UK water industry supporter trip Uganda 2014

Every 18 months a selection of water industry supporters are given the opportunity to experience our work in the field.

In November, 14 supporters from across the UK water industry visited Uganda to see WaterAid's work first-hand.

As WaterAid volunteers, fundraisers and ambassadors within their companies, the trip provided participants with a chance to see just how vital their support is to our work.

UK water industry supporters in Uganda
UK water industry supporters in Uganda.

While in Uganda, they blogged about their experiences – click on the links under the participants' names to hear their thoughts and reflections on the people they met and places they visited.

Adam Green, Southern Water
Adam Green of Southern Water (left) collects water at the clean water source in Bobol village, Ojamai parish, Asamuk sub-county, Amuria District, Uganda - November 2014.Adam has worked for Southern Water for seven years in a variety of roles. He volunteers as the WaterAid lottery rep, encouraging colleagues to take part and donate to WaterAid. "The highlight for me was seeing the difference between people’s lives in a village where WaterAid have installed a water supply and one where they have yet to help. People with access to safe water seemed so much healthier and happier."

Read Adam's blog >

Hannah Battram, Affinity Water
Hannah Battram of Affinity Water repairs a drying rack at the home of 90-year-old Asingo Anatasia in Ojolai village, Akerau parish, Akeriau sub county, Amuria District, Uganda - November 2014.Hannah is the Environmental Education Coordinator at Affinity Water, responsible for developing educational resources about the value of water both locally and globally. "I can honestly say I feel humbled by each and every story that I've heard. Perhaps our ‘innovation’ workshops and courses in the UK should involve sending people to see some of these places – I know I've certainly learnt a thing or two in the process."

Read Hannah's blog >

Roger Full, Interserve
Roger Full of Interserve (left) and Fiona Wase of Dwr Cymru Welsh Water (right) walk through the female ward at the Amuria Health Centre, Amuria village, Amuria District, Uganda - November 2014.Roger’s current role as volunteer WaterAid representative at Interserve gives him an opportunity to combine his interest in global issues with his day job in the UK water sector.  "When we have visited an ‘after intervention’ village, you only had to look at the land to see the difference. Once a well is installed, an operation and maintenance committee is formed and they decide how much to charge people to use the well in order to cover any breakdowns and maintenance."

Read Roger's blog >

Sophie Goodall, Environment Agency
Sophie Goodall of the Environment Agency (right) helps 22-year-old Mary Agibo (left) with the washing up at the household of Osuban Glasio, 63-years-old, and Lucy Alayo, 56-years-old, in Bobol village, Ojamai parish, Asamuk sub-county, Amuria District, Uganda - November 2014.Sophie has worked for the Environment Agency for more than 11 years and has been supporting WaterAid for just as long, through marathons, cycling and swimming challenges and volunteering at festivals. “My highlight was having the opportunity to spend time with the lovely families and schoolchildren, listening to their stories and hearing first-hand how clean water, and improved sanitation and hygiene had transformed their lives.”

Read Sophie's blog >

Barry Hardy, Scottish Water
Barry Hardy of Scottish Water (standing) gives a Vote of Thanks to the teachers and pupils of Ojolai Community School during a meeting with WaterAid UK supporters and WaterAid Uganda staff, Ojolai village, Akerau parish, Akeriau sub county, Amuria District, Uganda - November 2014.Barry has worked in the water industry for more than 20 years and has been fundraising for WaterAid for eight years. "Should we have been embarrassed about parachuting in for a quick visit and then off to our pampered lives? No, and I won't be. These visits provide a powerful link between their plight and those who can help bring the changes about. Cash poor they may be, but they're rich in their resourcefulness."

Read Barry's blog >

Dean Harrison, Severn Trent Water
Dean Harrison of Severn Trent Water (centre) shares a laught with 90-year-old Asingo Anatasia (left) and interpreter Epidu Moses (right) outside Anatasia's house in Ojolai village, Akerau parish, Akeriau sub county, Amuria District, Uganda - November 2014.Dean works as a project partner at Severn Trent Water. He volunteers on the Severn Trent Mountain Challenge organising committee and helps to organise the annual fundraising ball. "One of my biggest learning points was just how embedded WaterAid is with the local communities through its partner organisations. It is easy to forget that access to clean water and sanitation is not just about allocating funds to solve problems but also about advocacy."

Read Dean's blog >

Bernie McLean, Northern Ireland Water
Bernie McLean of Northern Ireland Water (left) stands with 43-year-old Among Margaret (right) at her house in Bobol village, Ojamai parish, Asamuk sub-county, Amuria District, Uganda - November 2014.Bernie has worked in the water industry in Northern Ireland for 28 years. She has been fundraising for WaterAid for many years and is currently a volunteer speaker. "I knew WaterAid were very involved in all the countries that they work in, but I didn’t realise just how much they were involved with partners and the governments. I think that’s tremendous."

Gillian Sanders, Wessex Water
Gillian Sanders of Wessex Water (centre) dances with pupils of the Wera Primary School during a welcome ceremony for WaterAid UK and Uganda supporters at the school, Ojamai parish, Asamuk sub-county, Amuria District, Uganda - November 2014.Gillian is a planning engineer with Wessex Water. Outside work she organises and takes part in the annual Bleadon 10km race for WaterAid and coordinates a staff team for the Bath Half Marathon. "It has been a truly inspiring experience to see first-hand the difference safe water and toilets makes to a community. I'm looking forward to telling everyone about it, there is so much more to say!"

Read Gillian's blog >

Janine Scott, Northumbrian Water
Janine Scott of Northumbrian Water (left) helps to prepare lunch during a visit to the household of 26-year-old Michael Eulu and 23-year-old Deboara Etoju (right in green) in Ojolai village, Akerau parish, Akeriau sub county, Amuria District, Uganda - November 2014.Janine works in the communications team at Northumbrian Water. She is also a volunteer presenter on her local hospital radio station. "This trip has been amazing. I’ve really got to understand the great work that WaterAid does, I’ve seen the massive impact first-hand and I’ve met some interesting and inspiring people – including the group of supporters I shared the experience with!"

Read Janine's blog >

Nicole Synan, Anglian Water
Nicole Synan of Anglian Water collects water from an unprotected water source in Ojolai village, Akerau parish, Akeriau sub county, Amuria District, Uganda - November 2014.Nicole is a graduate trainee. She started fundraising for WaterAid and now sits on the committee for the annual Anglian Water ball and organised the company’s first Bake Off challenge. "I asked people how often they get ill, and one boy said he gets sick at least once a week. I found this really difficult and had to hold back tears. They know the health risks from drinking this water but they simply have no other choice… yet."

Read Nicole's blog >

Fiona Wase, Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water
Fiona Wase of Dwr Cymru Welsh Water (right) helps to paint a classroom at the Amuria Primary School, Amuria Village, Amuria District, Uganda, during World Toilet Day celebrations - November 2014.Fiona has been an education ranger at Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water for 17 years. "As soon as we arrived in Bobol Village –
 where WaterAid provided a bore hole in 2012 – the difference was obvious. People's clothing was cleaner and smarter and everyone wore flip flops or shoes."

Read Fiona's blog >

Chris Watson, South Staffs Water
Chris Watson of South Staffs Water holds a one-day-old baby at the Amuria Health Centre, Amuria Village, Amuria District, Uganda - November 2014.As Education Coordinator at South Staffs Water, Chris is responsible for teaching children and young people about the value of water. "Access to clean water has helped eliminate diseases such as dysentery. Infant mortality has improved because the little ones are so vulnerable to disease. It’s a win-win situation. The task is to give everyone – whether in Uganda or another country – that same basic right."

Read Chris' blog >

Andrea Willmott, Sutton and East Surrey Water
Andrea Willmott of Sutton & East Surrey Water (right) helps 23-year-old Agnes Aguti (left) collect water from the water source near to their household in Ojolai village, Akerau parish, Akeriau sub county, Amuria District, Uganda - November 2014.Andrea has worked at Sutton and East Surrey Water for eight years and is a WaterAid ambassador at her company. "We were told that prior to WaterAid's intervention the village had to put forward a business plan and now each family pays a monthly amount for water. Now there's enough money to repair the pump and any money left over earns interest, which is reinvested in village enterprises to ensure sustainability."

Read Andrea's blog >

Emma Wren, Mott MacDonald
Emma Wren of Mott MacDonald (right) helps 58-year-old Ameso Isaya (left) wash the dishes during a visit to her house at Bobol village, Ojamai parish, Asamuk sub-county, Amuria District, Uganda - November 2014.Emma works in the water and environment unit at Mott MacDonald and has been involved in a number of WaterAid fundraising events, including the mountain challenge. "My daughter is at school and has shoes to wear. She has clean water to drink and a safe toilet there. There are books, games, computers, paper and pens. There isn't going to be a celebration if someone donates 200 new pencils. But why shouldn’t there be? Why should we take all this for granted?"

Read Emma's blog >