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Building Rain Water Tanks and Building Skills: A Case Study of a Women's Organization in Uganda

  • Year: 2008
  • Author: Payne, Deborah; Nakato, Margaret; Nabalango, Caroline
  • Journal Name: Rural Society
  • Journal Number: Vol. 18, No. 3
  • Country: Uganda

Water collection in rural areas of Uganda is left primarily to women and children. Katosi Women Development Trust, an NGO based in rural Uganda has focused on addressing the gender-linked issue of increased water sources near the home through the construction of rain water collection tanks. In an effort to improve the income of members as well as decrease costs of construction, 22 women were trained as masons for the ferro-cement tank design. A case study covering the successful development of the program as well as benefits and challenges was conducted within the case study community. Interviews with the women indicated that masonry skills have broken social barriers and doubled income for them, many of whom are the primary provider in the home. Increased income has been used for school fees, food and supplies, home construction projects, and other income generating activities. Women also identified improved social standing as a result of their skills and felt their work improved community health by increasing access to water and reducing the distance traveled for water collection. Challenges have included maintaining home life away from the home, a preference for male masons over females and acquiring transportation to the work site. Though challenges exist, women have determined that these benefits outweigh the challenges associated with their trade.

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