New Wells Bring New Trade

Clean water creates unexpected benefits in northern Ugandan community

Wells not only bring potable water and improved hygiene and sanitation, but also the chance for more trade and a better life. One well that Action Against Hunger drilled provided just that chance for the family of Jennifer, a 10-year-old girl in the northern Ugandan village of Popong Kocona. Her family moved there from a camp for people displaced by decades of violent conflict, where she had lived since she was two years old.

“Life was hard there,” Jennifer said. “There was no food and no water. Here we can farm and we have clean water to drink.”

After moving to the village, Jennifer’s family lived on the produce and money they received from selling vegetables from their garden—just enough to cover their basic needs. When Action Against Hunger drilled a new borehole for the village last year, Jennifer’s father decided to start a small business near it to pay the school fees for Jennifer and her brother and sister.

“My father put the business right next to the [well] because it brings a lot of people here every day,” Jennifer said. “Normally he looks after it, but right now I’m on a school break, so I help in the gardens in the morning and look after the business in the afternoon. A lot of people come to buy things from me, such as dried fish and sugar. And also this fizzy drink that I make with water I get from the borehole – that is very popular.”

The business earns about 3,000 Ugandan shillings a day (almost $1.50), a third of which is profit and covers the three children’s school fees. Going to school has shown Jennifer a different future is possible.

“The business is O.K., but I like being in school better,” she said. “I want to become a teacher when I grow up because teachers always have money.”

Action Against Hunger's water, sanitation, and hygiene programs in Popong Kocona are funded by the European Commission (ECHO).

Additional Resources

Video courtesy Alex Krstevski