected by the leaders of Mukuju Multipurpose Cooperative Society Ltd (MUMUCOS) where she is an active member, changing the course of her daily life.
With Solvatten, Margaret found a reliable and easy-to-use tool that provided clean water to her household. Despite her illness and age, Solvatten empowered her to provide safe drinking water for her family. The solar-powered device not only eliminated the need for boiling water manually but also made water purification a hassle-free process. This newfound convenience significantly alleviated the burden on Margaret, allowing her to focus on other essential aspects of her family’s well-being.
The impact of Solvatten extended beyond just drinking water. Margaret now had the means to ensure cleanliness and hygiene in her home, able to take her medicine and tea in time because she has to eat something first before taking medicine. Bathing warm water (due to her condition), washing hands, cooking- preboiling water for ‘kalo’, and other daily activities became safer, accessible and enjoyable. She noted that on a sunny day, it takes a maximum of 3 hours to get the water hot and ready for use, and this happens when doing other things thus saving her time. The improved water quality positively influenced the overall health and vitality of Margaret and her family. “Nowadays, I am not scared of offering drinking water to visitors”.
The pressure on firewood use has also been reduced as a result. Firewood that would have been used for boiling water for tea, bathing, making kalo is saved for the next day.
“I’m sickly and I need to eat and take my medicine in time. The machine is helping me there. My flasks are always full with hot water and the jerrycan filled with clean drinking water”.
‘What I need to do now is to build a permanent stand for my solar heater (the current stand I have is under a shade), improve on my cook-stove to a better one that takes less firewood, and also plant some fast maturing trees for firewood’’.
Margaret’s story is not just about overcoming adversity but also about embracing change. Solvatten became a catalyst for positive transformation in the lives of this resilient family. With access to clean water, the children were healthier, and Margaret, despite her age and health condition, found a renewed sense of purpose and hope.
This success story from the heart of Kayoro A village is a testament to the transformative power of innovative solutions like Solvatten, which have the potential to uplift communities and individuals, providing them with the tools to build a healthier and more sustainable future.