Women and Clean Water Entrepreneurship in Uganda

Applicant Global Women's Water Initiative Plan ID: 442
Status: approved_accepted Review Cycle end date: 2012-09-07

GWWI builds capacity of women to provide local water solutions partnering with implementing organizations Katosi Women's Development Trust and Marindi Cooperative Society to build Biosand Filters and Rainwater Harvesting developing women-led WASH programs


10 RWH in schools - approx 500/school
10 RWH shared households 20pax/each
35 BSF in 10 schools - 500/school
15 BSF in shared households - 150pax


local elementary, middle and high schools in Marindi, Moyo



12000- water, sanitation and hygiene education and
20 - additional community members trained to build technologies

Capacity Building
Water - Community


Marindi and Katosi
Moyo (Marindi) and Mukono (Katosi)

Project Narrative

The basic problem in most rural and peri-urban areas in Uganda can lack of access to safe water and sanitation. Women and girls are disproportionately affected by the lack of water and sanitation as they are burdened with the task of fetching water and conducting a majority of the water-related chores. In Africa, many homes house elderly members of communities (mostly women) responsible for the caretaking of orphans although have access to water, it is not safe. Because of the AIDS crisis, a generation of working class has been decreased and many older people, widows and orphaned youth ultimately become the primary caregivers and responsible for the surviving children. In our experience, provision of training and financial assistance to women-led organizations to be able to provide clean water, sanitation and hygiene solutions and technologies has proven to be a viable way to contribute to improved welfare of families in the Ugandan context.

This program will be building 2 different types of technology: The BioSand Filter and the ISSB Tank with rainwater roof catchments.

The BioSand Filter is a household point-of-use water treatment that provides up to 150liters of clean water per day, removing 90-100% of biological contaminants. Everyday an average family (of up to 5 households) will have enough clean water for drinking, cooking and cleaning, reducing the risk of water related diseases. In schools, it provides enough drinking and hand-washing water for up to 100 children per filter. It is simple and easy to maintain, even for the children! It is also an entry point into the community to introduce good hygiene and sanitation practices as well as water resource protection and management. The BSF can be made locally by trained citizens, in our case - women, using local resources.

The second technology is rainwater roof catchments with Interlocking Stabilized Soil Block (ISSB) Storage Tanks. The system including the ISSB tank is made out of all local materials and has proven to be a stronger and more stable alternative to polytanks and ferrocement tanks. The bricks are compressed in a special machine using manual labor (no electricity) available to purchase in East Africa. Unlike other bricks, it doesn't require drying in the sun and are ready to use in 24 hours. Because the blocks are interlocking, it creates a strong link between bricks and a stable foundation requiring less mortar for bonding.

The leaders spearheading these 2 projects in 2 different parts of Uganda are women. Currently, GWWI has been conducting intensive multi-tiered trainings working closely with the women to build their capacity to build WASH technologies and strengthen their existing WASH programs. This entails
 deepening their understanding about the interdependence of WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) and helping them to create a vision of improved health and opportunity in their communities by offering sustainable WASH solutions.

Both the BSF and the ISSB rainwater harvesting system have the potential to generate income for the women. The BSF can be built and sold to households, schools, community centers and other NGOs. Also, the women can be contracted to build ISSB tank and RWHs for households, schools, community centers and other NGOs. Both teams already have a history of supplying these technologies - MCS has been offered construction contracts for an international NGO in their community and KWDT has a BSF production facility to build and sell BSFs.

In addition to their construction capability, GWWI supports them to

1) have the capacity to conduct community surveys to collect baseline data
2) map resources and conduct needs assessments 

3) promote their services via social marketing and promotions
design a strategic and business plan to promote and sell/subsidize the BSFs and ISSB tanks for those in need who cannot afford it 

5) conduct WASH Education and Outreach in their communities (which has also been a source of income for GWWI graduates) 

6) in the next 18months through GWWIs multi-tiered trainings - the teams will have the capacity to run a full service WASH Service Center and BSF production facility offering appropriate technology construction and education services 

7) mobilize and/or engage with the local health officials for coordinated outreach.

The BSF and ISSB program began a year ago when the women attended the GWWI Women and Water Training Program conducted in Uganda. MCS and KWDT conducted an ISSB and BSF pilot project having the technologies in schools and community centers. In 
assessing their user satisfaction and challenges they've begun to develop their business and marketing plan which includes construction, educational outreach, follow-up/monitoring and evaluation and water testing, they have identified some of the most needy householders and schools and are ready to implement the next round of BSFs and ISSB tanks and RWHs in their communities.

MCS will be installing ISSB tanks and RWHs to local schools. Last year, when the women of MCS brought back the ISSB technology, it became a huge hit in their community, so much so that they were able to get local people to contribute to the purchase of an ISSB brick-making machine. They have already begun to sell bricks for additional income and have received a contract from an international NGO to build more tanks.

KWDT will have enough funding to build 50 filters. 10 will go to schools, and 40 will be implemented in impoverished (shared) households, like grandmothers taking care of orphans. The requested program funding would subsidize the filters so the women can make the BSFs available to the most needy. The recipients would offer 
- supervised sweat labor for some of the more insignificant tasks 
- sliding scale to pay for what they can afford for the filter 
- at least 2 family members to attend at least 2 WASH Education seminars.

Phase 1: MCS and KWDT attend the GWWI Women and Water Training program where they learn WASH strategies and implement and build ISSB tanks and BSFs, respectively. (July 2011-June 2012)

Phase 2: MCS and KWDT implement a larger project contract from Blue

GWWI has vetted and trained both the organizations included in this grant. KWDT has had success implementing projects in their communities ranging from Rainwater harvesting, toilets (Ecosan and VIP), ferro cement tanks, tippy taps for schools etc.

MCS has helped mobilize women groups offering workshops on gender-based violence, involvement of men in reproductive health and safe water and sanitation challenges. As a winner of the home and environment competition for three consecutive years, MCS has been training women and men in income generating activities such as poultry farming, tree nursery management for floriculture and orchid establishment and vegetable gardening.

Here's the strategy:

1) GWWI trains the women's organizations
2) the women implement the technologies in their target communities
3) the organizations add comprehensive WASH services and new technologies to their stable of services for their constituents.

Each of the organizations are over 5 years old and have strong ties to the communities with long term volunteer focal points who assist in liasioning, mobilizing and sensitizing local citizens.

During the current training, GWWI facilitates a government engagement workshop that includes partnering with local water sanitation committees, local health officials to conduct water testing with the women. Each of the organizations has various levels of engagement with local government officials. Some of them have deep long term partnerships and others have good relationships based on their contributions to the communities.

Job skills - the women in both organizations will add additional WASH technologies and strategies to their stable of existing services.

Social marketing strategies - using WASH education to promote the BSF and ISSB tanks, water source protection and other WASH Technologies

Water testing using the Portable Microbiology Lab- using proven water testing methods as indicators for levels of contamination that requires no labs or technicians to conduct

GWWI will be supporting, supervising and managing the oversight and coaching of the women as they role out their respective projects.

No photos uploaded

Project Financials


$15,000 for 100 BSFs (includes installation, follow-up, M&E, safe storage)
$25,000 for 20 RWH with ISSB cement tanks (15,000liters)
$1000 for Portable Microbiology Labs
$4000 Tools, Materials, Equipment, Molds
$6000 Training Fees


$6000 - training costs (GWWI Phase 1-$2000)
$7500 - 50 BSFs
$12,500 - 10 RWH tanks (2 covered by GWWI Phase 1)
$4000 Tools, Equipment, Molds (GWWI, Phase 1)


$2000 community contribution


Project Sustainability and Impact Assessment

Our ultimate goal is to have these 2 organizations become centers of comprehensive WASH Services and Expertise. GWWI is applying for this grant from PWX to provide the women with the funds to continue to replicate technologies, promote their services, qualify for larger international grants and local government contracts by professionalizing their services.

BSFs require no maintenance, however each BSF installation will require at least 4 visits/year (included in budget) to ensure that the filter is accepted and working well and to conduct water tests. as for the RWHs and tanks, the women will train householders or maintenance committees to be able to maintain the tanks. They will visit the tanks at least 2 times in the first year and be on call for any repairs.

Also, each organization will conduct a monthly WASH Education seminar for new and potential users

- building capacity of the households to maintain their BSFs and RWHs
- creating BSF microbusinesses and professional construction services for RWHs
- Merry-go-round community funding
WASH education a primary component of the program


- user satisfaction
- less walking for women and girls fetching water
- women generating income from selling water related products
- women earning professional fees to offer WASH education and construction services
- women's inclusion in community WASH decision-making
- demand for products and services in community
- reduction of water related diseases in households and centers using the technologies
- improved hygiene practices in households and around communities
- source protection campaigns
- women's organizations having the ability to generate own funds from donors

Implementer Details (if other than applicant)


Implementing org #1 - KWDT, named the Best Performing WASH NGO in Uganda and the 2011 3rd Kyoto World Water Grand Prize at the World Water Forum in Marseilles. KWDTs unique model in working with women's circles and training the local women to build each other's ferro cement tank is replicable and sustainable. The KWDT women's circles raise money through "Merry-Go-Rounds", where members contribute a fixed amount per month and one woman will receive the full month's contribution to invest in a RWH system. KWDT members Rose and Mastula are GWWI trainees and will be implementing the BSF project.

Implementing org #2 - MCS is Marindi Co-operative Society is an organised group composed of women and some Youths and men. The group’s main activity is carrying out small scale credit and savings services to its members. MCS members Angella and Martha are GWWI trainees and will be implementing the RWH projects. They are both retired nurses and health workers and continue to offer health education, gardening, poultry farming, tree nursery management and other vocational training.

Training org - GWWI trains women in Sub-Saharan Africa to to build simple water and sanitation technologies so they can become economically self-reliant and improve their communities' health. GWWI provides women with tools to educate their community about hygiene and water protection as well as technical skills to build rainwater harvesting tanks, water treatment technologies and toilets. With this training, participants have the potential to start micro-businesses. GWWI Director Gemma Bulos is a multi-award winning social entrepreneur integrating social entrepreneurship into the WASH sector in the Philippines via A Single Drop for Safe Water, an organization she founded in 2006.

Application Summary

Applicant :   Global Women's Water Initiative
Status : approved_accepted
Country : UGANDA Map


Amount Funded :   $21,000
Funded By:-
MSSCT : $21,000
Funds Used
: $0
Funds Available
: $21,000

Projects Summary of Application

Number of Projects : 2
Overall Start Date : TODO!
Overall Completion Date : TODO!
Date of Last Update : 2014-02-01