Nebraska Professionals Chapter
Nebraska Professionals Chapter

Previous Program: Uganda

















Uganda (population 34.8 million, CIA 2013) is located in east Africa north of Lake Victoria, one of the sources of the headwaters of the Nile River and the second-largest freshwater lake in the world.  Kenya is the country's neighbor to the east and Uganda shares a southern border with Rwanda.  The equator passes through Uganda, but the climate is pleasent with daily highs ranging between 70 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit.  Uganda has two wet seasons and two dry seasons.  The dry seasons are about two months in length.  The average annual rainfall in the capital city, Kampala, is 1224 millimeters or 48 inches (Climate 2013).

Uganda is an interesting mix of the traditional and modern.  In the capital city of Kampala (population 1.5 million) pedestrians, bicycles, motorcycles, cars, and vans jockey for position on crowded paved streets without lanes.  Motorcycle taxis convey men talking on cell phones and women riding sideways in skirts with babies balanced on their hips.  Four men can be seen on one motorcycle. In Uganda traffic is controlled mainly by roundabouts.  Traffic lights, which require electricity, are not as common.  Few people own a vehicle and most people walk.  Taxis (both vans and motocycles) are rented to drivers for a daily rate.  The taxi vans are usually overfilled and very dangerous.  Most have a saying on the back: "Hope for the Best", "Sit Down Boss", or "Trust in God".  Bicycles hauling paying clients, chickens, bananas, and 2-meter lengths of wood and metal pass store fronts with patchy electricity and uneven yards.

Buildings are constructed mainly of soft local bricks formed from the red soil, stacked over a fire, and sometimes sealed with a mixture of mud to cure.  Charcoal and wood are used as cooking fuels and the air quality is very poor, especially in the dry seasons.  Furniture is made by hand with manual tools, ladders are constructed of wood, water-tank seams are closed using a copper solder iron and material that may be borax for flux.  Electricity is scare especially outside the large cities, and water is scarse for four months out of the year.

Water & Sanitation

Water availability fluctuates seasonally.  During the two 2-month dry seasons, the main sources of water are private hand pumps which increase their prices with the increase in demand, and, for the poor, unsanitary drainage ways.  About 28% of the population does not have access to clean drinking water and 66% lacks access to hygienic sanitation.  Infectious disease is high.  About 49% of the population is 15.5 year of age or younger and the life expectancy is 54 years (CIA 2013). 

Engineers Without Borders - Nebraska Professional Chapter




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