Uganda Breweries Limited (UBL) and WaterAid Uganda (WAU) have partnered to implement a three-year water and sanitation project in Bulangira Town in Kibuku District worth one billion Uganda Shillings equivalent to $2.8 million.
“Bulangira is a challenged town with minimal infrastructure to support social services and limited access to land for water and sanitation services for the underprivileged. When WaterAid alerted us of this situation, we decided to come in to help deliver proper access to clean safe water through our Water of Life programme,” said Julie Adell-Owino, Representative of the EABL Foundation.
The “Bringing Safe Water and Sanitation” project will be implemented in partnership with Sanitation Solutions Group, Bright Technical Services, Kibuku District Local Government and Bulangira Sub-county. The first phase starts this year with a feasibility study and other start-up activities.
“The main objective of the project is to provide sustainable and equitable access to safe water and sanitation to Bulangira small town residents. The project includes construction of a water scheme, institutional latrines, mobilisation of communities on water, sanitation and hygeine (WASH) behavioral change, advocacy and measures to improve the management and coordination capacity of the town authority,” said Spera Atuhairwe, Country Representative, WaterAid Uganda.
In a bid to leverage stakeholder participation ownership and eventual sustainability, Uganda Breweries, the EABL Foundation and WaterAid Uganda organised a one-day start up workshop in Bulangira town to launch the project and ensure ownership, leverage support and commitment to various project outputs by partners in line with the donor expectations.
The majority of people in Bulangira have no access to safe water, with water coverage at 62% compared to the 100% Millennium Development Goal target in Uganda for urban and small towns. This has led to the continued use of unsafe water sources such as springs that are highly contaminated. In addition, the sanitation coverage is low; many residents lack convenient private latrines and residents are forced to practice open defecation. The other challenges faced include increase in housing deficit, poor quality informal structures, inadequate services such as solid waste management, and inadequate financing.
Currently, Bulangira town has only one deep borehole and a spring well serving the entire town of five villages, which has no functional water supply system. The poor households in the small town buy water from vendors for between UGX 200-500 per 20-litre jerry can, depending on whether the season is wet or dry – which is 10 times more expensive than water supplied by the National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC).
In regard to sanitation, residents in Bulangira practice illegal and indiscriminate dumping of solid waste into water sources and small streams hence posing a serious threat to public health and the environment. Construction of latrines by residents is challenged by loose, sandy soil texture, solid rock and a high water table which presents latrine design challenges. All these, coupled with inadequate private sector engagement, poor planning and coordination, exacerbate the water and sanitation problems of Bulangira town.
By Adella Mbabazi