We recently wrapped up our first quarterly board meeting of our 2017-2018 fiscal year. It’s always an exciting meeting as we review the preceding year, and gear up for the year ahead.
This past fiscal year was quite successful. Together we helped more than 25,000 people across more than 70 villages and 18 schools to enjoy clean water, basic toilets, and clean hands. We saw the impact of our work in the data we collected and the stories we heard.
This impact was made possible thanks to the continued support of our long-time supporters, and new and expanded contributions from many others, allowing us to scale our impact to more families in need. We also welcomed to the board Mathias Kiwanuka, Ben Andrew, and Jennifer Stoltz Favus, deepening our expertise in Uganda, finance, and social behavior.
As we head into our new fiscal year, we’re most excited about the addition of Sarah Aguti. She will be overseeing our operations as Country Director. She comes to us from Save the Children where she oversaw their programs in Liberia. She is a native Ugandan, and her experience includes developing hygiene promotion strategies in many difficult circumstances, including the refugee settlements near where we work in Kiryandongo.
While we have a lot to be proud of, I am most proud to see how we have responded to setbacks. When we looked at our data, we saw that the communities we supported were still dependent on us for well maintenance and repairs years later. We saw that our hygiene promotion efforts were falling short of our ambitions, resulting too often in unclean containers and eating with unclean hands. Unfortunately, these shortcomings are common across the world, with many wells falling into disrepair and poor hygiene undermining the value of clean water.
This year we began piloting new approaches to address these shortcomings, and the early results are very promising. We will be sharing the results of these programs with you and the broader international community soon. As we work to empower communities in rural Uganda, it is critical that we also work to influence how the world tackles these challenges.
Finally, as we continue our growth journey, we are continuing to invest in the development of our talented team on the ground. As we continue to promote a high-performance culture, I am inspired by the dedication and growth I see in our team. Just this year we will be supporting three young professionals to continue their education at night while they make our work possible during the day. At the cost of just a few hundred dollars a year in educational support, we are establishing viable pathways for our team to grow with The Water Trust – a win-win for our team members and the communities we serve.
Commitment, hard work, and the pursuit of a better way is what got us here and what moves us forward. I hope we can count on your commitment as we move forward.