Uganda receives an average of 42,000 new refugees every month. Amongst their most urgent needs is access to clean water and sanitation. This is critically important for their health and survival.
ACORD in collaboration with HEKS and the Swiss Solidarity Fund has initiated a water and sanitation project to address the increasing demand from the refugee population in Bidibidi settlement, West Nile, Northern Uganda.
The objective of the project is to increase access to safe water, improved sanitation and hygiene among 21,382 South Sudanese refugees and 6,415 host community members in Bidibidi settlement zone 4 and 5, by April 2018.
The project will increase access to and use of safe water among both the refugees and the host community populations, aiming to increase the share of people that have access to the required 20 litres of water per day. It will also reduce the time spent on fetching water, targeting water collection time of 30 minutes per round trip including queuing. Moreover the project will provide access to soap and water handwashing facility to prevent diseases and ensure such sanitation facilities are available to all members of the households, including men and women, girls and boys, the elderly and the disabled. To achieve this, the project will promote knowledge, attitudes and practices in relation to basic hygiene and sanitation.
Accessible and adequate water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) interventions have positive effects on education. According to the UN Refugee Agency, 42% of children attending school in a Uganda refugee camp had their schooling interrupted by water collection. WASH interventions will also contribute to protection since long distances to water points can put women and girls at risk of sexual violence. It will also enhance nutrition since women refugees otherwise spend much of their limited energy intake to carry water and carry it home. Better access to water frees up their time to pursue productive activities instead and can in turn enhance the food security of the entire family.
The specific interventions in the ACORD- HEKS-EPER project include:
- Drilling of 6 boreholes, installation of hand pumps and rehabilitation of 7 broken hand pumps.
- Construction of 2 large-scale solar powered hybrid production wells.
- Training and equipping 8 water user committees and 16 settlement level pump mechanics for ensuring proper operational maintenance of the water sources.
- Providing latrine construction tool kits (1 shovel, 1 pick axe, 1 metallic bucket, 1 concrete Slab) to 300 households and hand washing facilities to 500 people with special needs households.
- Supporting construction of 10 communal ventilated improved lined pit latrines and showers and 10 household latrines for people with special needs.
- Identify and provide Cash for Work for both refugees and host community around WASH activities, for excavating piped water trenches, rubbish pits and communal latrine pits.
- Reproducing and dissemination appropriate information, education and communication materials.
- Conducting 4 “edutainment” events for sensitization on sanitation, hygiene, gender and conflict.
- Training Hygiene promoters on sanitation & hygiene promotion methodologies and on implementation & monitoring of community public health improvement plans.
ACORD’s response to the refugee situation is built on the Ugandan Refugee and Host Community Empowerment Strategy (Re HoPE) which emphasizes equity in service provision for the refugees as well as the host community. In its work ACORD Uganda also gives due attention to the importance of integrating gender responsiveness, women’s empowerment and peaceful coexistence.
ACORD would like to do so much more to assist the Ugandan government and the host communities to continue to welcome people seeking refuge in Uganda. We have the expertise, connections and necessary network to provide rapid and quality response. What is needed is additional resources as currently requested by the Uganda Government and the United Nations during the Uganda Solidarity Summit.
Please reach out to ACORD in Uganda if you want to partner with us and support our refugee response.
Read more about ACORD's refugee response: Life saving sexual and reproductive health services