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By Elizabeth Wamera, Programme Officer – Country Engagement, Coordination and Membership, WSSCC
The National Consultations in Uganda took place on the 26th July 2016, at the Golf Course Hotel, Nakasero, Kampala. There were 60 participants from various agencies – ministry staff, non-governmental organizations, research institutions, academia and the media. Most of the participants present introduced themselves as members of the WSSCC.
There was a key note technical presentation made by the Chair of the National Sanitation Working Group, also known as the WASH Coalition in Uganda, Eng. Sam Mutono, who indicated the status of WASH in Uganda, what has been done so far and the achievements to date. It was noted in his presentation that 70% of Ugandans still do not have improved sanitation.
The Assistant Commissioner of Health, Head of the Environmental Health Unit and Program Coordinator of GSF, Ms. Julian Kyomuhangi shared the history of GSF in Uganda culminating into an established and expanded Uganda Sanitation Fund (USF), covering 30 districts and targeting an extra eight more districts out of the current 100 districts in Uganda. The USF implementation through the Ministry of Health has now also leveraged funding out of its work, attracting more financing from USAID.
Retired Honorable Minister of Water and Environment in Uganda – Mrs. Maria Mutagamba graced the meeting and inspired the participants to keep on working diligently even though at times the results may not be obvious, but said that there is an effect in the smallest contribution made by the practitioners.
She also highlighted the importance of being a fully engaged and active member of WSSCC. Hon. Mutagamba is synonymous with the developing of the WASH sector in Uganda and establishing the Sector Wide Approach (SWAP) to the WASH Sector, when she served as the Minister. She even shared with the participants how she had to led a demonstration in Johannesburg in South Africa during a meeting to ensure that the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene were considered in the MDGs.
Hon. Mutagamba is revered in the WASH circles globally due to the contribution she has made in the WASH sector nationally and internationally, she is fondly referred to as “Mama WASH Africa” due to her passion for WASH work in Africa. She was recognized by the National Coordinator – Mrs. Jane Nabunnya, as one of the members who had verified and renewed her WSSCC Membership.
The meeting discussed the six propositions presented in detail and recommended that, for WSSCC to become a knowledge hub, there is a need for more action research and partnering with research institutions for evidence generation as well as promoting innovations.
It was also noted that increasing WASH interventions in institutions, especially the schools, health centers and prisons, is critical, especially in Uganda. This is as a result of generated awareness out of a study by the National Sanitation Working Group in late 2015, that indicated that 64% of schools & health centers are without basic sanitation and hygiene facilities in Uganda.