By Julius Mugaga Tukacungurwa/Umoja Standard.
Kikuube, Bunyoro Sub Region: Created on 1 July 2018 from Hoima with a population of over 400,000 people, Kikuube district has since grappled with a challenge of enforcing the pillar of equitable and clean water, proper sanitation and hygiene due to scramble for the few resources like water.
The June 2020 research by the Ministry of water and Environment Functionality of water source by Technology for Kikuube district indicates that; the protected spring-well functionality stands at 321 and non-functional stand at 0, for Shallow well, 260 are functional and 6 are non-functional, for Deep Bore hole 181 are functional, 50 non- functional where as for Rain Water Tanks, 54 are functional and 3 are non-functional.
basing on the 2020 Ministry of Water and Environment (MWE) MIS Database, of 256 villages surveyed in Kikuube, 85 of them had no water-point and only 171 had.
On Thursday, 27, April, 2023 with guidance from Action Against hunger USA-Uganda Mission – A humanitarian agency implementing the Right to Grow Project in the area, we managed to reach Kasungwa cell where the challenge is at a worrying state.
This is in Butoore Parish, Kyangwali Sub County with over 2000 households and 8000 residents. It has less than five water points but in a worse state in addition to practicing open defeacation which makes the area susceptible to outbreak of diseases like diarrhea, typhoid and others.
Kyomukama Evaline, 35 a mother in this village stated, [As you see, this water is unsafe, when we drink it, we get stomach pain, diarrhea and typhoid because when it rains, our waterpoint is contaminated by flowing water from the neigbourhood. With my fellow mothers, it’s hard for us to fetch water even our children].
The LCI Chairperson, Muhereza Muhumure revealed that the very few water-points they have are not constructed and protected in addition to sharing them with animals.
“To make matters worse these water sources are very far from homesteads, in this, residents cover long distances to access them. This has greatly threatened securing of my residents especially mothers and children”. Said Muhumure.
Meanwhile William Byabasaija, the Parish Chief of Butoore admitted that regardless of efforts to rehabilitate water sources, Kasungwa village has never been catered for. ‘It is only this financial year that we have tried to put some water sources in our budget but it has not been passed’.
“The other challenge we’ve faced is sanitation and hygiene, some residents have not heed to our advice, whenever we tell them to construct latrines, they say, ‘of what use?, if we’re taking poor water”. Said Mr. Byabasaija.
Speaking to Peter Banura, the Kikuube District LCV Chairperson who with his council had an induction exercise funded by Action Against Hunger in partnership with Ministry of Local Government, said that, the major challenge they face is limited water sources and poor sanitation and hygiene due to high population of people living in the Community.
Peter Banura, the Kikuube District LCV Chairperson. Photo by Julius Mugaga Tukacungurwa.
He added that, they are currently facing a big challenge of Hoima Sugar factory that is operating in district and has not gazetted fecal points for own staff hence poor disposal that results into disease like diarrhea and other that later impact on health of residents.
“We have tried to engage, have ordinances within council but it’s an ongoing process. It is not an intervention that can be acted on immediately”. He mentioned.
“That’s why we call upon our implementing partners, development partners to offer a helping hand especially on the element of clean and protect water sources to ensure sanitation in Kikuube’’. He added.
Meanwhile, Mariam Akiror, the Advocacy and Strategic Partnership Coordinator at Action Against Hunger USA-Uganda Mission revealed that under the Right to Grow Project they are implementing in the area with funding from Dutch Government are focusing on improving Water, Sanitation, Hygiene (WASH) and Nutrition security.
Mariam Akiror, the Advocacy and Strategic Partnership Coordinator at Action Against Hunger USA-Uganda Mission addresses press on their interventions in the area. Photo by Julius Mugaga Tukacungurwa.
“Under the Right to Grow Project that aims at reducing stunting among children under five, we will be supporting Butoore Village in Kyangwali Sub County to protect one spring-well that is used by 2000 households with a population of 8000 people. This particular village has severe Water, Sanitation and Hygiene issues, it also has high prevalence of stunting and malnutrition yet it is a food basket”. She stated.
“The priorities under Right to Grow Project for Kikuube are basically nutrition and WASH. Today, we can’t talk about Nutrition without talking about WASH, the community can be well nourished but because of poor Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), they will still fall sick” She added.
She also revealed that under the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), they will be constructing over 50 pit latrines to try to address the challenge of open defecation in Kikuube District that would subject them to water-borne diseases as well conducting community dialogue for mindset change on the WASH and Nutrition components.
Kyarisiima Bella – a Nutrition Officer at Action Against Hunger, Kyangwali Base. Photo by Julius Mugaga Tukacungurwa.
During a visit in the area, Kyarisiima Bella – a Nutrition Officer at Action Against Hunger, Kyangwali base revealed that they had a dialogue with this community in 2022 and from their voices, realized that they will need support about their water source to reduce water-borne diseases and dirty water consumption.
“They told us that the main problem of this water source is because it is open so incase it rains, the water drags the dirt and all other things into it yet it’s the same water they’re drinking, use for cooking, it is not even safe for a pregnant mothers and children as they easily drown.”. Bella stated.
Earlier on, Mr. Patrick Rubangakene– an economist and one of the facilitators at the Induction exercise of Councilors challenged district structures to put emphasis on access to clean water to improve sanitation and hygiene in the area.
He appealed to government to fast tract the review of the National Water Policy and Act to provide for the use, protection and management of water resources and supply.
“We call upon the district leadership to fast tract and come up with ordnance so that we manage the issues of sanitation and hygiene in this district, because once we don’t address issues of Sanitation, we are more prone to water-borne diseases which is a huge burden’’ Mr. Rubangakene said.