AFRICA EQUIPMENT FOR SCHOOLS

UK REGISTERED CHARITY 1084744 & BRITISH OVERSEAS NGO FOR DEVELOPMENT

The AES team from left to right: Marion, Bright, Ambrose, Mickey, Jonathan, Dan, Peter, Kenny, Alex, Lordy, Dixson, Edison, and your Editor.

The AES team from left to right: Marion, Bright, Ambrose, Mickey, Jonathan, Dan, Peter, Kenny, Alex, Lordy, Dixson, Edison, and your Editor.

The links section is primarily for the promotion of content partners that make this website so enjoyable, as they deserve the spotlight on their own Internet presence so that people can discover their work in greater detail. This link is the one exception to that rule, because of our personal involvement with them, and the work that they do.

AES is a long-running charity dedicated to helping rural communities in Uganda and its surrounding countries. They are funded primarily from UK donors that support their work in building classrooms, latrine blocks and gravity water systems. In addition to these major constructions, smaller projects dealing with the provision of classroom desks and chairs, as well as building full-width chalkboards to enable a proper learning environment for students. They run their operations on a shoestring budget, with their managing director Marion Quinton overseeing operations in the field, fundraising, and handling all the administration work from her home office in Kabale. The team has very low turnover as they are paid above market, given full weekends off, and supported as if they are family - a far cry from some organisations operating in Africa, and a world away from local employers.

During my six weeks working with them I was assigned to walk the numerous gravity water systems that they had constructed in order to survey the key points with a GPS. Gravity water systems run from a natural spring high in the mountains and fed through miles of narrow pipe, dug a few feet into the earth and buried to be protected for decades to come. Gravity draws the water down through the pipes and feeds a network of tap stands constructed by the team that delivers this most precious resource much closer to villages who would otherwise have to trek up and down the mountain side to fill their containers. As if it doesn't already sound bad, the sad reality is that 99% of the time, it is the children that are tasked with fetching the water. If the family requires it, often children will have to significantly damage their education as they are forced to spend their days going back and forth to these springs if their family is not able to survive without it. Even in the more fortunate cases where the children can afford to go to school, their time before and after class is often spent carrying water - imagine how you would perform turning up to class exhausted. The gravity water systems branch out as far as the pressure will sustain it, often reaching many villages with one source and having a huge impact on these children, drastically reducing the time and energy spent on their water duties. This lets them attend school or focus on homework, or just play with friends for a while - like any of us would expect our children to be able to.

 

Not a one-off. It is nearly always children of primary school age that are tasked with carrying water great distances to their homes.

Not a one-off. It is nearly always children of primary school age that are tasked with carrying water great distances to their homes.

Walking these systems gave me the opportunity to not only understand the scale of the work that they have completed, but to also meet with the communities that have benefitted from their presence in Uganda. I trekked the pipelines with Dixon, the AES foreman, and was pleased to see that people in the villages recognised him as part of the AES team and was quick to thank him for the work they had done - they are clearly making a lasting difference.

I was also there for the completion of the latrine block you see behind the photo at the top of the page, the quality of construction was excellent, and the facility that this would provide the local primary school was of great importance. A wash bay for the girls, eight latrine bays, a urinal for the boys, and a rain water collection system feeding a tank to wash their hands. It's a given for most of us reading this, but before this was in place, the 600 children that attended this primary school had to deal with a shockingly unsanitary environment and disease could spread through the students like wildfire. It is no exaggeration to say that AES has saved many children's education, and with sanitary projects as pictured, makes sure that they are safe and healthy in their time at school.

Please consider donating anything at all, I have witnessed first-hand the absolutely frugal nature of the charity, and just how far they can stretch a dollar to tangibly improve peoples lives. In a token of appreciation we offer donators their own choice of custom flair next to their alias in our community, as a small thanks for being so kind and supporting these friends of The Whole Car. 

Thank you so much for your generosity.

 

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