RAW’s Lucky 13 Water Well Project repaired and refurbished 13 previously defunct water wells in Uganda and taught locals important skills such as how to fix the well, how to save for well repairs, and illness prevention. The story is that large NGOs originally put in these amazing expensive wells years ago. Then they left and the wells broke. Nobody there knew how to fix them so they became useless. Now, we’ve helped fix them and hopefully created a circle that can keep these wells going in perpetuity.

Give a man a meal, he eats for one day. Teach a man to farm, he eats for life. With this in mind, RAW helped fund the Connect Africa Permaculture Design Course for 22 participants coming from Uganda, Kenya, and Congo in February 2014. The goal of this course was to introduce and promote methods which allow farmers to take advantage of the rainy season(s). By teaching land water harvesting techniques as well as various other techniques which utilize animals and growing a diversity of foods, we hope that the yields will provide food in abundance and help eradicate poverty.

RAW Sustainable Permaculture Project

Project Report: RAW
The Numbers – Uganda
Population: 34 million
Life Expectancy: 54 years.

  • 80% of the population in Uganda depends on Agriculture and it is Uganda’s backbone.
  • 20% of the population is employed and others are self employed.

About Uganda

Uganda is a landlocked country in East Africa, bordering Kenya, South Sudan, DRC, Rwanda, and Tanzania. The southern part of the country includes a substantial portion of Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest lake. Uganda takes its name from the Buganda kingdom and known as hunter-gathers. Uganda gained its independence from the British in 1962. Since then, the country has been marked with intermittent conflicts; most recently a civil war against the infamous Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), which killed tens of thousands, displaced more than 1 million, and utilized child soldiers.

Uganda is one of the poorest nations in the world, with 37.7% of the population living on less than $1.25 per day. This cycle of poverty is continued, largely due to a quarter of the population not having access to clean water. Most of these people are scattered throughout rural Uganda, where government services are limited. Many are struggling farmers, dependent on the two rainy seasons to grow crops and earn a living. Unless an operable well is available, most people are forced to take contaminated water, from surface water or streams. This causes water-borne disease, such as diarrhea; robbing Ugandans of time lost from work or school, income spent on medicine, and far too often…their lives.

Project Summary

On February 13, 2014, with funds from RAW, Connect Africa hosted a three week Permaculture Design Course for twenty-two participants from three East African countries (Uganda, Kenya and Congo). Certification requirements included attending 72 hours of class lecture, participation in a group project, individual project submission and participation in talent show. Course also included 2.5 hours of hands-on participation per day and additional video presentations on permaculture methods and a field trip to Entebbe Roofings.

The goal of this course was to introduce and promote methods which allow farmers to take advantage of the rainy season(s) by teaching land water harvesting techniques (digging swales and berms, zai pits, mulching, etc) and various other techniques which utilize animals and polyculture (growing a diversity of foods). Permaculture as a form of farming has huge potential and can be of great benefit to subsistence farmers in East Africa. Traditional farming methods in Africa such as monoculture (planting one crop), slash and burn and the use of commercial insecticides and fertilizers are contributing to soil depletion, decreased yields and the dependence on costly chemicals. This course provided students with natural, organic, easily implemented methods which can increase yields and overtime provide food in abundance and eradicate poverty.

Opportunities for hands-on instruction are invaluable in ensuring that concepts are grasped and can be implemented by students. Participants received hands on instruction in the following techniques or had the opportunity to see methods at work in the field:

  • Building, calibrating and using an A-frame to find level on the land.
  • Digging a swale on contour.
  • Digging Banana Circles
  • Water Management / Check Dams
  • Digging Zai Pits
  • Mulching/Composting
  • Construction of a worm farm
  • Building a compost pile
  • Digging a fish pond and harvesting catfish
  • Observations of pig tractors/free range chickens & geese.
  • Observation of urban alternatives such as square foot gardening, herb spiral, and container gardening
  • Hands-on participation in ISSB (interlocking stabilized soil block) construction
  • Hands-on participation in Rocket Stove construction

While staying at the Hub the participants were introduced to other appropriate technologies that Connect Africa promotes and were able to live with and experience the benefits of Biosand Water Filters, Rocket Stoves, using an EcoSan toilet, and used water from Rainwater Harvesting Tanks constructed from ISSB (interlocking stabilized soil blocks) as well as received information on Connect Africa’s work in bore hole repair.

The course was successful in that students participated fully and contributed from their individual experiences. Each participant also completed a group project (designing for a plot of land having in mind the amount of rainfall, direction of sun, wind, topography, etc.) and an individual project design for Zone 0 and 1 of their respective homes. All students received certification in Permaculture Design from the Midwest Permaculture Design Institute under the instruction of Grant Shadden. Participants shared contact information in beginning a Permaculture Network.

Thank you RAW for your support of this project, it looks like a new baby was born, a new network.

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RAW Lucky 13 Water well project

Many years ago we dug our first RAW deep-bore water well in drought stricken southern Ethiopia. Our well there is believed to have saved hundreds of lives and improved hundreds more. In fact, our well in Ethiopia was such a success that we knew we had to go back. This time we went to neighboring Uganda and repaired and refurbished 13 defunct water wells. We also included an educational component to teach the locals illness prevention, how to fix the well and to save a little bit of money each month in case they need a part. We helped fix them and hopefully created a circle that can keep these wells going in perpetuity!!

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You might think “how can I help”. The thing is, you’ve already helped more than you know. We have all only been able to do all of this because of the tremendous loyalty and support that the world has given us. You are responsible for these wells as much as we are, we feel we are all one community, one beautiful people together!  As Desmond Tutu said “Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world”. On behalf of everyone at RAW and all the thousands of people helped. THANK YOU FOR RAWKING!!!