LA resident part of team raising money for water filters in Uganda

Courtesy of SPOUTS Impact
Clean water remains a precious commodity in the African nation of Uganda, but a Los Altos resident is working with a nonprofit to expand access water sanitation tools.

With help from a local resident, SPOUTS Impact recently hosted a virtual yoga fundraising event over Zoom to raise money for its clean water efforts in Uganda.

“Especially during the time of COVID-19, this is a really stressful time, and we wanted to do something to support our funders and donors and their health and wellness,” said SPOUTS communications intern Hannah Klaassen, a Los Altos High graduate.

Thirty people attended the August event, which raised approximately $400. According to director Barika Poole, the money will go to the nonprofit’s efforts to distribute ceramic water filters to people in rural, low-income villages and other vulnerable communities in Uganda.

Founded in Uganda in 2017, SPOUTS Impact is the sister nongovernmental organization to SPOUTS of Water, the company that sells the water filters. So far, SPOUTS Impact has installed filters in more than 500 schools, providing clean water to more than 50,000 students. It also has provided more than 3,000 filters to households and clinics. According to the SPOUTS Impact website, the organization hopes to supply safe water to 5 million Ugandans by 2025.

SPOUTS Impact works with local partners familiar with the communities to decide where to focus its efforts. Schools must meet certain criteria, according to Poole, such as having a water source and faculty willing to maintain and promote the water filters. The organization usually works with primary schools because water-borne diseases are a leading cause of death for young children in Uganda.

Poole said social-distancing guidelines brought on by COVID-19 have slowed the organization’s operations. With schools closed, SPOUTS Impact has been forced to shift the focus of its programs to health centers, where they’ve been training health center workers on using and maintaining the filters.

Poole added that SPOUTS Impact plans to launch a fundraising campaign called Raise A Glass at the end of the year, but supporters don’t have concrete plans for any other events.

“I feel strongly that children shouldn’t have to die by drinking unclean water in the 21st century,” Poole said. “Ceramic water filtering is easily accessible and can make a big impact in these areas and in these countries. We want people to be empowered to take a hold of their own water sanitation needs and not always rely on a handout, but rather a hand up.”

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