On September 30th and October 1st, the national 5th National Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Civil Society Forum was by the Ugandan Water and Sanitation Network (UWASNET) at the Africana Hotel, in Kampala. The Director for Water Resource Management remarked how encouraged he was that CSOs were discussing integrated planning, governance, universal coverage, policy shifts, exploring different technologies, open defecation, O&M and community sensitization.
During the forum the Ministry of Water and Environment (MWE) presentation highlighted major challenges and issues needing policy dialogue:
- Limited harmonization in the implementation of the critical guidelines and Operations & Maintenance (O&M) plans at the district level
- Proposed NGO Bill some of whose requirements may constrain CSO operations e.g. annual registration
- Increasing the O&M budget to sustain constructed water infrastructure and support preventative maintenance.
- Financial and human resource deployment against the increasing number of districts and municipalities.
Core to The Water Trust’s (TWT) programming approach is the support and focus on the sustainability and long term operations and maintenance of water points. Functionality is a Golden Indicator for the MWE and a Key Performance Indicator for TWT. We monitor functionality as part of our 7-year mobile monitoring program. TWT stands out as a high performer in the operations and maintenance of shallow hand dug wells. In Fiscal Year 2015, our functionality rate was at 96%, while the Ugandan government target is 90%. The Ugandan government in 2013/2014 had a functionality rate of 84% in rural areas.
TWT has already adopted strategies raised by the MWE. For example, in 2009 there were about 80 districts in Uganda, today there are 111 districts. Masindi district incorporated Kiryandongo District in 2008, but was a separate district by 2010. By 2013 the TWT Kiryandongo Office was opened to efficiently coordinate and support communities. Local presence and representation with the District Office ensures there is support to communities and that TWT is engaging existing systems. For example, in FY 2016, TWT is working with communities and Kiryandongo District Water Office and Health Office to build water points in health facilities that have no accessible clean water source.
Other Examples of TWT and Government Coordination
- Since inception TWT has informed the local government when it puts in a new water point or rehabilitates an old one. Through the district reporting system all TWT water points are assigned an official District Water Office number.
- TWT tests all boreholes as required by government regulation.
- This year TWT coordinated it’s planning of targets by engaging with the District Water Officer, the District Education Officer and District Health Officer to identify gaps in schools (latrines) and health facilities (boreholes).
- TWT shares all WASH findings and information with the District Water Officer (DWO) and Chief Administrative Officer. For example during the visit of the Director of Programs in July, TWT shared its findings of failed boreholes in schools with the executive office and DWO. TWT highlighted the on-going issue of galvanized corrosion, already a known issue on the national level. By bringing it to the local level, TWT is helping government identify the problem and suggesting solutions.
- TWT is advocating to with local government to increase the budget for the Operations and Maintenance of pumps and to push for change in the guidelines of the standard pump. TWT and the local government are considering a joint review of schools in order to understand the scope of the corrosion issues for boreholes in Masindi District and help the government understand how current guidelines may be inappropriate. (Uganda uses India Mark 2 with galvanized iron pipes as its standard Borehole Pump).
- TWT participates in the National Working Group (based in Kampala) for Operations and Maintenance of water points.
- Good sanitation and health is addressed by engaging the support of the Community Health Officers. TWT works with health officers to enforce open defecation free communities.
- TWT trains and supplies Consallen tool kits to Hand Pump Mechanics (HPMs) in the government network of Hand Pump Mechanics. This network is made up of individuals who are trained to fix hand pumps but get paid by communities. TWT taps into an existing network and increases the expertise of the HPMs by training them on the Consallen product. This increases the technical capability of the HPM network rather than creating a new one. This also ensures affordability and accessibility of Hand Pump Mechanics to communities.