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Wednesday, 30 November 2011

An Appeal for Water

Blog readers will know that the 2010 drought and the effect of climate change and inflation caused our schools major problems this year. Money which was intended to fund buildings and infrastructure had to be used to buy water and food at up to 3 times the normal price.
So although we have completed two water catchment projects at £34000 over the period since 2004 they have not been enough.
If the rain does not come them water catchment is of limited value.
We have therefore decided to fund a hydrological survey to see if we could find a water table somewhere below ground on our St Zoe site.
The results arrived on November 29th and are really encouraging.
We have been told that we can obtain 1500 litres per hour by sinking a borehole of about 105 metres deep, sink a pump which is solar powered, and store the water in a large overhead tank so that is can gravity feed to the school buildings. If we run the system for 5 to 10 hours a day this will be sufficient for everyone on the site. It will be a major breakthrough and of enormous vale.
It will cost about £28,000 and we are starting a special appeal to fund this.

It would be great if some of our donors could help. This can be done by;
  • send a cheque to HUGS at 6 The Ceal Compstall Stockport SK6 5LQ
  • direct bank transfer to our account. For security please email me for details although you will find that it is the same as your standing order.
  • Or click HERE and use the Virgin Money Giving  (they charge us about 2.5%)
The picture shows the various elements of the project. 

Monday, 21 November 2011

Mosquito Nets

We have written before about the importance of mosquito nets and HUGS has funded the supply of these to our schools. But children still die of malaria. Sr. Demmy who runs the Lira Babies home has had a particularly tough time and she will be getting nets very soon.

But sometimes the well intentioned efforts of donors has a really perverse effect. Like the American celebrity who raised 1 million nets for the Central African republic. Fine while they lasted but all the local businesses making nets were put out of business.

And this story from Democratic Republic of Congo goes one step further .

Many lakeside villages in the mineral-rich province suffer from a high rate of malaria-induced child mortality. Sleeping inside these nets is the best way to avoid mosquito bites and malaria. But this laudable action created a human and ecological catastrophe.
An international medical NGO provided mosquito nets to a poor village in the Upemba region of Katanga.
As the mosquito nets were free and abundant, fisherman used them as fishing nets. Given their extremely fine mesh, not only were fish removed from the lake but all other forms of micro-fauna and micro-flora too. The lake gradually became covered with a black scum. Villagers lost their sources of livelihood and food supply.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

The HUGS Christmas Book

HUGS has been busy working in partnership with Stockport College to produce a lovely Children’s Christmas Book. The story is quirky and the illustrations delightful.
It tells the story of Asobora the monkey finding out about Christmas and lighting up the Christmas Tree in Uganda.

There is a serious purpose also, as all the profits from the sale of the books will go to continue the work of the charity. The book would make a lovely present and cost £6.99
To order email

Thursday, 10 November 2011

From our own Correspondent on Radio 4

If you can get BBC Ipayer Radio programmes on your computer it really is worth listening to the 10th November edition of From our own Correspondent which was at 11.00 am.
It starts with the poster slogan we all saw during our last visit. Prosperity for All was the message.
And then to hear the message about the cost of a matoke banana rising from 100 to 300 Uganda shillings each. Matoke is really a major part of the staple diet of everyone. Petrol costs up by 30% and you begin to see the sort of pressures which the people have been having.

It is getting a little better now that the rate of exchange has dropped back about 10% but don't think our eurozone problems stop at Europe. They have had the costs increases driven by exchange rates but also those caused by drought too. That's why this year HUGS has had to divert funds from capital projects and spend the money helping to provide food and water for the children. But we think that we will be back on programme this year and complete our secondary and vocational schools and also build new latrines and hopefully start the water project mentioned in the last blog. Thanks for all your continuous help.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Climate change and water

Climatic changes are happening in Uganda. On the one hand there is more erratic rainfall in the March to June rainy season, bringing drought and reductions in crop yields and plant varieties; on the other hand the rainfall, especially in the later rains towards the end of the year, is reported as coming in more intense and destructive downpours, bringing floods, landslides and soil erosion.

Over the last 100 years the frequency of drought has been increasing quite dramatically and a recent Oxfam Report on Climate Change in Uganda provides ample evidence that this is a real issue. The report is called Turning Up the Heat and can be read on the Oxfam site.

Most of us thought that the recent drought in Somalia and Kenya had not reached as far as our schools in Uganda. Sadly that was not the case. 2011 has been a really tough year and for the first time since St Zoe’s opened 10 years ago we have had to put back spend on infrastructure just to make sure that the children has food and water. This has often had to be purchased at prices several times greater than the normal prices.

In 2003 we had our first Water Harvesting project thanks to the support of the Bishop family and other donors. A part of this was the creation of a 250,000 litre underground storage tank with roof rainfall catchment. This was very successful but we had to augment the plan with a major extension and more tanks in 2010.

Water catchment is great if there is any rain to catch. This year there has been very little. Fortunately we have strong evidence that there is a very good water supply about 120 metres below ground level on land we purchased last year as part of our farm which feeds the children.

Now we are going to commission a hydrological survey to make absolutely sure that this is true before we invest up to £30,000 in sinking the borehole, installing the pumps which are solar powered, and erecting a large overhead storage tank so that the school buildings can be gravity fed.

This blog will keep you informed. Our Trustees decided that we will need to start a special appeal to help to fund this work but lets wait until we are sure that the water is there before we ask for help. We should know this in the next few weeks.