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Richmond generosity difference-maker in Uganda

By Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

Published 12:16 PDT, Thu May 14, 2020

Richmondites’ generosity is making a difference to residents in remote regions of Uganda.

Last summer, local charity Acts for Water hosted a Walk4Water in Steveston in partnership with Richmond Sunrise Rotary. During the event, participants simulated conditions in Uganda by carrying jerry cans to a “watering hole,” then returned to their starting point with the filled cans.

“We were totally surprised at the number of people who showed up,” says Acts for Water CEO Jeff Golby. “It was definitely one of the highest attended Walk4Waters we’ve ever done. People are often reluctant to come carry a heavy jerry can for a long ways, but over 100 people came out.”

Golby says these events are the best way to physically and emotionally connect to causes “over there” that can be hard for Canadians to relate to. 

In the end, the event raised around $10,000—and the money was used to install taps in Uganda. 

“We work with our team of local staff and then about 400 local community volunteers who come out for six months to dig trenches, clear brush and bury pipe,” says Golby.

The team also educates people on how to care for the system, as well as teaching how to build latrines and hand washing stations.

The impact of the project was immediately visible, Golby says. When taps were installed, there was a huge celebration.

If you can imagine going your whole life, walking to and from the swamp and then one day because of the generosity of strangers all of a sudden you are able to turn on the tap right in front of your home,” he says.

But when the COVID-19 pandemic caused an extreme lockdown in Uganda more than a month ago, the clean accessible water provided by generous donations became even more important.

The taps provided by the fundraiser provide 6,000 litres of fresh clean water every day. And the Acts for Water team is working with local governments to teach things like hand washing, social distancing, and soap distribution as personal protection against the virus.

Golby says the work done by Richmondites during the fundraiser is becoming more important every day.

“Something like COVID-19 comes and now (Ugandan people) are able to wash their hands, drink clean water. It’s truly remarkable.”

To learn more about Acts for Water’s COVID-19 efforts, click here.

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