Ugandan children carrying water


The problem?

In Uganda, like most of sub-Saharan Africa, women and children's days often begin with the drudgery that is fetching water. Before starting the mile long walk to school, Frances is up before sunrise carrying a 20-liter jerry can weighing 44 pounds on her head, gathering water for her family. Before Brick by Brick partnered with her primary school, she would arrive with her classmates, and be sent off again to fetch water for the school. Day after day, year after year, precious class time is lost due to the lack of access to clean water. Sub-saharan Africans spend about 40 billion hours per year collecting water. That's equal to the work performed by the entire nation of France! This burden, which is carried disproportionately by women and girls, is more than a waste of time. While walking miles on remote rural paths to collect water, women and girls are especially vulnerable to rape and other acts of sexual harassment and violence.

Every year 1.6 million people die around the world due to diarrheal illness. In the time it will take you to read this newsletter 12 human beings, mostly children will have died, not from some mysterious or hard to treat disease but simply due to the lack of access to clean and safe water and sanitation. 1.1 billion people and over half the world's primary schools around the world lack this access. How is it possible that this problem has gone unsolved year after year, decade after decade, not for the lack of a solution but rather that of political will and smartly invested resources.

Brick by Brick is determined to be a part of the solution.

Since we began our work in 2004 in the Rakai District of Uganda, we have been focused on providing access to safe and clean water to our partnering communities. In everyone of the six universal primary schools that we have rebuilt we have constructed rainwater harvesting systems that ensure adequate clean water for all students and teachers. In partnership with the Peace Corp and other Ugandan NGOs, our social enterprise, Brick by Brick Construction Company has built over 90 such systems throughout Uganda, providing clean water for 100,000 people throughout the country. A 30,000 liter rainwater harvesting tank, which can provide adequate water for a school community costs $2,000. Now the good news.... if well maintained our rainwater tanks have a life span of 30 years or more, that's 18 cents per day to provide water for 500 students! 

What can you do to guarantee clean water as a human right?

Over 12 million people in Uganda lack access to clean, safe water, so we still have a way to go. Brick by Brick is nothing without our powerful partners both in Uganda and here in the U.S. So here are a few ideas:

  • Throw a Water Party Fundraiser with a goal of raising enough money for Brick by Brick to build a rainwater harvesting tank. You can save money by serving clean, cold water as your beverage of choice!
  • Start a Crowd Sourcing project to provide clean water for an entire school of 500 students. We can provide pictures and great stories to get you started.
  • You can partner with us in ensuring access to clean water for all children by clicking DONATE

Frances draws clean water from a Brick by Brick rainwater harvesting tank

For more information on how you can partner with Brick by Brick e-mail us at:

And please share this great news on social media by clicking below:

Brick by Brick 3rd Annual Board Retreat

Brick by Brick Board Chair Adam Rabinovitch leads retreat Brick by Brick's Board of Directors met this past Sunday for its 3rd Annual Board Retreat. Over the past three years Brick by Brick has invested time and energy in attracting an active and dedicated board. Led by Board Chair Adam Rabinovitch, this year's retreat focused on re-thinking the way we communicate our work and mission. Brick by Brick has been engaged in innovative projects that challenge the traditional way non-profits work in the world of development. How can we most effectively tell our story in a way that will expand our community of supporters? The board also worked on developing a new volunteer program that will expand our work, while providing an opportunity for us to partner with members of our community who share our passion for sustainable change in the developing world.

2nd Annual Blues Night: What a Night!!

Bobby Kyle Blues Band: Featuring Joel Perry Over 100 of Brick by Brick's community of partners danced the night away, celebrating our 10th anniversary. Co-founder Michael Greene was the surprise guest of honor, as Executive Director Marc Sklar spoke of his decade of service for the children of Uganda. R & B singer Booby Hardin shook the Prospect Park Picnic House to its core and had most of our guests showing off their best dancing moves.

While great music, good food and friendship were the main themes of the evening, Brick by Brick's mission of innovative service was also front and center, as our Board Chair Adam Rabinovitch thanked our guests for their commitment, while inviting them to expand their partnership with numerous volunteer opportunities.

By Friday morning we were already beginning work on next year's Blues Night, stay tuned!!

Young Brick by Brick Supporter

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

In 2009, Chessa Forer was a member of a team of eight teachers who traveled to Uganda to work collaboratively with their Ugandan colleagues. Over a two-week intensive workshop led by Bank Street College faculty member, Ginny O'Hare, teachers from both countries learned innovative techniques to improve the quality of teaching and learning at each of our five primary schools.

Returning to New York, where she teaches at the Chapin School in Manhattan, Chessa wanted to continue to contribute to the children she came to know and love. Through her art, she has found a way. Chessa recently sold four of her beautiful photographs and donated the proceeds, $600 to Positive Planet. Chessa, your photographs are made even more beautiful by your generous gift. As we say in Uganda:

Webale-Nyo!! Thank you very much!!

Brick by Brick Program Featured on GlobalGiving

Brick making Positive Planet's Brick by Brick Program is being featured on GlobalGiving, check it out by clicking on this link to GlobalGiving.

The program trains local masons to operate eco-friendly brick press machines which will displace polluting kilns, developing job opportunities and provide bricks for infrastructure improvements at schools to support education.

Our Facebook Cause: A way to show support for Positive Planet

Now that we're on Facebook, we've gone ahead and set up a Facebook Cause for ourselves (read more about Causes).  If you're on Facebook and want to become an official supporter of the "Help Positive Planet" Cause--which, by the way, does not require any donation--visit this link:

Positive Planet on Facebook Causes (click to visit)

Now, if you are interested in donating money to Positive Planet, Causes make this easy... and you don't have to be on Facebook to donate.  Visit this link to donate to Positive Planet:

We appreciate any help you give, whether it's monetary or simply joining the cause... please tell all your friends that you think may be interested in helping us, too.