Posts tagged ‘sanitation in africa’

July 9, 2014

Uganda: Kitgum District Embarks On Keeping Water Sources Clean

Dan Michael Komakech
July 9, 2014

Kitgum district water department has embarked on a campaign for dismantling boreholes with filthy environs temporary in a bid to let the water users maintain proper hygiene and sanitation around them.

Kitgum district water officer Peter Oryem Okema reveals that the campaign will see the affected boreholes reconnected after their soak pits and fences are erected and environs maintained clean.

He says the motive isn’t ill intended but meant to ensure that water users maintain tidiness and avoid littering the water sources so as to reduce the spread of water and sanitation related diseases in the community.

“It’s quite unfortunate that 90 percent of boreholes in the district are left in a filthy state and hence we shall still continue with the campaign to ensure proper hygiene and promote appropriate rural sanitation and hygiene practices”, says Oryem Peter Okema.

A woman draws water as animals invade the borehole in Oget village Akwang sub county in Kitgum district

A woman draws water as animals invade the borehole in Oget village Akwang sub county in Kitgum district

Oryem Toomoi, the chairperson of Tee-Bil, “A” water source committee (a committees set up to monitor the boreholes and contact hand-pump mechanics if one breaks down) in Oget village in Mura parish in Akwang Sub County attributes the vice to village members who are hesitant to abide by appeals to keep the water source clean.

He also adds that other village members do not restrain their animals leaving them to roam unattended to as they access the water points.

“Some of these village members leave their Pigs, cattle, goats and other animals to drink water at the boreholes and these livestock pollute the water making people prone to water borne relate illnesses”, says Oryem Toomoi.

Peter Oryem Okema faults the village water source committees for being negligent in observing that the water points are kept and maintained clean, and for not sensitizing the community on the importance of personal hygiene and tips for keeping water clean.

He also argues that statistics indicate that communities that do not keep their water points clean have been linked to increased cases of water borne related illnesses that include diarrhea and malaria.

Animals at an unprotected water source in Kitgum district

Animals at an unprotected water source in Kitgum district

The Kitgum district secretary for works and technical services Tabu Geoffrey supports the move saying access to a clean water sources and maintaining cleanliness at the water sources in their vicinity would reduce instances of water borne diseases.

He advises village communities to own the water sources and change attitude of thinking that maintaining, repairs and ensuring cleanliness of the water sources should be done by government.

“Lack of ownership is to blame for the vice because locals think that the responsibility for maintaining the water point lies on government other than the community”

January 9, 2012

Devoid of words. A story of poor latrines told in pictures

Fredrick Mugira
January 09, 2012

Lack of access to safe water and proper sanitation remain critical public health issues worldwide.

Up to 2.6 billion people live without access to effective latrines on the planet earth. This contributes to the prevalent incidence of water-related diseases, which kill a child every 15 seconds.

Clean water and sanitation are essential elements of human development and poverty alleviation, and constitute an indispensable component of primary health care.

In this story, we take you to the southwestern region of Uganda to see for yourself the state of latrines in the poor communities there.

As you will discover in the pictures, families there build dry pit latrines close to their homes. The exact design varies according to local conditions. Some are household latrines, some are communal.

In this story, you will also realize the use of unimproved pit latrines, poor conditions accompanied by bad smells and overflows, and conducive breeding grounds for mosquitoes and flies. This contributes to the widespread incidences of open defecation as people prefer bushes to such latrines.

Do not be surprised to learn that this latrine in Bushenyi district is closed. The torn sack you see there is the latrine’s door.

Any strong wind can easily blow away this latrine in Mwizi Mbarara district. On top of having broken poles inside, a banana tree fell on it weakening it further. Its floor is made of soft wood which can easily break down.

The use of a piece of sack as a door on latrines is common in the region

Even this latrine in Kashari Mbarara has a piece of a sack on its entrance as a door. The latrine can easily be swept away or filled by flood waters

This latrine in Biharwe Mbarara district had no door. It is free entry and exit.

This four stance latrine belongs to a public school in Kashari Mbarara. Instead of toilet papers, pupils use leaves

This six stance latrine also belongs to a public primary school in Kashari Mbarara.

June 24, 2011

Uganda: Pictures to Tell the Dilemma; Adah and Shakira’s Story

Fredrick Mugira
June 24, 2011

Adah and Shakira are all girls aged below 15. They live in Kakatunda Parish in Bukinda Sub County of the mountainous district of Kabale in south western Uganda.

The two girls collect water for their families from a shallow well at least twice a day. They collect water of questionable quality from unprotected surface water source at a great distance from their homes.

Apart from deterring them from collecting sufficient quantities, it wastes their time so sometimes they have to skip school.

This problem is significantly worse during the dry season, when the water table drops, and rivers and shallow wells dry up.

Adah and Shakira's shallow well. It is situated in Ibasyo village, Kakatunda Parish in Bukinda Sub County, about a kilometer from their homes. The water's quality is questionable and the well is unprotected.

This unprotected shallow well often collapses and fills up with soil due to soil erosion which is common in the hilly Kabale district

The girls arrive at the well; they weigh in the mind with thoroughness and care. Do we collect the water or leave it. They also know its quality is questionable.

All the dirt from the hills usually flows into this well. Surprisingly some people in this village do not know that something is wrong. After all, their grandparents had been drinking from these wells and they survived.

Take it or leave it. The girls risk and collect the water. After all they have no option.

It is such unsafe water that kills. In his message to the world during the 2010 World Water Day, the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon lamented that unsafe water kills more people than war plus all other forms of violence combined.

Adah takes home, the water she collected. She is not bothered about the quality of the water she is carrying

Like Adah, many children in Uganda spend hours each day collecting water instead of going to school.

Shakirah carries home the water. She used this water to wash her family’s plates and saucepans

Instead of going to schools, millions of children in rural parts of Uganda spend almost half a day collecting water for their families. Others spend weeks at home suffering from unsafe water-related illness or attending to their parents suffering from unsafe water- related illnesses.

Extension of safe water to such homes would help these children study uninterruptedly, live healthy and became prosperous in future.

April 6, 2011


By Joseph Ngome
Kisumu, Kenya.

KENYA, The disclosure that only four countries in Africa continent have managed to provide better sanitation to their citizens leaves a lot to be desired by all concerns. It’s a great concern because most of the countries on the continent have not reached the goal even to provide adequate quality water to their population.

Now, where do Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, and South Africa that have been accredited to have achieved this feat leave other African states? This was a concern to the participants at the 2011 World Water Day celebrated in Cape Town, South Africa. And it remains a concern that needs some immediate solutions. Sanitation has been given a second deck in most countries notwithstanding the state of water provision in those countries. Some cities and towns have done very little to provide sanitation facilities in most of their institutions, Kenya is included.

Poor sanitation remains a big problem in most slums in urban centers in Africa

Kisumu city in Kenya, for instance, continue to grapple with provision of adequate water to meet the demand of 500,000 residents of the city and thus make sanitation provision a tall order to achieve.

The Kisumu Water and Sewerage Company (KIWASCO), Managing Director, Eng. David Onyango says the city has since embraced the provision of sanitation to town dwellers although sewerage facilities have not received the deserving attention.

French Development Agencies (AFD) gave Kisumu City Council USD 25 million to rehabilitate the water and sewerage systems in the city by the year 2008, he said. The company received USD 562,500 for Phase I completed by 2008 that was to increase water supply and improve sewerage disposal in the city.

The balance of USD 18 million was to be increased by another USD 12.5 million bringing to total USD 37.5 million funds by AFD to Kisumu Municipal Council to complete the remaining phases that includes new pumps and sewerage plant improvement, Eng. Onyango says.
But to-date sanitation still remains a problem in Kisumu city as in other cities across the African continent.

According to World Health Organization (WHO) around 1.1 billion people globally do not have access to improved water supply sources whereas 2.4 billion people do not have access to any type of improved sanitation facility.

About 2 million people die every year due to diarrhoeal diseases; most of them are children less than 5 years of age. The most affected are the populations in developing countries, living in extreme conditions of poverty, normally peri-urban dwellers or rural inhabitants.

Among the main problems which are responsible for this situation are: lack of priority given to the sector, lack of financial resources, lack of sustainability of water supply and sanitation services, poor hygiene behaviours, and inadequate sanitation in public places including hospitals, health centres and schools. As it was found out in Kenya recently, most schools do not have pit latrines let alone toilets. Providing access to sufficient quantities of safe water, the provision of facilities for a sanitary disposal of excreta, and introducing sound hygiene behaviours are of capital importance to reduce the burden of disease caused by these risk factors, according to World health Organization (WHO).

African Development Bank says that these four countries have achieved some Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) but most countries in the South of Sahara have no adequate water and sanitation.

But one fundamental question that comes to people’s mind is: can sanitation be made a human right as it has been done with water as a human right?” UN Habitat in conjunction with some financial institutions including The World Bank plans to provide those facilities in rural and urban and already a sum of USD 21 million shillings have been allocated to ADB to work with.

The Mayor of Cape Town city in South Africa says that a total of 24 million people visit the city annually and the city has the capacity to provide the basin necessities that make the residents of the city live with dignity!

During the 2011 World Water Day event in Cape Town, the Chairperson of African Ministers of Council of Water (AMCOW) said there is no life without water and that water is human right! Perhaps if that motto can be accommodated by all other states and then access to water can be a thing of the past.

However, the provision of water to the Informal sector in Cape Town city in South Africa looks bright according to the Chief Director of Water West Cape Province Mr. Rashid Khan. He said provision of water in South Africa is in three tiers where National Government, Local Government and Municipalities are involved.

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