Uganda Sanitation Fund receives US$6 million from WSSCC: 5 year programme will benefit health and the environment

Date: 16th March 2012

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Kumi District, Uganda, 16 March 2012 – The Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) today allocated US$6 million from its Global Sanitation Fund to help more people in Uganda attain safe sanitation and practice good hygiene.

Today at Nyero Sub County’s primary school, located in eastern Uganda, village leaders welcomed Ministers of State, community members and neighbours from surrounding Kumi District for the launch of the Uganda Sanitation Fund.

 According to a report released last week[1] by the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF, 2.5 billion people across the planet – four in ten human beings – are still without access to basic sanitation.  As a result, 1.5 million children under the age of five die each year from sanitation-related diseases such as diarrhoea, which can be prevented. Nearly one in six people have no toilet at all and practice what is referred to as “open defecation”.

In Uganda, 52% of people are without sanitation. The Government of Uganda has recognized that improvements are needed.

“Through the Uganda Sanitation Fund, we are providing the funds needed to boost implementation of Uganda’s sanitation policies and strategies at national and grassroot levels,” said Mark Willis, Programme Manager for WSSCC’s Global Sanitation Fund.

The Uganda Sanitation Fund will target 6,000 villages like Nyero Sub County across fifteen districts in Uganda. In those areas it seeks to impact the lives of up to 3.8 million Ugandans living mostly or entirely without access to good sanitation, many of whom resort to “open defecation”. Building on country strategies, the Fund will work together with civil society organizations and local and national governments. It will focus on using participatory techniques such as Community-Led Total Sanitation to end open defection; on creating a demand for toilets; and on increasing capacities of sanitation service providers to deliver and sustain improved sanitation.

During his opening address at today’s event, the Honourable Minister of State for Health stated, “Uganda cannot achieve real development, if its people, particularly in rural areas, continue to live in unhealthy and unclean surroundings lacking access to safe and proper sanitation and hygiene.”

Note to editors

The Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) is a global multi-stakeholder partnership and membership organization that works to save lives and improve livelihoods. It does so by enhancing collaboration among sector agencies and professionals who are working to improve access for the 2.5 billion people without safe sanitation and the 780 million people without clean drinking water. Through its work, WSSCC contributes to the broader goals of poverty eradication, health and environmental improvement, gender equality and long-term social and economic development. WSSCC has coalitions in 33 countries, members in more than 160 countries, and a Geneva-based Secretariat hosted by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS).

A global fund with national ownership and guidance
As part of the WSSCC, the Global Sanitation Fund has been established to boost expenditure on sanitation and hygiene in countries that meet a strict criterion based on their specific needs and have an existing national sanitation policy and programme which requires further investment. 

The Governments of Australia, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom have contributed to the fund.  In principle and in practice, the GSF respects national leadership, targets poor and unserved communities and expands coverage. The GSF is already actively working in Madagascar, Senegal, Cambodia, Malawi, India and Nepal with several other countries planned in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa in 2012. 

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