Uganda’s national safe water coverage and functionality in rural areas stands at 69% and 85% respectively. In urban areas, 79% of the population can access and use improved drinking water sources. Access to safely managed water in urban areas is, however, still low at 57.2%
Access to some form of sanitation in rural areas is 77.2% whereas in urban areas it is 87.9%. Unfortunately, only 7.1% of the rural population is using safely managed sanitation compared to 42.8% in urban areas. Additionally, 22.9% of the rural population practices open defecation while for urban areas, this is 12.1%.
Inadequate financing and capacity gaps are the major challenges hindering universal access to WASH.
About WASH Alliance Uganda
The goal of the Uganda WASH Alliance is to contribute to increased and sustained access to and use of safe water and sanitation services and improved hygiene practices.
The WASH SDG Programme in Uganda consists of the Uganda WASH Alliance sub-programme and Uganda Kamuli Buyende and Nebbi sub-programme, implemented by Plan Uganda. The Uganda WASH Alliance is in the lead in Uganda. Plan Uganda and the Uganda WASH Alliance will implement separate sub-programmes, and learn together on national level. We will focus on the Uganda WASH Alliance sub-programme in Agago.
For the Uganda WASH Alliance sub-programme, the following partners will be involved in implementation in Agago district as part of the Agago sub-catchment: Simavi (Lead), Amref Flying Doctors, Aidenvironment/RAIN, Hivos/RUAF, IRC, Practica, Agency for Sustainable Rural Transformation (AFSRT), Health through Water and Sanitation (HEWASA), Joint Effort to Save the Environment (JESE), Network for Water and Sanitation Uganda (NETWAS Uganda) and Water and Sanitation Entrepreneurs Association Uganda (WASEU).
- Facilitating behavioural change at community and household levels.
- Improving WASH service provision by facilitating the creation of a functional WASH market.
- Improving WASH governance and thereby creating an enabling environment for access to WASH.
Implementation of interventions to achieve the three strategic objectives is done by a consortium of 5 local and 6 Dutch partner organizations. Presently, the Uganda WASH Alliance is implementing the WASH SDG programme – a WASH Alliance sub-programme in the Agago district in Northern Uganda. Implementation started in July 2018 and the sub-programme will be entering its second phase from July 2020 to September 2022. During the first implementation phase, achievements have been registered in increased access to sanitation through behaviour change, creation of associations of WASH entrepreneurs and increased engagement of the public sector for better WASH governance.
Activity per Pathway
• Create awareness of on inclusive WASH needs, rights by community members and leaders through:
• Mobilizing and training grassroots community WASH structures, community dialogue meetings, Promote community-wide ideal (WASH) homesteads through CLTS-plus (CLTS, exemplary leadership, sanitation countdown, HH clustering and support rural sanitation marketing) to foster inclusive WASH at household & community level .
• Build capacity of community members and structures in inclusive WASH mainstreaming
• Trigger community investment in improved WASH services
• Strengthen community advocacy and engagement in inclusive WASH services
• WASH knowledge sharing, documentation and dissemination
WASH Service provision
• Work on access to WASH financing services
• Business development and marketing support for local WASH enterprises.
• Work on availability of appropriate technologies and WASH product design including demonstrations of innovative technologies.
• Work on standards and product certification to ensure quality and safety of WASH products and services.
• Work on evidence based lobby & advocacy to ensure the local government is aware about the WASH issues in the communities
• Budget tracking, analysis and research to ensure the local government is budgeting for WASH
• Capacity building, learning and knowledge management with partners and with the local government
• CVR/IWRM, expected to lead to better decision-making processes and planning for sustainable water management
Achievements so far
There is increased awareness and demand for improved WASH in the communities where the programme is working: households are investing in latrine construction and schools are planning on fund required for operation and maintenance of WASH facilities, e.g. they have been able to raise funds for pit emptying. The programme has formed clusters of approximately 10 household, which together are promoting and improving sanitation and hygiene standards.
In the spirit of strengthening WASH service provision, the number WASH entrepreneurs has increased, these have been profiled and trained through business development support and mentorship. This has contributed to increased outreach and quality of WASH products and services, particularly in peri-urban and rural areas.
There is a significant increase in the participation of women, special needs persons and children in planning and decision making for sanitation from July 2019 to date. Across the target 100 villages the programme is working, women are leading in sanitation promotion activities at homes and in clusters, which demonstrates leadership in WASH. They are involved in constructing pit latrines, gathering construction materials, constructing handwashing facilities, drying racks for utensils and refuse pits. In schools, the girls are the majority in the school health clubs and they are engaged in health awareness & promotional activities.