Kaberamaido District in Uganda is a peninsular, surrounded by a water body of Lake Kyoga . People here depend on water from the lake, swamps and open spring wells for domestic use including drinking, meanwhile others get water from boreholes which are mainly located in schools.
The prevalence of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene diseases like typhoid, bilharzia, dysentery and diarrhea is a huge burden in the rural communities of Kaberamido. Approximately 80% of childhood diseases in the District are related to poor water, sanitation and hygiene.
Evidently, WASH is the foundational sector for other development agenda and people’s well-being in general. Unfortunately, the burden of poor WASH in Kaberamaido falls on almost the entire communities because of lack of awareness, service provision and delivery.
Access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene practices are vital components of sustainable development and the alleviation of poverty. Reliable WASH will contribute towards development by positively impacting on health and wellbeing of people thereby improving their productivity and livelihood.
For children of school going age, WASH is a major facilitator of learning and its influence on Education is unquestionable.
Although much of hygiene focus is placed on hand washing, several other aspects of hygiene also still need to be addressed amongst households, institutions and public places. These include the proper use and cleanliness of sanitation facilities, ensuring safe water chain, proper handling of food, maintaining cleanliness around the homesteads, personal hygiene and community hygiene.
The activities of WASH initiative are based on programs that POPOW engages in. These include, rehabilitating broken boreholes and protecting open spring-wells, providing water filters for schools and households, constructing water harvesters and constructing drain-able latrines in schools.
Gender Mainstreaming in the WASH initiative
Women and young girls in Kaberamaido are responsible for walking the long distances to collect water for their families. These water sources are spread far apart with an approximate distance of between 1- 6 km. A distant water supply can be a danger to women’s safety, and it can prevent the girl-child from attending school.
Gender-related inequalities and disparities disproportionately compromise the health of women and girls and, in turn, affect families and communities.
POPOW focuses on involving men, women, girls and boys in mobilizing, planning, implementing and sustaining water,sanitation and hygiene service delivery in their communities.
How we do this:
- Increasing meaningful participation of women and girls in the planning, design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of health programs
- Engaging school-going children as change agents for WASH behavior-change initiatives in schools and communities
- Gender equity Water Source Committee whose roles are to protect the water sources, promote Hygiene and Sanitation in homes and water points
Community-focused sanitation and hygiene education
POPOW’s focus in sanitation programming in rural communities is the use of the Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) and Participatory Hygiene and Sanitation transformation (PHAST) approaches. These are Sanitation and Hygiene promotional tactics with wide spread impact given their participatory nature. This includes other structures such as School health Clubs, School Management Committees (SMC), and Village Health Teams (VHT)
Access to Clean and Safe water
Rehabilitation of water sources
POPOW employs appropriate technologies in fixing water sources contextualized to effectively benefit communities. Where adequate catchment area is available the project constructs rain water harvesters.
Key among the preventive water quality measures is the aspect of Water-Safety Planning (WSP). Provision of technical support for water quality testing and monitoring and the formulation of mitigation actions forms part of WASH programming.
What we found
Ceramic water filters for Schools and Households
Between 2016 and 2018 POPOW has provided life skills through vocational skills training, group dynamics, music, dance and drama, games and sports, to 7883 youth. This is aimed at building their abilities for adaptive and positive behavior that enable them to deal effectively with their demands and challenges of life. These skills have aided them to develop into active and productive members of their communities.