Rainwater harvesting by women groups in Rakai and Masaka districts –
This project enables vulnerable women in Uganda to tap a clean and safe water source. “Rainwater harvesting by women groups in Rakai and Masaka
districts” has trained women affected by HIV and tuberculosis to construct rainwater
collection systems. These women have the chance to turn this into a business, besides receiving the
life-changing benefit of water.
- Each rainwater harvesting “jar” can hold 1,500 liters
- 1,089 rainwater jars put into place
- 42 rural enterprises successfully established
Many areas in the Rakai district of southern Uganda have brackish or dirty water not fit for human
consumption. Climate change has affected groundwater tables, worsening this situation. Women in the region
either spend long hours fetching water, or must spend a significant portion of their income on water for
drinking, cooking, and bathing. The water scarcity problem in Rakai is becoming ever more critical.
Conventional technologies like boreholes and streams have been prioritized there, despite their potential
The Uganda Rainwater Association trained women affected by HIV and tuberculosis in Rakai to construct
rainwater catchment jars. Women have contributed a certain amount of money to the project, while the rest
comes from the World Bank. The capacitation, which included apprenticeship programs for orphans and other
vulnerable youth, allowed for the establishment of small enterprises based on producing the rainwater
Helping the planet
Reducing dependency on conventional water sources allows them to recharge. The project has also decreased
runoff from storm water, helping to prevent environmentally destructive floods and landslides.
People in Rakai can now access higher-quality water for drinking, washing, and cooking. They are less
likely to get ill from drinking brackish or contaminated water. And, since rainwater is free, women save
money they might otherwise have spent on water. They also save time previously used fetching water, to
engage in other income-generating activities, helping them to find a way out of poverty. The youth and
women are empowered by the training, which helps build their capacity and turns them into agents of change
in the community.
Groups that were trained in this project have continued to construct rainwater jars, and even
bigger-capacity tanks. The leading organization hopes to train other partners in the water sector on how to
use a revolving fund mechanism specifically for promotion of rainwater harvesting.
Images owned by the activity partners, all rights reserved.
It is apparent that hygiene and sanitation issues are a challenge in households with rainwater catchment
jars. The project could be expanded to address these aspects and utilize harvested rainwater to its