Increased access to clean water could improve gender equality

By Edwin Muhumuza

Women representatives of UN Member States and civil society organizations say without access to clean water, there is no gender equality. This as they gathered in New York at the sidelines of the 63rd Session on the Commission on the Status of Women.

They say that majority of rural women do not have the right to access to clean water and that generally it is women who have to walk miles looking for water.

Hon. Jacquiline Amongin, noted that rural women are highly vulnerable due to social prejudices that deny them their human right to access water.

“Women are subjected to discrimination, sexual and physical violence due to WASH related factors especially when they walk long distances looking for water,” Amongin said adding that “women fail to relate to their domestic chores effectively because they are overwhelmed with long distance water points.”

This was during her presentation, on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), a parliamentarian’s perspective in strengthening gender equality, Amongin told the delegates that as a way of addressing these challenges, in 2012, the Uganda Parliamentary Forum on Water and Sanitation (UPF-WASH) was formed to raise awareness and advocate for water and sanitation related aspects.

To this end she said, the Forum has influenced budgetary allocations to the district water and sanitation conditional grant to address the needs of women and girls.

Amongin explained that there is a strong linkage between access to water, sanitation and hygiene, and gender equality; and that focus should therefore be put on promotion of gender equality and women empowerment by ensuring convenient access to water and sanitation facilities.

Hon.Immaculata Raphael representing Tanzania and who is the Head National Water Sanitation Development Programme in Tanzania, explained that access to WASH and healthcare facilities leads to better health outcomes for women and children, adding that when women are healthier they have more opportunities to invest time into income generating activities.

Experiences from Colombia, Zambia and Niger demonstrated to the idea that access to water, sanitation and hygiene was a pathway to gender equality.

Honourable Alex Ndeezi, a Member of Parliament from Uganda representing persons with disabilities, was quick to note that water and sanitation related aspects had not been given the due attention it needed during the ongoing women’s conference.

“The main programme of this year’s session on the Commission on the Status of Women does not adequately capture water, sanitation and related issues and yet we believe that without promoting WASH issues, it is impossible to attain gender equity. It is also impossible to enhance welfare of women, especially rural women, if access to water is not a priority,” he explained.

The legislator recommended that the next session on the Commission of the Status of Women should prioritise access to water and sanitation in its agenda.

The 63 rd session of the Commission on the Status of Women, taking place at the UN headquarters in New York, has been meeting under the theme, social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.

UNICEF partners with Korean Agency to avail safe water in Karamoja

By Deo Wasswa

UNICEF and Korea International Cooperation Agency have signed a partnership to scale up water, sanitation and hygiene services in seven districts of Kalamoja.

The five year programme, worth 10 million US dollars will commence from May 2018 to 2022 and targeting to benefit over 56000 children   in 100 government aided schools and in communities.

The project will include, construction of infrastructure such as solar pipe water systems, rehabilitation of non functional boreholes, construction of latrines with hand washing facilities among others.

Speaking at the signing of the agreement, Doreen Mulenga, the UNICEF representative in Uganda has noted that open defecation among Karamajongs is still contributing to poor hygiene in this region and she is hopefully that building latrines will help to bring the practice to an end.

Other interventions of the project will include, provision of life skills education for girls, including menstrual hygiene management, social mobilization campaign to accelerate positive behavior change among the individuals and broader social  change among communities and district level advocacy.

Hospital suffers a water crisis for 15 years, authorities were forced to lock the toilets

Bududa hospital hasn’t had clean water supply for the last 15 years URN  has learnt. Issa Ngati Bukoma, the Bududa District Water Engineer, says the Water Pump Station, which used to serve the hospital since it was built in 1960s become idle due to the low water level in River Tsutsu,

He says some people took advantage of the situation and stole vital parts from the pump making it dysfunctional. Dr. Imelda Tumuhaire, the Medical Superintendent Bududa Hospital, says the water crisis compelled them to lock toilets, which compromises the hygiene in the facility.

According to Tumuhaire, they have made several pleas to the authorities to address the water crisis in vain. Currently, patients and their attendants trek long distances in search of water for use at the facility.
Some of the patients and their attendants interviewed by URN said they find difficulties to answer nature’s call since the hospital has locked off toilets citing the water crisis. Our reporter saw polythene bags used by some patients and their attendants to answer nature’s call.

Bison Nasha, one of the residents says currently patients; their attendants and hospital staff rely on unprotected water springs at the banks of river Tsustu in Buwamboka village in Manafwa district.

He says the situation worsens during the dry seasons when the water level in the springs reduces. John Wamono, the Buwamboka Village chairperson, says the situation is so demeaning given the fact that patients now depend on water from unprotected springs, which is contaminated with human waste. According to Wamono, residents bath in the springs at night.

Wilson Watila, the Bududa District LC 5 Chairperson, says the water pump station is irreparable because they can’t get some of the parts on the open market since the pump is old model. Stanley Watenga, the Principle Engineer in the Water Ministry, says they will utilize the money meant for installing new water tanks at the hospital to repair the old tanks and make new water connections.



NWSC aborted water project leaves many in Rwahi stranded

The National Water and Sewerage Corporation-NWSC is on the spot for abandoning the extension of water services to Rwahi Trading centre in Kayonza sub county in Ntungamo district. Rwahi trading center is popular for onion growing.

It is also hosts various institutions among them four primary schools, five churches and a Mosque. In April 2016, NWSC embarked on the extension of water services to Rwahi trading centre. The corporation asked residents to allow them lay pipes through their land.

In some areas the pipes were laid. However, the employees of NWSC withdrew from the project under unclear circumstances leaving more than 1000 residents who had applied for the water stranded. Currently, residents depend on a single shallow well and dug out ponds for water.

James Tumukunde operates a restaurant in Rwahi Trading center.
According to Tumukunde, they were excited when NWSC embarked on the extension of water services to the area. He however, says to his disappointment NWSC abandoned the project without any communication to the intended beneficiaries.

Loyda Mashemere, a resident along Nyamiyaga road in Rwahi trading center, says at the start of the project they were told they would have piped water by June but to date nothing is on the ground. Stephen Sabit, the LC II chairperson Katooma Parish, says the only two water wells that were serving the community broken down.

Ely Niwandinda, the Health Assistant Kayonza Sub County, says the situation in Rwahi trading center is pathetic. According to Niwandinda, residents have no option but to struggle for the little unsafe water available.

Niwandinda says they have been engaging NWSC to resume the works.

Nicholas Asiimwe Mwamba, the Kayonza sub county LC 3 chairperson, says the issue of water in Rwahi trading center and the neighboring areas is a serious challenge.

Barnabas Musimenta, the NWSC technical advisor Muhanga branch, says the Rwahi water project hasn’t been abandoned. According to Musimenta, NWSC suspended the works after realizing they need a booster pump to serve the new clients.

Musimenta says work will resume when they receive the booster pump from NWSC headquarters probably before the festive season.






NWSC employees survive being lynched Kabale

National Water and Sewerage Corporation-NWSC is feuding with residents of Kamwezi Sub County in Kabale district over five gravity water flow schemes. The gravity water flow schemes are found in Kyogo, Kyabuhangwa, Kashekye, Rwenyangye and Kigara parishes.
The schemes were established by World Vision, a nongovernmental organisation in 2000 to help communities access safe water. Last month, NWSC took over the schemes in a Shillings 500 million project with authorisation from the sub county leadership.

The move drew angry protests from residents saying they were not consulted before the decision to hand over the schemes to the water body was reached. They are demanding compensation from NWSC installs pipes through their land.

Last week, a team of NWSC officials from Kabale who had gone to survey the route for laying the pipes in Kyabuhangwa parish narrowly survived being lynched by residents. Patrick Kamaniini, a resident of Kyabuhangwa Parish, says that he just saw people from NWSC with machines surveying his land without his permission.

According to Kamaniini, NWSC has to first compensate them before installing pipes on their land. Augustine Twabakazi, a resident of Kyigara parish says he is opposed to the takeover of the schemes because NWSC has a record for overcharging their customers.

Twabakazi says that they are comfortable with the Shillings 2000 they have been paying monthly for maintaining the scheme, insisting that there is no reason why NWSC should interfere with that arrangement. Kedres Turiburahe, a resident of Rwenyangi parish, says they were not sensitized about the takeover of the schemes.

However, Tedson Niwagaba, the Kamwezi Sub county LC III chairperson says they asked NWSC to take over the schemes because they had broken down and need to be upgraded. According to Niwagaba, sub county authorities petitioned government to take over the Gravity water flow schemes last year after registering several cases of water borne diseases like typhoid and Diarrhea resulting from the consumption of unsafe water.

Lenny Otai, the Kabale area Manager NWSC, saying it is only a small portion of the community opposed to the takeover because of ignorance. He however, says they will continue with the planned work, since the sub county authorities are the ones that requested NWSC to take over the schemes. He says once they complete installing the pipes, they will sit down with all stakeholders to discuss the costs of water.


Stock enough water- NWSC

By Patricia Osman

Kampala residents are being advised to stock enough water and use it sparingly as water supply will tomorrow be interrupted. Uganda’s national water utility the National Water and Sewerage Corporation warns that water supply in the capital will be  interrupted tomorrow Saturday the 11th of June 2016.

This development follows a planned power shut down by Umeme at the NWSC Gaba sub-station from 8am to 5pm as Umeme engineers will be carrying out works to improve power supply at the stations. Officials at the NWSC say the entire Kampala water service area will be affected for the whole day.

This is what will happen if you don’t wash your hair

Here, nine surprising things that just might happen if you do.

1. You hair will probably be less greasy. Sure, the first two weeks may be a little bit rough, but eventually, your hair will stop producing quite as many oils (to compensate for the dryness caused by shampoo) and will, in turn, appear more lustrous and shiny. See, even old hair follicles can learn new tricks.

2. But it might smell gross. Over the days and weeks, your tresses will definitely pick up the smells of the world around you. (Note: Campfires and fish dinners do not pair well.) To keep it from being truly disgusting, wash hair regularly with water and try a once-weekly baking soda and apple cider vinegar rinse.

3. You’ll have fewer split ends. Less washing means less agitated cuticles. You do the math.

4. And more body and bounce. Some shampoos strip natural oils from your hair and replace them with chemical moisturizers, which can actually reduce thickness and body over time.

5. Unless you have fine hair. Unfortunately, natural oils + fine hair = limp locks. You can still go without shampooing every day–but you’ll need to wash hair more frequently to make it work.

6. Your color should last longer. Color damage is caused by repeat washings. It’s as simple as that.

7. It’ll be easier to braid and style. You know how super-clean hair kinda slips through your fingers? Consider dirt and grime life’s natural pomade.

8. And your morning routine will be a cinch. No hair washing means no hair drying.

9. But you might feel sad and empty and weird. After a long day, is there any better feeling than hot water pounding on your head? Yeah, there’s a reason we sometimes stay in there for 20 minutes at a time.




Kotido residents suffer water crisis for six months

An acute water crisis has hit Kotido town council in Kotido district. The town council has gone without stable water supply for the last six months following the breakdown of the generator that powers the water plant.
The water crisis has pushed water vendors into brisk business. A 20 liter Jerrycan of water now goes for between Shillings 1,000 to 2,000. Residents fear that the water crisis could trigger a serious disease outbreak as some residents now stay for days without water.

A business woman, who identified herself as Albina, says they are finding it difficult to even get water to bath their children when they are going to school.

Another, woman Joyce Nambuya, says the water crisis is real.

Maxwell Ariko, the acting Town Clerk Kotido, says supply will be restored soon. Paul Okedi, the Kotido District Water Officer, says the power fault is being handled. He says the water crisis has reached an alarming level forcing most families to seek water in dry rivers.

On Tuesday, the World celebrated the water day under the theme, “Water and Jobs” with the aims of raising standards on how clean water can change the lives of workers, and even transform entire societies and economies.