Nasasira’s journey to health and financial independence
‘InPact people are here...’ Two little children chanted amidst giggles as we walked towards their home in Bujerengye A village in Kanungu district. Nasasira rushed out of her house with a beaming smile… which quickly turned into a mild frown “Jackson, [InPact staff] why didn’t you let me know you were coming? I would have prepared some tea…” She said in the local Kikiga dialect. Her disappointment, however, eased when we explained that we had just had lunch and thanked her for her generosity.
Jasper Nasasira is a typical vibrant and hard-working rural woman. At 28 years old, she is married with two children – one of whom is only about a year old. Her husband moved to find work in the capital city, Kampala. He collects scrap metal for sell to recycling factories and only comes home once every six months. Nasasira, therefore, is almost solely raising their two children with only some financial support from her husband when he is able. Until recently, she used to depend on subsistence farming where she grew some beans, maize, millet, and green bananas to feed her family; often sparing some to sell at her makeshift set up by the road side near her home.
This life seemingly already difficult would have been bearable if it wasn’t for the hectic daily burden of fetching water.
“I used to walk two hours down and uphill to fetch only one jerry can [20litres] of water… with my baby on my back and my other child clutching my skirt - towing behind, we always set off early every morning to fetch water. By the time I got home, I would be exhausted, yet there was a lot more chores including cooking and cleaning to do. I would never find time for any developmental work to earn some more income to supplement what my husband sent.” Nasasira reminisced. “My children always got sick because of the water we used from the swamp in the valley. It was hard taking care of a sick child by myself and having to do all this work including fetching water every day.”
Nasasira is one of the beneficiaries of Sanitation and Hygiene Initiatives for Everyone (SHINE) project. She received a 1000 litre rain water harvest tank through a cost sharing approach where beneficiaries contribute by building a concrete base for the tank and installing gutters on their houses.
“…doctors and clinics don’t see my money now.” She says with a chuckle. “My children don’t get sick any more. We use clean water from the tank. Even the knowledge I got on hygiene, proper use of the latrine and hand washing has helped me a lot.” She adds.
“Since I got the water tank from InPact, my life has changed; my family has changed; even my community is benefiting. Nasasira’s face lights up as she shares. “My fellow women come over for water especially in the dry season, because I have some to spare. I appeal to my neighbors and the community members to always embrace and support such health interventions because they change lives. She adds
Nasasira now has more time on her hands and has since started a piggery at her home which earns her some money through selling her pigs; -‘when I got these pigs, I realized the value of water being close by, because they consume more than 20 litres of water every day – which is all I used to collect from the swamp for my home… I would never have managed without this tank. She shares.
She has also increased the acreage of her garden to grow more crops for food and for sell; and has joined three community women’s groups where she saves up to UGX 20,000 per month.
“…since I can take care of our daily needs, the money my husband sends now is for bigger expenses like school fees and purchase of family assets. We have been able to develop as a family and in less than a year have bought three pieces of land worth about UGX 6 million.” She proudly shares.
Nasasira is now able to supplement her husband’s income and be financially independent.
“Water is the foundation of life and it should always be cherished.” Jasper Nasasira - A mother, business woman and proud member of her community.