The Toshiba Carbon Zero Scheme supports the Uganda Borehole Rehabilitation Project, which identifies and fixes broken boreholes and ensures the long-term supply of clean water. As a result, it saves families time in collecting or buying firewood for purifying the water as well as time spent looking to water sources. This time can be spent on income generating activities.
The project in Uganda contributes to lifting people above this line by reducing the time spent collecting water, enabling more time to be spent on generating income. The latest Toshiba CarbonZero Impact Report showed that the Scheme has positively impacted 37,739 people in Uganda.
A lack of access to safe water is a major cause of poverty for people like Vincent Ogwong and his wife and 3 children. Before the CO2balance project began, the family only had access to an unsafe water supply and had to spend 3 hours per day collecting water to meet household needs.Vincent says: “Before this project we used to spend a lot of time looking for firewood and boiling water to make it clean. Sometimes due to the scarcity of firewood we would drink water without boiling it. This meant we frequently suffered from diarrhoea and other illnesses and would spend a lot of money treating them.”
This situation had a terrible impact on the financial situation of Vincent and his family, with the time spent collecting water every day detracting from time that could be spent on income-generating activities and the money spent on medicine placing an additional burden on the family. The situation has greatly improved, however, with the rehabilitation of the communal borehole, which means that the family only needs to spend 30 minutes per day collecting water, and can do so from a safe water supply which does not cause them to become ill. Vincent is now able to devote himself full time to growing sunflowers and harvesting their seeds, for which he receives an excellent price from cooking oil producers: “With the coming of the Toshiba WASH project [a hygiene training on WAter, Sanitation & Hygiene] in our area, I now have much time to spend in my garden and on my business. The money realised from the sale of sunflower seeds has enabled me to open up a grain store where I am able to sell grains to traders from far off towns.”
From sunflower seedlings costing 34,000 Ugandan shillings (8.70€) to buy, Vincent is able to harvest seeds worth 250,000 shillings (64€), an income over 7 times greater than his original investment! This provides vital cash for the family to spend on essentials such as school fees, books and uniform, and allows them to put money aside in case they should need to buy food in times of hardship. The experience of the Ogwong family powerfully demonstrates how a safe water supply can lift communities out of poverty.