Let’s Build A School

Lena Baunsgard, Director of Planet Changer

Nakalado needs a new school.

In this classroom 50 children sit on the dirt floor of an old pig pen to attend classes. There are hundreds of children in this community who attend this school. We at Planet Changer have been a presence in this community for over 10 years, as they were selected as one of the first to receive one of our cistern wells (pictured below still running clean, image taken Feb 22, 2024). We have brought several groups of visitors and they have been extremely hospitable. When the head teacher presented to us their students and their joyful welcome, he also shared their plea, they are long overdue a new school building and latrines for students. This message was echoed by many.

When we entered the newest of their classrooms (presented in image above where I am speaking), I knew it had not changed in the past 4 years since my last visit. I also could see on the teachers faces a fear that my words would be empty. We even visited their dying elder of the community, a man I remembered as having been in better health 4 years ago, and he made the same request, “Build us a school and latrines!”

My friends, the time is now. There is no reason why this community where there are hundreds of healthy children trying to learn, a place where they have had clean water for over a decade, there is no reason why they shouldn’t have a nice school. It doesn’t have to be outrageous or fantastical. It needs to be clean and functional. They need to not sit on dirt floors. They only ask for meager wooden desks, simply and locally made. They deserve chalkboards that are not broken. They deserve lesson books for students (which literally cost $5 a piece). They are asking to demolish the old pig pen their kids are learning in and put up a solid and “modern” structure that can provide protection from rain and empower learning.

Wouldn’t you want this for your children?

Let’s come together and inspire hope for this beautiful community. The teachers work hard. The students desire learning. The families want hope for a better tomorrow. We will soon have the figures available to plan funding, but we are tentatively asking to raise $40k. Together we can get this project started and we can show this community that they are not forgotten.

Giving Tuesday – Make Twice the Impact

Planet Changer has an incredible opportunity with a matching grant to help make twice the impact! All donations through November 29, 2017 will be matched, up to $5,000 for a grand total of $10,000!

When you partner with us financially, you are helping to combat poverty and inspire hope. You are supporting family preservation as well as orphan prevention and trafficking prevention. You are helping the communities we work with directly to make lasting change, allowing them to thrive.  You are helping to save lives.

We need your help to ensure we receive these critical funds. Every donation received will be matched dollar for dollar, so every donation (no matter what size) truly does make a difference.

Thank you for your support and partnership! We could not do this without you.

These are some of the faces that directly benefit from your generosity. Join us to change their reality. Decrease mortality rates while increasing health, education, and opportunity. Thank you!


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Inspiring Hope in Cambodia


cambodiaPlanet Changer is very excited to announce a new partnership with a grassroots movement to inspire hope in villages near Siem Reap, Cambodia!

While our work will continue in Uganda, it has always been Planet Changer’s goal to grow, and inspire hope, when carefully evaluated opportunities that fit our model arise. Cambodia was on the initial prospective list of countries mentioned in Planet Changer’s very first Vision Meeting, nearly seven years ago and before incorporation.

With this new partnership, Planet Changer will help empower villagers to improve their lives and support them in creating lasting change. By partnering in this way, we will be actively engaging in the prevention of human trafficking, promoting family preservation by keeping families together, increasing literacy and education, and eventually offering trade education and business opportunities for villagers.

“In January 2017, two friends (one Khmer, one American) sat down in Siem Reap, Cambodia to share dreams with each other. As it turned out, they had the exact same one: they wanted to build libraries for kids in villages. With the Khmer friend’s knowledge, research, and hard work, and the American friend’s connection to people in the States who wanted to help financially, the first Bamboo Library was opened in June 2017. Libraries #2, #3, and #4 quickly followed in the next few months.

The villagers – kids and adults alike – are thrilled with these beautiful new additions to their villages. Kids are reading and learning and growing, and the libraries have quickly become the most popular place in the village to hang out with friends and learn. We have big dreams for what is next – English classes, vegetable gardens, fish ponds, bamboo farms. And you can be part of it!” – The Cambodia Team

Library 4
The American Friend, and Khmer friend, standing with the Village Chief (in green) where Library 4 is located.

We are honored to partner with the team in Cambodia as they continue to invest in the villages to inspire hope and empower the people to thrive.

Learn more about the Bamboo Libraries, and how you can get involved or how to follow along, here.

Thank you for your continued enthusiasm and support! We appreciate you!

Friends and Clean Water

These are my new friends. In order of their pictures – William, Patience, Jean Luke, Alex in his purple school uniform, Makaledo carrying a large bag of flour on her head, Solomon, Andrew, Oli giving me a “bonga” (fist bump), and finally, Mike and Elisha who desperately wanted to know what my strange skin felt like. These children, and the hundreds of others I have met in the rural farming communities of Uganda, have stolen a large piece of my heart.

As the delegated photographer on this trip, I’ve had the privilege to document the state of natural springs and then turn the camera to these sweet faces who were intensely intrigued in the “Musungu’s” who have wandered into their backyard. Though they are growing up in a whole different world than I did, their infectious joy, endless giggles, whispers to friends, and goofy faces are something that we have in common. Each of these pictures is the result of me saying, “Do a silly face!”

It is easy to forget the reason that we are here while my attention is on them… These kids, and thousands of others, have no other option but to use the unprotected water springs (in the second to last picture) to drink, cook with, and bathe in. Water constantly pours out from the earth but has no other option than to pool up in the dirt where bacteria and parasites breed and dangerous animals come to drink.

Seeing this reality firsthand has made all other things in my life seem strangely dim.

Planet Changer is inspiring hope in these communities by aiding and empowering them to make changes that have a tangible and life-altering impact in the lives of their families. (Protected water spring in last picture) Be part of the movement… Like and follow Planet Changer on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for more updates, or check out our website –planetchanger.org. #waterislife #planetchanger

-Baly Botten


NEPAL Relief


We at Planet Changer, in response to the earthquake devastation in Nepal, are standing with them and are committed to bring emergency aid in response to this disaster. Central Nepal (the Kathmandu Valley) is the worst hit as hundreds of thousands of people have been affected by the 7.8 quake.

The death-toll, which is already at 8400 and climbing, is expected to eclipse 10,000. As buildings and villages have been reduced to rubble, the need for emergency food, water, shelter and medical attention is overwhelming to say the least.

With such sever devastation, rescue/emergency teams are working round the clock to bring in aid. It is already estimated that 1,000,000 children are in areas that have been affected.



We are partnering with two organizations that are on the ground delivering emergency help in the areas of food, water, clothing, shelter and medical care. Through partnering with World Vision and Doctors Without Borders, the Nepalese families will receive emergency and sustainable care from these two organizations that are experts in disaster relief.

The devastation in Nepal is not a quick fix or a short-term problem but will need ongoing help rebuilding, therefore it is our aim to keep working with partners on the ground to help rebuild, revitalize and renew the region.

Thank you for donating to Planet Changer to make a difference in Nepal.

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From Contaminated to Clean


From Contaminated to Clean

by Moses Hategeka,  Planet Changer’s Project Coordinator in Uganda

Planet Changer has done and is continuing to do a phenomenal and amazing work of protecting community water wells, in various communities in Uganda. These projects are enabling hundreds and thousands of residents, to get clean water for the first time in their lives, making them to overcome water borne diseases and saving them from spending many hours scooping water from unprotected well. This is enabling them to get more time for agriculture and for caring for their families , as with piped water, a bucket or jerrycan, which most residents use to collect water, is filled in a minute or less.

This picture shows a woman in Kajarau central, Mukuju Sub County, Tororo district, Eastern Uganda, fetching dirty water from unprotected spring, Kajarau Central Spring, before Planet Changer protected it.


While the two pictures below, shows women in the same community fetching clean water from the now Planet Changer protected Kajarau central spring, expressing joy for getting clean water for the first time in their lives.


The process of  identifying community wells that needs protection, is done by me, Planet Changer’s project coordinator in collaboration with community leaders, water technocrats, and some health staff, to ascertain the viability of the said spring(s). It is important to note that, not all community springs are viable for protection, on our visits, we do assessment, to determine whether the visited spring is viable for protection or not,. At the spring, we ask the community residents to tell us the history of that spring, whether it has history of some times drying especially during dry season or not,. We then assess its water flow and its original ground water sources,. When we are satisfied that the spring ground water source(s) which is/are viable, which is visible through its water flow, and pressure coming from underground, and that it doesn’t dry, we approve it for protection.

This is then followed with I tasking the community chairperson, to mobilize  the community residents, to turn up in large numbers, and clear the way, where vehicles bringing in materials to the site will pass, community residents always turns up in large numbers for this task. Owners of gardens, that leads the way to the springs, always agree, to have their crops, temporarily destroyed, when clearing the way and do replanting of their crops after the vehicles have brought all the materials to the site.

After that, the next task, is bringing in materials to the site. Always, I always bring in hard cores first (big rocky stones) to the site, we buy these hard cores from Osukuru hills, and near Kenyan boarder. These places are the closest source yet very far from grass root communities, where Planet Changer does spring protection, and these raises transportation costs to the spring sites. The picture below shows some community members loading hard cores in a Tipa lorry in Osukuru hills, to be taken to the site.


Below, the first trip of hard cores, arrives at the site, and lorry goes back for more other trips.


After the hard cores, we go for aggregates still in Osukuru hills or Kenyan boarder (small crushed rock stones that we use to mix with cement for making a ground cover slab for a well, where people stand and places their buckets and jerrycans, when fetching piped water from the protected spring)

That is followed with buying of river sand that we get from Malaba, swamp, at the Uganda- Kenya boarder. And then plastering sand.


We then go and purchase bricks from owners. We don’t simply buy any bricks available, we always buy good quality bricks only. This at times, makes us to move around communities looking for good quality bricks, which luckily we always get.


That is followed with purchasing of cement, metallic and plastic water pipes and other materials.


When we are done with purchasing of all the materials required, the community chairperson is informed and calls for a community meeting, where community members are informed to get ready for next day to clear the site to pave way for construction work to begin.

The following day, the community members, turns up in large numbers, with hoes, pangas, slashers, hard stone breakers and other tools and begin clearing the site. Under the direction of project coordinator, masons, and some technical staff, the community is directed how to divert water by digging (creating) water diversion channel and leave a water free area, where people will be drawing water from, as construction is going on.

When the diversion channel is done, they are directed to work on creating a good drainage channel, where water from the pipe falls on concrete slab and then move through and in case there is a near by swamp area, drain through that swamp, and where there is no swamp area, drains up to a very long distance and disappear underground or gets collected at certain point and with time expand and develop into a large pond, water from this/these pond(s) is used by animals especially, pigs, goats, and cows, for drinking.


Community members working on creating a water diversion and drainage channel, as they leave a water free area, to be meanwhile used, as they wait for spring protection to get completed in Kajarau Central, Tororo district

The community involvement also extends to being helpers to the masons and looking for clay that is used for channeling and making the water not to sneak outside the pipe, the clay is also used for covering the hard cores from the soil used back filling the hole of a protected site to level.

Community members ferrying the clay to the site.


When the community members are done with, with the clearing of site, and creating water diversion and drainage channels, some members are directed to mix river sand and cement and then after mixing, put aggregates (small rock stones) and put water and then again mix, this time with aggregates inclusive, the mixture is then put on a wheel barrow and ferried to the exact location where residents will be drawing water from, from a protected source. It is then poured on the ground, and further worked on by the masons, to make a ground concrete cover slab. This is done in the morning, and it is then left the whole day to dry and in the next day, the masons moves in, and embarks on the construction process.




When the construction is done, the structure is left to dry for 72 hours, and some times, it may take slightly more than that.


Construction work is complete and it is now drying. The purpose of the rock pieces around the boarder of the walls, you are seeing in the picture, is to prevent people from sitting and put their water containers on it, this makes it to remain very firm and lasts for very very many years.

When it is fully dry, the local leaders mobilize residents again, to turn up in large numbers and assist the masons. Residents ferries in clay and sand from a near by gardens

NOTE: it is very important to note that, spring/well water, is ground water and once the well is protected, it is free of germs because it is filtered when it seeps through clay, sand, and soil

What then follows is water channeling process that begins with careful piling of clay and hard cores on the pipe area, we cover the pipe below and above areas making sure water moving in between hard cores from the spring water source/s will directly flow through the pipe. There after wards, attention is turned to the spring ground water source(s) (spring eyes); hard cores are then brought in and carefully used to cover these spring water source(s), ensuring that they are not blocked. We do these by surrounding these source(s) with hard cores both sides and place others on top, and medium sized hard cores in the middle, up to a point where water flows directly through the pipe, in a shade like format. We then use clay, to cover small spaces in between hard cores, at this point in time, we block water diversion channel  and make it, to now move in between hard cores, as it moves between hard cores, it is filtered by the sand and soil, and by the time, it flows through the pipe, it is now very clean and free of germs. When clean water flows through the pipe, we then, go on and cover a very big place, with hard cores, followed with, covering these hard cores with clay sand and other soils and level the entire place well, storm waters and animals cannot now in any way negatively affect the spring and people cannot wash their legs in it, since it is now fully protected, and people now draw clean protected water flowing through the pipe.

Masons being assisted by community residents in channeling the water,


Masons covering spaces in between hard cores with clay, before sand and other soil, is powered on top. This is done to make the water from spring source(s) freely move in between hard cores without any blockage. There after, sand and other soils is poured on the top.


Clean water is now free flowing through the pipe.


Community residents with much joy and excitement begins having a taste and fetching clean water for the first time in their lives.


After fully completing the spring, a village committee comprising of eight people are chosen, by their fellow residents, to be responsible for general good of the well, like the periodical cleaning of the drainage channel and surrounding areas, which the entire community participates in. During this time, the residents are also taught how best to make their spring/s stay in very good conditions, like how to practice sustainable farming, in areas surrounding the spring(s), and told never to settle too close or build toilets, in these surrounding areas. We also during this time, do community hygiene and sanitation workshop, where we educate and urge residents, to, always wash hands before collecting and carrying the water, regularly clean water containers where water is stored in the house, clean all the cups that are used for drinking, never to store water in containers that have been used for pesticides or toxic chemicals, among others.

Then the following day, the projects coordinator hands over the spring to the community, that is followed with residents celebrating having clean water for the first time in their lives.


Planet changer projects coordinator receiving a certificate of appreciation on behalf of Planet changer, from joyful area residents of Kasaya East village, in appreciation of an incredible work, planet changer did in their community of protecting their water spring, Kasaya East spring, they now have clean water.


Water is life, people, animals, and plants need water to live and to grow, in most parts of Africa, Uganda inclusive, accessing clean water, is a mirage. Grass root people live in extremely poor conditions depending on dirty water from unprotected springs, that they share with animals, as thus, they are always suffering from water diseases, that put their lives in danger. By protecting their springs, and in the process making them get clean water free of germs, Planet Changer is doing a life transformational work, that is sustainably contributing to improving of health lives of grass root people.

“Before the protection of this spring (Mukuju central spring) I and my children used to get sick very often because of using dirty water from unprotected spring, when planet changer came and protected our spring, we got clean water, which we now joyfully enjoy, my children and I, no longer get sick as we now take clean water from a protected spring, thank you very much planet changer for protecting our spring. May you be abundantly blessed as you and your supporters, continue to positively transform grass root people’s lives”  -Akello Miriam, mother of six children

for centuries and decades, we have been depending on dirty water from unprotected spring, which have always made us suffer from water borne diseases like malaria, dysentery, and many others, with incredible work you have done in our community of protecting our spring, Mukuju central spring, this is no more, we now have clean water, we are indeed very happy for the help PLANET CHANGER, has accorded to us”. – Owino Dismas, the chairperson, Mukuju central.




Moses Hategeka is Planet Changer’s Project Coordinator in Uganda,  and is an independent governance researcher, farmer, public affairs analyst, and writer.

World Food Day

Today is World Food Day.

Did you know:

  • Hunger is the number one killer on earth
  • Nearly 1 in 7 people are chronically hungry
  • Almost all of the world’s undernourished people live in developing countries
  • The food crisis is not because of a lack of food, but is rather due to a lack of access and opportunity
  • Enough food is grown to provide over 4 pounds of food to every person on earth, daily
  • Agriculture has increased its output 17% per person despite population growth

Planet Changer is determined to eradicate hunger, and we are committed to sustainability in all of our projects. This commitment is why we are focusing on water on World Food Day. It is not possible to create sustainable hunger solutions without water. Without water, families are unable to irrigate their crops or care for livestock. Due to contaminated water, they may be too ill to tend to farming duties. Water changes everything. The gift of water is the gift of life. Health is restored, and communities are empowered to create long lasting food plans.

We invite you to invest in our clean water projects as a first step in ensuring communities have a stable food supply. We are protecting springs in Eastern Uganda.

100% of all public donations will go to the project or fund that the donor designates (minus transaction cost, if applicable).   Donate to protect springs in Uganda now


I Am Not For Sale Concert

Planet Changer is partnering with Not For Sale to bring you the I Am Not For Sale Tour: Working to end slavery.

Join us for an evening of live entertainment and activism through music and a multimedia presentation. This Concert is FREE to the public and an inspiring call to action for all who attend. Invite your friends!

Join us, rock out, and connect with NFS representatives who will explain how YOU can make an impact on the modern-day abolitionist movement.

Sunday, September 23 2012. 6:00pm, held at Snoqualmie Valley Alliance.

The Wrecking, a New England Rock Band, is headlining.
Ithaca, a local favorite, is opening.


Spring Protection | Uganda

Planet Changer has been asked by local residents in Eastern Uganda to protect springs, beginning with the Tororo District. This will bring clean water to communities for the first time. Over 40 springs are currently identified.

Only local labor is used during the protection of the spring, and each community is required to be involved with labor and providing locally available materials (sand, stones, etc). Surveys show that community involvement drastically improves the long term success of the project.

The cost to protect each spring ranges from $650-$950 depending on the size of the spring (some springs are large and serve the needs of over 800 people). Each spring protection project offers a sustainable solution for clean water and includes hygiene and sanitation workshops for the community, water testing at the completion of each project, and regular inspections to ensure the integrity of the protected spring.

“Protecting water springs for families in Eastern Uganda, will enable them to begin accessing clean water and thus help them in overcoming various water borne diseases such as malaria, bilharzia, dysentery, among others, which they are currently suffering and which has on several occasions led to death of many people majority being children, as a result of them using dirty water drawn from unprotected community springs which is unfit for human consumption.

Protecting water springs for families in Eastern Uganda, will enable the families to begin accessing clean water within the vicinity of communities where they stay, this is not the case today, as many hundreds of communities lack clean water and therefore have to walk for a distance of over 7 miles if they are to get some how clean water in towns.

Thousands of Pregnant mothers and children in Eastern Uganda, are always sick due to water borne diseases they get from consuming dirty water drawn from unprotected water springs, they are too poor to afford drugs in health centers and their lives are at risk, protecting community water springs for them, will greatly enable them to overcome these diseases and improve their lives.” -Moses Hategeka, Ugandan Farmer and Project Coordinator

Planet Changer invites you to invest in our clean water projects in Uganda. People/families/groups donating $500 or more will receive recognition as special thanks on the completed project. Donors of $100 or more will receive pictures of the completed project, and a copy of the letter of thanks from the receiving community.

100% of all public donations will go to the project or fund that the donor designates (minus transaction cost, if applicable).   Donate to protect springs in Uganda now.

Improved Vegetable Seedlings | Uganda

In March Planet Changer purchased organic vegetable seedlings that were distributed to multiple small-holder farms. These seedlings were an improved variety that can better withstand drought and insects.

Spring is the most favorable season in Uganda for planting vegetables. These seedlings have thus far been highly successful. The plants are growing and producing well. The lives of the farmers have already begun to improve.

“the first round of vegetable seeds that we distributed to the grass root farmers are doing well and  the beneficiaries are full of joy and praise of planet changer help, because with these vegetables, they are affording to meet the nutritional needs of their families in addition to getting some small money through the sell of these vegetables.   since then, many farmers have appealed to me to give them more vegetable seeds and i have been telling them that i tabled their request to planet changer. in the first round, hundreds of farmers in each region were left out as the first round could not purchase enough seeds to cover all of them. In the second round, am proposing that thousand of farmers can be covered.” ~Moses Wiseman, Ugandan Farmer and Planet Project Coordinator

Join Planet Changer in empowering Ugandan Farmers to create sustainable food sources for their families and surrounding communities. $1000 will complete our effort to provide all of the farmers we are currently working with a first round of seedlings.

100% of all public donations will go to the project or fund that the donor designates (minus transaction cost, if applicable).

Donate now.

This is one of the communities that will receive seedlings. Join us in empowering these families to feed their children and implement sustainable hunger solutions for their community. See additional pictures here.