Ripples of Hope: Kabala's Journey to Water Security

A community member gathering water from the newly established water point in Kabala. Photo: Ivan Echaat


The Kabala community, nestled within the heart of Parabongo sub-county, Agago district in Northern Uganda, has undergone a remarkable transformation. Once a hub struggling with the aftermath of conflict and infrastructure decay, it has now emerged as a beacon of progress and resilience.


Situated along Patongo Kalongo road, Kabala boasts a vibrant Nursery and Primary School alongside a Health Centre II, crucial institutions serving the needs of its residents and the surrounding areas. Despite these vital resources, the community faced a significant challenge: access to clean water.


Originally reliant on the aging Kabala piped water scheme, constructed amidst the tumult of the Lords Resistance Army (LRA) insurgency in 1996 to serve the then Kabala IDP Camp, the community found itself grappling with a breakdown in infrastructure. By 2019, the strain on the system had become untenable, leaving a growing population without a reliable water source. This crisis threatened to stifle socio-economic development and compromise essential health services.


Faced with this predicament, tensions rose within the community. The Water User committees, tasked with managing the operation of the piped scheme, pointed to the lack of funds for repairs, while residents countered with accusations of mismanagement. The consequences were dire as the Health Centre ceased child delivery services, while the school required students to bring jerrycans of water from home every day for drinking and to maintain hygiene and sanitation, significantly affecting their education and overall welfare.

Desperate times called for innovative solutions.


Community members began trekking over 2.5 km to distant boreholes and wells, enduring long queues, fights and loss of jerrycans at the water points.

However, a ray of hope emerged in February 2023, when the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), with funding from Charity:Water, initiated the rehabilitation of the piped scheme in Kabala community. Through concerted efforts, the scheme was restored, breathing new life into Kabala. Six public tap stands, equipped with prepaid water dispensers, now dot the community’s landscape, ensuring access to reliable, safe, and clean water for all. Crucially, a newly established water board was trained by LWF in management and maintenance, and it oversees the sustainable operation of the system.


For Apio Rose Lilly, a member of the community, the transformation is profound. "Life is now easy in our community," she shares. "We spend more time tending to our gardens, free from the worry of water scarcity. Our jerrycans no longer vanish at the water point, and the introduction of prepaid dispensers has revolutionized fee management."


Now, members of Kabala community only have to pay 50 UGX ($0.014 USD) per 20-liter jerrican, which is significantly lower compared to the exorbitant amount they were initially paying for water with limited access.


In Kabala, water isn't just a resource - it is a lifeline, a symbol of resilience, and a promise of a brighter tomorrow.