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Steve Willis Memorial Fund, Uganda

On the 8th November 2005 Steve Willis was shot and killed by the Lord’s Resistance Army whilst responding to a distress call from a group of explorers in the Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda.

steve willis memorial fund

Steve’s young wife, Debbie, has set up a memorial fund in his name. Working through the Water Trust, clean drinking water is provided for people living in the north of Uganda. The Water Trust installs hand-dug wells, bore holes and water catchments which provide clean water to the people. Construction is overseen by trained engineers but for the most part the work is done by the local community which generates a strong sense of ownership.

Steve Willis Memorial
Clean water from the well

Each source provides for an average of 500 people and over a million people now benefit from clean water provided by the Trust.

As well as installing clean water sources, the Trust also educates communities on the benefits of improved hygiene. This is done through the Community Led Total Sanitation approach (CLTS). People learn how diseases (such as malaria, diarrhoea, typhoid and skin infections) are spread and how to make improvements to prevent this. Pit latrines are dug, stagnant water areas are removed and shrubs which contain a natural mosquito repellent are planted.

The importance of washing ones hands is stressed, as is adequate ventilation in houses. Very importantly, the campaigns are focused at a community level so that everyone is involved within the whole area. Flies do not respect boundaries between houses so if one household is not using a latrine, the neighbours will suffer! In communities where they have been implemented, spectacular reductions in the incidence of diseases have resulted – typhoid in particular has been reduced by 91%.

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