Video stories of change from two Ghanaian districts as a result of post-construction interventions.
IRC Ghana has been providing post-construction support to Akatsi North and South Districts in the Volta Region of Ghana as part of the district system strengthening efforts. This intervention is a move towards professionalising the work of area mechanics and equipping them with the necessary skills to perform their tasks more effectively for improved water service delivery.
"In the light of long-term sustainability of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) interventions, post-construction support is critical for continued maintenance and operation of rural water systems," IRC Ghana Country Director, Vida Duti noted.
Through IRC Ghana’s work in Akatsi North and South Districts under the Triple-S project, tools were developed in collaboration with the districts to support post-construction support for water facilities. IRC in collaboration with CWSA, worked with the districts to conduct service monitoring over three years. Following up on the previous work and to ensure that progress is being made to achieve the national target of full coverage by 2025 and the SDG of universal coverage by 2030, IRC Ghana has since 2017 provided the local authorities in the two districts with the tools and technical support to position them to lead in the process.
As part of the post-construction intervention in the two districts, the Akatsi South and North District Assemblies in collaboration with IRC Ghana organised a number of training workshops for area mechanics in the two districts to equip them with the skills and knowledge to undertake installation, uninstallation, repair and maintenance of various types of handpumps in the districts.
Earlier this year, the IRC Ghana documentation team visited selected communities in the two districts to collect and document stories of change and lessons emanating from the intervention. The visit to the two districts took place in February 2020, meeting community members, trained artisans, Water and Sanitation Management Team members and District Assembly staff including District Chief Executives in both districts, conducting community visits and interviews. The team was accompanied by staff of the District Assembly in both districts, helping the team in community entry and translations.
The following three short videos highlight the experiences of change in the lives of communities in the two districts as a result of the post-construction support intervention. They represent examples from real-life about how small but targeted interventions towards local system strengthening can make a difference in the lives of many communities in the districts.
These three short videos reflect the perspectives of the community members, area mechanics and the district authorities, respectively.
They trained us to repair the boreholes for the communities
When they collect revenue from the sale for water, it has most of the times been misapplied
It's government's responsibility to ensure communities have good source of water
This guide covers steps required for engaging effectively with decision-makers; increasing the impact beyond programmatic solutions; and influencing individuals, organisations, policies, regulations, and financing.
IRC and Africa Biodiversity Collaborative Group Members, Conservation International and the Jane Goodall Institute, jointly developed the Freshwater Conservation and WASH Advocacy Strategy Workshop Facilitator's Guide because advocacy is a critical step in enabling integrated freshwater conservation-WASH management and must be closely tied to field-implementation of freshwater management strategies.
The target audience for this manual is development practitioners and advocates who desire a supportive policy environment for integrated freshwater conservation and WASH programming. The guide covers steps required for engaging effectively with decision-makers; increasing the impact beyond programmatic solutions; and influencing individuals, organisations, policies, regulations, and financing.
The Freshwater Conservation and WASH Advocacy Strategy Workshop Guide is comprised of five parts, the main Facilitator's Guide and 4 appendices:
1. Advocacy Strategy Workshop Facilitator's Guide
2. Appendix 1: Advocacy Strategy Workshop PowerPoint Presentation
3. Appendix 2: Country Context Presentation Template
4. Appendix 3: Facilitator Workbook
5. Appendix 4: Participant Workbook
The four-day workshop outlined in the guide is designed to introduce advocacy and provide the rationale for the important role advocacy and influencing play to advance freshwater conservation and WASH at national and sub-national level goals through changes in policies, budgets, and practices.
When using this guide, please use the suggested citation below. For questions about the methodology in the guide, please contact Elynn Walter (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Colleen Sorto (email@example.com).
Suggested Citation: Walter, E., Sorto, C., Edmond, J., Mercurio, S. and Rozenberg, E. 2020. Freshwater Conservation and WASH Advocacy Strategy Workshop: Facilitator's Guide. Washington, DC: Africa Biodiversity Collaborative Group and IRC.
National Development Planning Commission - NDPC in collaboration with IRC and partners is disseminating the findings and is further engaging relevant stakeholders on the stories starting with the launch of the Good Practice for WASH in Ghana booklet.
The Government of Ghana is committed to achieving access to safe water supply and water-related targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. With about 10 years left until the 2030 deadline for the Sustainable Development Goals Agenda, there is an urgent need to identify innovative actions that can help fast-track the delivery of the SDGs.
The National Development Planning Commission in collaboration with IRC embarked on a project to collate and publish ongoing innovative interventions on water and sanitation from selected district assemblies; namely Wassa East, Bongo and Asutifi-North District. Fieldwork was carried out from 18th February to 4th March 2020 to ascertain, assess and interact with developers and beneficiaries of the selected WASH projects. The aim of the exercise was to collate and publish these innovative approaches and interventions for the purpose of sharing experiences and lessons learnt to institutions such as MDAs, MMDAs, private sector and CSOs. The main outputs for the exercise which include website publication on the WASH stories (at both NDPC and IRC websites) together with the final WASH document have been prepared.
As part of the way forward to these publications, the NDPC in collaboration with IRC and partners would disseminate the findings and further engage relevant stakeholders on the stories starting with the launch of the Good Practice for WASH in Ghana booklet.
The objective of the programme is to i) raise awareness on the ongoing strategic, innovative WASH interventions identified in the selected districts; ii) highlight major findings in the report; iii) generate further interaction with stakeholders; and iv) provide an opportunity to widen the scope of the interventions to unserved or underserved areas in the country to help attain the national and SDG targets on WASH. Due to the Covid-19 health pandemic, the launch event would be organised within one-and-half hours targeting WASH-related stakeholders and beyond.
Selected stakeholders are invited to join a face-to-face session whilst wider stakeholder participation will be via Microsoft link: Join Here.
Time (Day1) Activity Responsibility
9:00 – 9:30 am Registration and Arrival of invited guests and the media NDPC
9:30 – 9:40 am Welcome Address Dr. Kojo Mensah Abrampah, Director-General, NDPC
9:40 – 10:00 am Brief Statements:
Country Director, IRC Ghana
Ministry of MWSR
SDG ICC Coordinator
10:00 – 10:20 am Presentation: Water Stories and Sanitation Tales by NDPC
10:20 – 10:40 am Discussions: Participants
10:40 – 10:50 am Launch of the WASH Report Dr. Kojo Mensah Abrampah, Director-General, NDPC
10:50 – 11:00 am Wrap-up and next steps Dr. Felix Addo-Yobo
11:00 am Refreshment and Departure
Relief goods for 500 vulnerable and poor households affected by COVID-19 restrictions were handed over to the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly.
On May 18, 2020 in Kumasi, IRC Ghana in partnership with the Latter-day Saint Charities in Ghana presented USD 25,000 worth of COVID-19 relief items to the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA). The relief items are for onward distribution to 500 households in selected vulnerable communities of the Ashanti Region who have been most impacted socially and economically by the COVID-19 mitigation measures imposed by the Government of Ghana.
In a joint presentation to KMA, Abubakari Wumbei of IRC Ghana recalled that in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Ghana announced a series of measures for Ghana’s enhanced response to the pandemic, which included the imposition of a three-week partial lockdown in Greater Accra and Greater Kumasi. The directive, according to him affected social and economic life of people and incomes severely, especially for vulnerable and poor households with limited resources to support their their families with food and other essentials.
Mr. Wumbei acknowledged that the Government through the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, the National Disaster Management Organisation and affected Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) embarked on measures to mitigate the effects of the lockdown on vulnerable populations, but the effort - including food rationing, was inadequate due to the large numbers within the affected cities.
“As a partner that works with Government and other development partners at the national and sub-national levels, IRC Ghana joined hands with the Latter-day Saint Charities in Ghana to work through KMA in supporting 500 affected vulnerable and poor households (approximately 2,500 people) in the Kumasi Metropolitan area with USD 25,000 worth of relief items: 500 bags of rice (25kg), 104 boxes of canned fish, 83 boxes of vegetable cooking oil, 32 boxes with bars of soap, 35 cartons of carbolic soap and 104 boxes with cans of tomatoes,” Mr. Wumbei added.
He further noted that the COVID-19 experience has reaffirmed the relevance of WASH in the development paradigm and most of all the strong link between WASH and health that requires urgent attention of particularly Government; and that IRC will continue to build alliances to support Government to strengthen WASH systems for COVID-19 emergency response and beyond.
On his part, the President of the Kumasi Bantama Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Mr. Samuel Appiah, said the donation was indeed to complement the government’s effort in supporting the needy and vulnerable who were affected by the COVID-19 situation. He said the pandemic had brought untold hardships to many people, especially the vulnerable, and added: “As a church, our aim is to seek the welfare of the poor and the needy, hence this collaborative gesture.”
IRC Ghana and Latter-day Saints teams then joined hands in presenting the detailed list of the relief items to the Metropolitan Chief Executive (MCE) of Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly, Mr. Osei Assibey Antwi.
The Metropolitan Chief Executive (MCE) of Kumasi, Mr. Osei Assibey Antwi, who received the items thanked the two organisations on behalf of his team and the affected beneficiary households, stating that the support was timely as a lot of people are yearning for food to feed their families due to the COVID-19 restrictions that affected the area.
He commended IRC for the great support over the years, “they were at the forefront of a nationwide MMDA sanitation contest that ended last year where KMA came up tops and was awarded GBP 400,000; and today they are here again, this time with the Latter-day Saint Charities brought on board at a time this support is most needed.”
The MCE said that the collaboration needs to be further strengthened as IRC’s expertise in WASH was crucial in the management of the pandemic since most of the protocols of COVID-19 are water, sanitation and hygiene related.
The Metropolitan Director of Social Welfare and Community Development and the lead person in-charge of the onward distribution of the relief items, Esther Apraku Nyako expressed her excitement and appreciation for the donation. “I'm excited because this is one of the biggest non-governmental donations of food items we have seen so far since the COVID lockdown and we really appreciate it.” She explained that the 500 target beneficiary households include widows, persons with a disability, the aged and those on the livelihood empowerment against poverty (LEAP) programme; and that each household will receive 1 bag of rice (25kg), cooking oil (2 litres), canned fish (5 pieces of 400g), tomato paste (5 pieces of 400g), 1 long bar of soap and 5 pieces of carbolic soap.
Present at the donation ceremony were the KMA team led by the MCE and Metropolitan Coordinating Director, representatives of IRC Ghana and Latter-day Saint Charities, and members of the media.
In Kabarole District IRC's support is driven by strengthening WASH in healthcare facilities.
On 21 March 2020, Uganda had its first confirmed case of COVID-19. This was followed two days later by eight more. Prior to that, on 18 March, the President addressed the nation on COVID-19 and outlined the guidelines on preventative measures.
The Government of Uganda has established a number of structures to coordinate various COVID-19 response activities. These include:
The Ministry of Health has published and disseminated key COVID-19 information materials including a fact sheet, a poster and guidelines for prevention of COVID-19 in public places (banks, offices, shopping malls, restaurants, markets). Other ministries including the Ministry of Water and Environment have also issued their guidelines. The Government established a call centre and a COVID-19 Information Portal with a real-time database.
A summary of the national and Kabarole District COVID-19 situation as of 31 May 2020:
Following the confirmation of the first COVID-19 case in Uganda, Kabarole District Health Office constituted a District COVID-19 Response Task Team concerned with surveillance, response and mitigation against the spread of the disease. This is headed by the District Health Office and is part of the overall District COVID-19 task force. The task force developed a detailed Preparedness and Response Plan and Budget which was widely shared with all stakeholders in the district, including IRC. This was used to raise financial and material support in the district in addition to funding provided by the Ministry of Health.
Kabarole’s focus is towards risk communication, surveillance, infection prevention and control, transport for frontline health workers, information education communication (IEC) materials and personal protection equipment (PPE). IRC agreed to contribute towards the key areas and participate as a member in the COVID-19 infection prevention and control (IPC) team albeit virtually and on the phone.
IRC Uganda has supported Kabarole District’s efforts in the prevention and mitigation of the virus in the following ways:
Part of the low cost but high impact interventions that will be carried out by IRC to improve WASH in HCFs are based on the 2018 WASH in Healthcare Facilities Assessment Report. Latrines were not only inadequate in HCFs, but existing structures fell below standards of safety, privacy and convenience to the user. They were not washable, had cracked floors and most were nearly full. IRC contracted KAHASA (Kabarole Hand Pump Mechanics Association) to do renovations with a double benefit of improving WASH in HCFs and also further building capacity of the Hand Pump Mechanics Association to provide operation and maintenance of water and sanitation services.
These rather low-cost interventions have had a great impact on Kabarole District’s response to and mitigation of the spread of COVID-19. By 31 May 2020:
These interventions have so far provided significant outcomes for Kabarole, marking a progressive response and mitigation against the spread of the virus. All healthcare facilities and healthcare workers in Kabarole have remained active and motivated. All Kabarole markets were able to maintain the standard operating procedures and none were closed by authorities during the lockdown compared to other parts of the country. There has been increased interest of the district in addressing WASH in HCFs. Extension of piped water in Kasenda and Kabende has targeted the HCFs. District decision makers take more note from the Health Team. There is also increased adoption of handwashing practice and gradually entrenching behaviour.
Moving forward, IRC would like to see strengthening of WASH in HCFs in Kabarole District. Therefore, immediate attention will be on advocacy and lobbying for increased interest and investment for WASH in HCFs; capacity development of the District Health Officer and ensuring adequate linkages with other key sectors like the water department.
Organising the availability of IPC materials (chlorine dispenser, sanitisers, handwashing with soap, alcohol-based hand sanitiser) and access to safe clean water with the district water department, utility companies and WASH partner organisations like Amref, PATH, HEWASA and the Infectious Diseases Institute among others. IRC will continue building a more sustainable medical waste management system in Kabarole (contributing to one or two centrally located incinerators and collection systems in the district).
In conclusion, significant lessons can be learned here. Having a strong WASH system prepares organisations, districts and nations to address even these global health challenges. Interventions in WASH in HCFs are ‘no regret’ investments as their impact is far reaching especially as it results in improved healthcare outcomes. And lastly, WASH is pivotal in IPC and primary health care. It is important that we demonstrate this to countries and donors.
This report highlights the activities of the 2020 Regional Water and Environment Week which included among others clean-up exercises, home improvement campaigns and public dialogue.
Uganda Water and Environment Week (UWEWK) is a weeklong event that is organised annually by the Ministry of Water and Environment (MWE) through the Water Resources Institute (WRI). Since its inception in 2018, the event seeks to contribute towards the attainment of sustainable socioeconomic transformation in achieving the Ugandan National Development Plan and vision. Based on the success of the 2019 Water Week, the Ministry organised the Second Albertine Regional Water and Environment Week in Kabarole District from Monday 16 March to Friday 20 March 2020 by bringing together stakeholders to enhance multi-partner collaboration, create public awareness, sensitisation and learning on water resources, environment and climate change. The overall theme of UWEWK 2020 was water and environment resources for inclusive-growth, employment and wealth creation.
Within the Rwenzori region the Albert Water Management Zone conducted preparatory meetings for partners to identify different activities that will encourage community participation. These activities include clean-up exercises, promotion of good sanitation and hygiene by conducting home improvement campaigns, school debates, promotion of tree planting in schools, exhibitions of new innovations in water and environment and public dialogue. This year’s event attracted several partners namely; IRC, CARITAS-HEWASA, Water For People, National Water, Kyaninga Child Development Centre, Tooro Botanical Gardens, Tooro Kingdom, PROTOS, members of the private sector, politicians, community and government agencies.
Of the above activities, IRC Uganda focused and led the home improvement campaigns and clean-up exercises in Karangura subcounty and Fort Portal municipality in a bid to bring to light issues of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) and WASH as one of the areas of focus in the Kabarole District WASH Master Plan to achieve sustainable WASH services for all. Considering strengthening local systems, IRC works with established structures such as; Kabarole District WASH Task Team, local government, Catchment Management Committee (CMC), the Cultural Institution and the municipality at all levels in IWRM. The Regional Water and Environment Week is an opportunity for the WASH Task Team to learn more about the relationship between WASH and IWRM, in order to increase their knowledge and ably engage with the community to identify local solutions on issues around IWRM.
These activities bore fruit as local council chairpersons formed a task force to have households in their respective villages cluster into groups to increase the number of latrines and usage thereof in Karangura subcounty. And to organise the Health Assistants and Village Health Teams to enforce the by-law of penalising those who defecate in the river and its tributaries. In Fort Portal Municipality, leaders were urged to involve the private sector and business community since their activities pollute the environment the most.
A multi-partner collaboration to create public awareness, sensitisation and learning on water resources, environment and the link between WASH and integrated water resources management (IWRM).
Uganda Water and Environment Week (UWEWK) is a weeklong event that is organised annually by the Ministry of Water and Environment (MWE) through the Water Resources Institute (WRI). Since its inception in 2018, the event seeks to contribute towards the attainment of sustainable socio-economic transformation in achieving the Ugandan National Development Plan and vision. It provides an opportunity between sector actors and other stakeholders for knowledge exchange, dialoguing, learning for improvement of Uganda’s water and environment resources. Based on the success of the 2019 Water Week, the MWE held the second one in Kabarole District from Monday 16 March to Friday 20 March 2020. The zone enhanced a multi-partner collaboration to create public awareness, sensitisation and learning on water resources, environment and climate change.
Fabédougou - Maintenancier - SOURABIE Douossou maintenancier
PAYS : BURKINA FASO
Nom du projet : Renforcement de la gouvernance communale de l’eau potable, de l’hygiène et de l’assainissement.
Source de financement : conventionN° FED/2019/410-918
Réf. : AMI N°01/2020/IRC du 06/05/2020
L’ONG internationale IRC a bénéficié d’un financement de l’Union Européenne (UE) dans le cadre du projet de « renforcement de la gouvernance communale de l’eau potable, de l’hygiène et de l’assainissement ».
Dans le cadre de la mise en œuvre du projet, IRC recrute trois (03) pools d’experts pour l’élaboration de plans stratégiques communaux au profit de trois communes urbaines comportant des secteurs et des villages rattachés. Chaque pool d’experts se chargera de l’élaboration d’un plan stratégique communal.
Chaque pool d’experts sera composé de :
Chaque pool d’experts sera affecté à l’élaboration du plan stratégique d’une commune en suivant les cinq phases suivantes :
Le Directeur Pays de l’ONG IRC, Juste Nansi, invite les experts individuels intéressés à manifester leur intérêt à fournir les services décrits ci-dessus.
Afin de confirmer leur éligibilité à un financement de ce projet, les experts devront joindre à leur candidature la déclaration d’intégrité (en annexe à ce document) dûment signée.
Les experts intéressés doivent produire les informations montrant qu’ils sont qualifiés et expérimentés pour réaliser la présente mission ; à ce titre, ils justifieront qu’ils possèdent des références récentes de prestations similaires à la mission.
IRC dressera une liste restreinte de candidats présélectionnés sur la base des candidatures reçues et auxquels elle adressera le dossier pour la réalisation des services requis.
Les manifestations d’intérêt doivent être envoyées exclusivement par mail à l’adresse firstname.lastname@example.org avec copie à email@example.com au plus tard le 21 mai 2020 à 9 heures 00 minute, heure locale.
Les experts intéressés peuvent obtenir des informations complémentaires et demander la mise à disposition des annexes au présent Avis à Manifestation d’Intérêt aux adresses mentionnées ci-dessous du lundi au vendredi de 7h30 à 12h30 et de 13h à 16h30 à l'adresse suivante : firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pièces jointes (downloads) :
My story of empowerment starts from a toilet, or to be precise the lack of it.
It took one painful road trip for me to question the incredulous systems which expect a women to ‘adjust’ (read tighten pelvic muscles when you feel the pressure) when there are no clean toilets on highways or in the worst case scenario no toilets at all. Back in 2013, I didn’t feel so ‘empowered’ to talk about matters of pee or poo but I had a nagging sense of discomfort about the sheer lack of planning about sanitation facilities for women not only on our highways but also in our cities.
This discomfort led me to dream about the possibility of setting up a service for building and maintaining highway toilets in India. I was lucky to get through a fellowship offered by The DO School, Germany which believed in my idea and thought it had the potential of becoming a social business. The fellowship gave me a career boost and taught me the tools necessary to develop business plans, proposals, theory of change frameworks, social impact metrics etc. I did not end up building a ‘toilet business’ but I came up with a campaign ‘Loo Watch’ to make public toilets in India safer and inclusive especially for women through audits led by citizens.
Working on this initiative was my hands-on training to work in the WASH sector through the lens of gender equality and inclusion. During this planning, I also found employment at the CLTS Foundation run by Dr Kamal Kar who had their faith in a young woman whose experience in the WASH sector was built on a passion to improve the state of sanitation in her city.
To me empowerment means knowing that I have the agency and the tools to try and make changes in the systems which foster inequality. The gender imbalance in the planning and design of WASH services is a known fact. That is why I feel IRC WASH’s She Makes Change campaign is important to ensure women have the knowledge, confidence and skills to advocate for their right to WASH services and to participate in local government decision making.
Due to years of being excluded from decision making processes, we, women quite often do not know what it feels like to have power over structures and norms which result in crippling gender inequality. But thanks to ‘toilets’, I know how liberating it feels to have the right kind of tools to effect change. In 2015, the local municipal body refused to share a list of public toilets in Kolkata when I had visited their office. Due to the opportunities of capacity building I had received by then, I had become more confident about my rights as a citizen, thus I filed an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act enquiring about the status of public toilets in Kolkata.
A few weeks later I received a letter with the full details of public toilets in Kolkata along with complete addresses and names of operators. It didn’t stop there. A few months later I found myself punching the air with joy because the municipal body finally put that list of public toilets on their website! All it needed was a fee of 10 INR (0.014 US$) to make an urban local body take a step towards transparency about the WASH services provided by them.
When I look at my journey as a WASH professional, I believe I’ve had a rather non-traditional entry into the sector which was made possible by a few people and institutions taking a chance on a young woman and providing her with an enabling environment to work on her cause. By sharing my story, I do not want to convince you to invest in women but I want to show you the possibilities of what could happen when you make an investment in us, who form 50% of this world’s population.
I have seen an immense desire in women to ‘do something’ when working on menstrual health in rural Assam. I have watched women with borrowed smartphones, searching for menstrual cup videos on YouTube after my sessions with childlike excitement. The women wanted to switch because they recognised the problem of disposal in their village which had no waste management facility. I always felt what more could we do to channel this immense potential or desire. Policies and campaigns work, but more important is our faith that with the right support, women from Ganjam in Odisha to Kabarole in Uganda can and will effect systems change.
I know it because I am one of those women.
Last week, the Para Todos, Por Siempre (Everyone, Forever) initiative presented its results over 2019. It led me to reflect on the good, the bad and the ugly of our experiences with monitoring in Honduras.
Para Todos, Por Siempre (PTPS) is a partnership between 18 NGOs, government agencies and some 28 associated municipalities in Honduras. The aim of the partnership is to reach universal and sustainable access to WASH services in Honduras by 2030. It does so by working to create access in the 28 associated municipalities, and by strengthening the WASH system in those municipalities to such an extent that services can be sustainable. The approaches, methods and lessons are subsequently used to develop a model for reaching everyone, forever, and for promoting that approach amongst its members, as well as towards national government.
In order to assess progress, PTPS carries out an annual monitoring exercise, facilitated by its secretariat. The exercise consists of the following (more details available here):
This is complemented by a reflection from the government on the national level indicators, such as national levels of access to water and sanitation services (drawn from the JMP website), financial data and changes in the elements of the WASH system, as captured through specific aspects of sector development and reform.
So what transpired in 2019?
The third annual monitoring of progress of PTPS across its 26 associated municipalities and in national system strengthening
Let me start with the bad. Progress in terms of access, levels of service and performance of service provider at municipal level could not be assessed due to not having updated data. As mentioned above, PTPS uses mainly data from SIASAR. For most of the associate municipalities, data were collected through SIASAR a few years ago. Since then, data are scarcely being updated. Municipalities are expected to regularly visit communities, and fill out the data about the communities. However, the institutional mandate is weak, as this is not obligatory, and there are no incentives or penalties for (not) doing so; nor are there any fixed budgets for this. So in practice, data on access, service levels or service provider performance are only updated in SIASAR, when there are projects or programmes, funded either by NGOs or national government, which provide budget for this. There is no mandate nor budget for regular data collection and updating by municipalities. And even most of the PTPS member NGOs do not systematically plan and budget for contributing to such data collection and analysis through SIASAR in their projects.
This apparently bad situation triggered something good: a critical reflection on the need to tighten up these institutional responsibilities (and budgets). Monitoring is supposed to lead to reflection and learning. And in PTPS's case, the lack of monitoring data led to reflection. The situation with not-updating of data is not new; last year's report already mentioned that for few municipalities data were updated. The sector realised that organising monitoring in this way – i.e. promoting the benefits of SIASAR and appealing to the willingness of mayors – would not yield better results next year. It has therefore been agreed that within the Commission for Sector Reform a proposal would be elaborated to define institutional responsibilities more clearly, and make annual monitoring a strong obligation.
The same happened in a discussion around the institutional capacity of municipalities. The monitoring revealed that the institutional capacity of most municipalities associated with PTPS has not improved. In fact, in some of the municipalities that have received significant amounts of support, their capacity has gone down. But this negative result was turned into something good. A very critical reflection was held on whether the sector is not expecting too much from municipalities in terms of their institutional capacity. They are supposed to have a number of municipal platforms, have a number of dedicated staff and carry out a range of tasks related to WASH. The monitoring revealed that those platforms very quickly become inactive after initiating them. The smallest municipalities simply cannot afford to have staff exclusively dedicated to WASH. And as a result, many of the tasks are only carried out as part of externally-funded projects. Constructive proposals were presented to actually look into alternatives. One of the most promising ones is to have some of the key tasks not executed at municipal level, but at the level of mancomunidades (groups of municipalities). In that way, economies of scale can be obtained in staffing and institutional capacity for WASH. Great examples from a mancomunidad in the department of La Paz were presented at the monitoring meeting, which show high potential.
The lack of quantitative data also led to a re-appreciation for qualitative data. PTPS also organises reflection meetings with individual municipalities. Even though they may lack quantitative data on the number of people served, they do know the number of new water systems built, and the situation in most communities in their area of jurisdiction. They are able to use this qualitative data for reflection on the way forward. It may not be ideal to only work with qualitative information, but it is considered better than no information at all.
One of the ugly practices around monitoring is the setting up of parallel monitoring systems by NGOs. They often don't do that with bad intentions but driven by the absence of a functional national monitoring system. Luckily, PTPS has been able to avoid this ugly risk. One of the members needed data for its own planning purposes, and it found SIASAR data to be lacking. It developed a quick survey, which would not be filled out in the field, but as a desk-top exercise, in a meeting with the association of water committees and municipal technicians. Instead of seeing this as a risk of a parallel information system, the sector has taken this as an opportunity to discuss whether the current way of data collection of SIASAR is actually appropriate. Sure, a field visit to every single community to collect data for SIASAR would be ideal. But it is also costly. And many data would not change a lot from one year to another. Filling out data in a meeting with representatives from the water committees and municipalities' technicians can still provide good enough data. The experiences from this NGO on monitoring at a distance are now being discussed as an alternative for the more extensive field visits.
No updated data on service levels; institutional capacity of municipalities sliding back in spite of all the effort PTPS members are putting into that; and potentially parallel data collection exercises. At first sight, the annual monitoring of PTPS over 2019 revealed a bad, and even ugly situation. But – as monitoring is supposed to do – it triggered the good: a reflection on whether we are taking the right approaches – to institutional responsibilities for monitoring, to municipal capacity building, to data collection – and examples of members and associate municipalities trying out alternatives that have potential. Above all, it leads to a reflection that the perfect should not be the enemy of the good when it comes to monitoring. It is better to reflect on impartial qualitative information, collected through a desk exercise with technicians and water committees than not monitor at all - even though it falls short of the ideal of monitoring that we had put forward as PTPS.
Get involved, inspire others and make a difference. Support our campaign and help us fundraise for women's empowerment workshops in Odisha, India.
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The global gender gap is staggering. The World Economic Forum's 2020 report estimates it will take 99.5 years to achieve universal gender parity at the current rate. Gender equality is innately linked to sustainable development: it benefits entire economies and societies.
Gender inequality means women all around the world are being excluded from decision making and access to social and economic resources. To overcome this, women must be empowered to identify and challenge power imbalances and be able to manage their own lives. Increased political participation of women plays a fundamental role in closing the gender gap.
To celebrate International Women's Day, IRC is fundraising for women to ensure their voice is counted. Run with Team IRC and raise funds to empower women in Odisha join us here or donate directly to the campaign.
Odisha, a state on the East Indian coast, has a population of 41 million. Data indicates that women here have a low status: Maternal and infant mortality rates are high, and female labour force participation is low. The Ganjam district, within Odisha, has a population of 3.5 million with marginalised communities comprising almost a quarter of this. There are significant challenges in the socio-economic conditions as well as the delivery of services to the marginalised. Over the years, the Government of Odisha has taken some progressive gender centric policy measures, but much is left desired in terms of creation of an enabling environment for women to benefit from the same.
Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) is a human right. Basic access to WASH in the household has wide socio-economic impacts, particularly for women.
Women, in many cultures, have the responsibility of water and sanitation provision in the household, they have more acute needs due to cultural and biological roles, and a lack of services is at the cost of their health, education, employment and participation in politics and society. Gender inequality in politics results in a lack of adequate WASH services: unless women are prioritised in WASH systems and decision making, the problem will only worsen.
Therefore, real change begins with women. In Odisha, we work directly with women to ensure they have the knowledge, confidence and skills to advocate for their right to WASH services and to participate in local government decision making. However, these skills go beyond WASH. They enable women to empower their daughters, to speak up for other women, to claim their rights and achieve their ambitions. Political empowerment creates a level playing field for women in which they can access far more opportunities for a better life.
Only when women have positions of leadership and equal participation in politics, will countries transform. Empowering women changes the world, but we must start locally. Your support makes a fundamental difference to the women of Odisha, the wider community and the universal goal of gender equality.
The Watershed programme is a strategic partnership between IRC, Wetlands International, Simavi and Akvo. It focuses on advocating and lobbying for the inclusion of marginalised groups in WASH governance, and building the capacity of civil society organisations (NGOs and community groups) to represent these marginalised groups and advocate for sustainable WASH services for all.
Civil society organisations are fundamental to ensuring participation of every WASH user, particularly women, and accountability of the government and service providers. Watershed shares skills with these organisations for advocacy and lobbying through training and workshops. The Odisha project empowers women with the right knowledge and skills to stand up, speak out and make decisions for themselves, by themselves.
This campaign will raise awareness of the importance of women in decision making processes around WASH and raise funds for a project which enables that. With €2,500 we will facilitate three one-day workshops for 48 women from four different Gram Panchayats in the district of Ganjam, Odisha. This series of workshops provides foundational knowledge and skills training. If the fundraising target is exceeded, extra half-day workshops can be run to build on and strengthen these skills.
Budget (in Euros)
Basic knowledge sharing workshop
Learning rights and roles as citizens as in the constitution and other legislation
(1 day) – 48 women
Knowledge sharing workshop: 'Understanding the existing systems'
Learning the responsibilities of duty bearers, institutional architecture, and platforms to participate, ask questions and make decisions
(1 day) – 48 women
Skills sharing workshop: 'Speaking up'
Skills for leadership, public speaking, advocacy and conflict resolution
(1 day) – 48 women
IRC is an international non-profit organisation that works with governments, NGOs, businesses and people around the world to find long-term solutions to the global crisis in water, sanitation and hygiene services.
We believe that turning on a working tap should not be a surprise or cause for celebration. We believe in a world where water, sanitation and hygiene services are fundamental utilities that everyone is able to take for granted. For good.
IRC Burkina has received funding for a new project on capacity building of governance for WASH in 93 municipalities.
Ouagadougou, January 8, 2020 - IRC, in collaboration with the Centre of Water Professions of the water utility ONEA, has started a project worth 2.5 million euros (1.6 billion Francs CFA) in Burkina Faso. The project is being funded by the European Union. The objective is to build the capacity of the leadership of municipalities in the governance of drinking water supply, sanitation and hygiene services (WASH). The project targets 93 municipalities in the centre-east, centre-west and centre-south regions. The project has kicked off on January 1, 2020 and will end on November 30, 2022.
The subsidy awarded by the European Union represents a significant contribution to the ambitions of the government and local authorities in Burkina Faso regarding municipal governance of WASH. The ambition of this new project is to fill the gap in capacity and practical knowledge for municipal project management while eliminating the bottlenecks in the sustainable management of infrastructures and the sustainability of WASH services. To do this, IRC's approach is to develop decision-making, organisational, planning, supervision and monitoring capacities in order to ensure the achievement of SDG 6.1 (universal access to drinking water) and SDG 6.2 (universal access to sanitation).
“We are very enthusiastic about the prospect of collaborating with ONEA, the Ministry of Water and Sanitation and the 93 targeted municipalities to meet the challenge of municipal governance of drinking water and sanitation. Since our establishment in Burkina Faso in 2012, we have gained a wealth of experience and developed a wide range of solutions which have been successfully tested. These solutions have been widely integrated into sectoral strategies and we are delighted with this opportunity which allows us to work on a large scale. For us, strengthening the capacities of municipal public authorities and making municipal technical agents available are not only the best means of ensuring the effective management of WASH infrastructures and equipment, but also the essential conditions for achieving and sustaining universal access to drinking water and sanitation. By funding this project, the European Union is giving a big boost to the operationalisation of the action plan for the implementation of assistance to the municipal authority regarding WASH, adopted by the Burkinabè government on April 18, 2018. It is a proud moment for IRC to be mandated to carry out this technical assistance project for the benefit of the government and local authorities”. - Juste Hermann Nansi, Country Director, IRC Burkina Faso.
Based on the experiences of the past ten years in various projects and missions of technical assistance and action research in Ghana, Uganda, Ethiopia and Burkina Faso, IRC has developed a robust approach for strengthening water and sanitation governance systems and actors at the municipal and central government levels. IRC's intellectual products have impacted the formulation of targets 6.1 and 6.2 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at international level, as well as national implementation programmes in several countries including Burkina Faso. Through its water and sanitation support programme, the European Union in Burkina Faso is making a decisive contribution to achieving SDG 6 as much by strengthening governance as by carrying out works. IRC has been collaborating with the European Union in Burkina Faso since 2014 and their joint contributions to progress in the water and sanitation sector are well recognised by the public authorities and the beneficiary populations.
For more information, please contact: email@example.com
Civil society organisations are performing various roles in supporting local government to deliver WASH services in Kabarole district, Uganda.
The Uganda Water and Environment Sector Performance Report 2018 acknowledges that “CSOs remain committed to contributing to the Uganda SDG 6.1 target and continue to make significant investments in water supply infrastructure.” In the 2017/2018 financial year, for example, CSOs invested at least UGX 31 billion in water supply infrastructure across the country.
According to the Uganda Water and Sanitation Network (UWASNET) NGO Performance Report 2018: “For the FY 2017/18, NGOs invested a total amount of Uganda Shillings (UGX) 91.02 billion in interventions in water supply and sanitation improvement, water resources management, community strengthening for management and sustainability as well as towards promoting good governance in water and sanitation service delivery. This expenditure is the highest recorded in the last five years, a two fold increase from last year, majorly due to reporting on WASH in Emergency that was previously not included in the NGO report. This notwithstanding, there is a 40% increase from last year, for non-emergency interventions, with expenditure on water supply infrastructure accounting for the largest proportion of the related FY2017/18 expenditure, at 57 %. Generally all intervention areas registered an increase in expenditure from the previous reporting year.” (page 4)
The Uganda government recognises the contribution CSOs are making to increase universal access to WASH services and is placing them at the centre of its plans. After aligning the WASH sector performance measurement framework with the SDGs, the Ministry of Water and Environment (MWE) reached out to CSOs to disseminate the new indicators.
As MWE’s Martha Naigaga said during the National WASH CSO Forum in Kampala in September: "CSOs are important partners in the WASH programme. We want to align and make sure that CSOs understand what the sector is measuring so that they are able to structure their interventions, their measurements, their programmes, and everything, to what the sector is measuring. Otherwise they will end up implementing things that are not countable or they will lose focus."
In Kabarole, the district local government (DLG) has taken steps to align the WASH master plan with the annual district plan as well as with the national monitoring framework and the global indicators.
Explicit role for Civil Society Organisations
The relationship between CSOs and the local government has been nurtured to the extent that the Kabarole District Master Plan for Universal Access to WASH Services 2017–2030 carved out an explicit role for CSOs. According to the master plan, CSOs “will be responsible for mobilizing off-budget resources to directly support implementation, monitoring and learning interventions.”
In that spirit, HEWASA (Health through Water and Sanitation) has collaborated with the local government by co-funding the construction of piped water systems. One such system was constructed in Kasenda sub-county in 2005. It remains operational and, to ensure sustainability, has since been taken over by the South Western Umbrella of Water and Sanitation.
According to Moses Rujumba, programme officer with HEWASA, CSOs support the district local government not only in material terms, but also by sharing information about best practices and the lessons they have learnt based on their experiences on the ground.
One thing that makes this relationship work is that Kabarole has a functional District Water and Sanitation Coordination Committee (DWSCC). The DWSCC is responsible for coordinating the activities of CSOs including non-governmental and community-based organisations.
CSOs in Kabarole operate with off-budget funds from private sources and development partners. Although their budget cycles are not necessarily aligned with that of the local government, they contribute substantially to the district’s resource envelope. In 2016 and 2017, for instance, HEWASA contributed grants worth UGX 260 million per annum while IRC contributed grants to the tune of UGX 200 million per annum. Other CSOs including SIMAVI, SNV, Aqua for All, Stars Foundation, and AAID have pitched in with notable contributions as well through grants to support water supply and sanitation in Kabarole over the years.
Whereas the Kabarole District Local Government allocates budgets for providing direct support to water and sanitation committees, it can only provide technical support to fewer than 40% of service providers. Such performance data is critical for planning purposes.
In Kabarole, data on the performance of service providers is collected annually and used to update the district’s information system. CSOs such as IRC, HEWASA, and JESE (Joint Effort to Save the Environment) have played an instrumental role by supporting the district to carry out this critical performance monitoring function. Monitoring generates the evidence needed to inform WASH investment and budget allocation decisions.
To ensure effective coordination, CSOs are represented on the district’s resource mobilisation team led by the chief administrative officer and comprising the district planner, the water officer, the secretary finance, and the health inspector. The mission of this team is to bring in additional funding from sources other than the conventional district budgets.
According to Aaron Byakutaga, the Kabarole District secretary for works, CSOs have played a critical role in supporting the local government to advocate for universal access to WASH and to lobby for resources and community engagement.
IRC supported the District Water Task Team to pilot the pay-as-you-fetch (PAYF) model at selected water points, and IRC also funded the study that evaluated the model to help inform decisions about scaling it up. The analysis of the model showed that it was more effective in rural growth centres than it was in urban areas. Advocacy by CSOs has been critical in promoting the benefits of PAYF and its adoption beyond the communities where it was piloted.
Kabarole is reaping dividends from the involvement of and collaboration among CSOs. “We do a lot of activities together,” says Edgar Muganzi, project manager with NRDI (Natural Resource Development Initiative). “We leverage each other’s expertise.”
NRDI turned to HEWASA for support with the construction of water sources in its project areas. When NRDI attempted to construct latrines in Karago town council and in Bukuku and Karangura sub-counties, it discovered that it could not sink latrines deeper than five metres because the water table was high. It approached HEWASA to support the construction works including provision of eco-san toilets which NRDI made available to its clients on a 50-50 co-share basis with a promotional discount of UGX 700,000 from UGX 1 million.
PROTOS too partnered with lower local governments to build eco-latrines in Karangwa and Kichwamba sub-counties and in Karago town council. It provided a portion of the funding through cost-sharing arrangements with the respective local governments. With such developments, the political leadership at the national level has come to embrace CSOs as valued partners in elevating the standard of WASH.
Reflecting on the discussions that ensued during the National WASH CSO Forum in Kampala in September 2019, Hon. Oyo observed that: "Civil society organisations are closer to the people than ever, and they have helped in changing the thinking of the people. They have seen that the situation [of WASH] is that bad and they are getting engaged. Everywhere it’s the civil society organisations that people are listening to."
A critical challenge is how to ensure that CSO activities and interventions are aligned with the objectives of the DLG and the central government. The solution is for CSOs to involve the DLG and the MWE Technical Support Unit 6 (TSU6) in planning, implementation, as well as monitoring and evaluation of their activities. This is vital for ownership, sustainability, and continuity.
Another challenge is the fact that the Rwenzori Regional Learning Forum has since become dormant, yet it used to serve as a platform for sharing information about plans and activities as well as sector policies and legal frameworks. Efforts to revive the forum should be pursued with a sense of urgency.
CSOs play an important role in terms of bringing innovations into interventions that work. Most of the interventions especially in sanitation that have come into the country have been pioneered by CSOs. They give us an opportunity to pick on what works. But also they help us to improve policies, because through their innovations and programmes we are able to design policies that we know will work. They help us to check on what is not working, which definitely improves our performance. They are key in resource mobilisation. Sanitation is multi-sectoral. The government alone cannot address all the needs for sanitation and hygiene in the country. When they bring their expertise in form of technical know-how and finances, it improves service delivery overall. - Stephen Kayanja (National WASH CSO Forum September 2019)
CSOs play a big role. One is capacity building. As a senior community development officer, I was only triggered when they gave us the results [on water quality]. In my normal routine I did not know. All that mattered is: is the water source functioning? Are people getting water? It’s the CSOs that helped me to realise that although we’re campaigning for water, there is a problem with the water we’re supplying. They helped us as an eye opener that what we were doing was not enough. Second, they help us a lot in funding. In the local government we don’t have enough funding. But they helped us in the collection of the data, analysing it, and presenting it. - Kellen (National WASH CSO Forum September 2019)
Démarrage du projet de renforcement des capacités des municipalités du Burkina Faso dans la gouvernance de l’eau potable, de l’hygiène et de l’assainissement.
COMMUNIQUÉ DE PRESSE
Ouagadougou, le 8 Janvier 2020 - IRC, en collaboration avec le Centre des Métiers de l’Eau de l’ONEA, démarre au Burkina Faso un projet d’un montant de 2,5 millions d’euros (1,6 milliard de Francs CFA), financé par l’Union européenne. L’objectif visé est d’améliorer le leadership des municipalités en matière de gouvernance des services d’approvisionnement en eau potable, d’hygiène et d’assainissement. Le projet cible 93 communes des régions du Centre, du Centre-Est, du Centre-Ouest et du Centre-Sud. Son exécution a démarré le 1er janvier 2020 et se termine le 30 novembre 2022.
La subvention attribuée par l’Union européenne représente une contribution significative aux ambitions du gouvernement et des collectivités territoriales burkinabé en matière de gouvernance communale des services d’approvisionnement en eau potable, d’hygiène et d’assainissement (AEPHA). L’ambition de ce nouveau projet est de combler le déficit de capacités et de connaissances pratiques pour la maîtrise d’ouvrage communale tout en éliminant les goulots d’étranglement de la gestion durable des ouvrages et de la pérennisation des services d’AEPHA. Pour ce faire, l’approche d’IRC est de développer les capacités de décision, d’organisation, de planification, de supervision et de suivi par les municipalités afin d’assurer la réalisation de l’ODD 6.1 (accès universel à l’eau potable) et de l’ODD 6.2 (accès universel à l’assainissement).
« Nous sommes très enthousiaste à la perspective de collaborer avec l’ONEA, le Ministère de l’Eau et de l’Assainissement et les 93 municipalités ciblées pour relever le défi de la gouvernance communale de l’eau potable et de l’assainissement. Nous avons développé une riche expérience et une large palette de solutions testées avec succès au Burkina Faso depuis notre installation en 2012. Ces solutions ont été largement intégrées dans les stratégies sectorielles et nous nous réjouissons de cette opportunité inédite qui nous permet d’agir à grande échelle dans plus d’un quart des communes du pays. Pour nous, le renforcement des capacités des autorités publiques communales et la mise à disposition d’agents techniques communaux sont non seulement les meilleurs moyens d’assurer la gestion efficace des ouvrages et équipements d’AEPHA, mais aussi des conditions indispensables pour atteindre et pérenniser l’accès universel à l’eau potable et à l’assainissement. En finançant ce projet, l’Union européenne donne un grand coup de pouce à l’opérationnalisation du plan d’actions pour la mise en œuvre de l’assistance à la maîtrise d’ouvrage communale en matière d’AEPHA adopté par le gouvernement burkinabè le 18 avril 2018. C’est une grande fierté pour IRC d’être mandaté pour exécuter cette mission d’assistance technique au profit du gouvernement et des collectivités territoriales. » – Juste Hermann Nansi, Directeur Pays, IRC Burkina Faso.
Se basant sur les expériences menées ces dix dernières années dans le cadre de différents projets et missions d’assistance technique et de recherche-action au Ghana, en Ouganda, en Ethiopie et au Burkina Faso, IRC a développé une approche robuste pour le renforcement des systèmes et des acteurs de la gouvernance de l’eau et de l’assainissement aux niveaux des municipalités et des gouvernements centraux. Les productions intellectuelles d’IRC ont impacté la formulation des cibles 6.1 et 6.2 des Objectifs de Développement Durable (ODD) au niveau international, mais aussi les programmes nationaux pour leur mise en œuvre dans plusieurs pays dont le Burkina Faso. A travers son Programme d’Appui à la Politique Sectorielle Eau et Assainissement, la délégation de l’Union européenne au Burkina Faso apporte une contribution déterminante à l’atteinte de l’ODD6 autant par le renforcement de la gouvernance que par la réalisation des ouvrages. IRC collabore avec l’Union européenne au Burkina Faso depuis 2014 et leurs contributions conjointes aux progrès du secteur de l’eau et de l’assainissement sont bien reconnues par les autorités publiques et les populations bénéficiaires.
Pour plus de renseignements, prière contacter
Le service de communication d’IRC Burkina Faso
FANSA (Fresh Action Network South Asia), Watershed's regional partner in Asia, hosted a webinar for Watershed to share learnings and experiences in IWRM/WASH.
The 25 participants from all over the South Asia region engaged with the overall programme, the linkages between IWRM and WASH, and heard from WaterAid Bangladesh - implementing partner in Bangladesh.
The one hour webinar provided a useful platform for sharing and starting discussions beyond Watershed's normal partners. It is intended to be the start of a regular series of webinars within FANSA network to strengthen capacity and enhance learning.
IRC Ethiopia seeks to engage a well-qualified individual consultant to analyse the financing and credit interventions being carried out under Transform WASH.
The interventions are aimed at creating access to financing for both sanitation enterprises and households. The Consultant should be familiar with the WASH sector as well as small-scale financing mechanisms and institutions in Ethiopia and elsewhere, such as commercial banks, microfinance institutions (MFIs), saving and credit cooperatives (SACCOs), village level saving and loan associations (VLSAs), and other relevant mechanisms. The Consultant will be responsible for the design, implementation, and reporting on this action research study.
Please find additional information below.
A meeting organised by Uganda Water and Sanitation NGO Network (UWASNET) and IRC Uganda, to inform the parliamentarians about the Watershed empowering citizens programme, discuss key issues in WASH and IWRM, and make recommendations on how the issues can be addressed effectively.
“Environmental degradation is the biggest threat of our time. It knows no colour, nor political affiliation.” These were the sentiments expressed by Noeline Basemera, Woman MP Kibaale District. She was speaking during a meeting between Members of Parliament on the Natural Resources Committee and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) working on issues of Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) and Environment and Natural Resources (ENR).
The meeting was organised by Uganda Water and Sanitation NGO Network (UWASNET) and IRC Uganda, to inform the parliamentarians about the Watershed empowering citizens programme, discuss key issues in WASH and IWRM, and make recommendations on how the issues can be addressed effectively.
Citing examples from their respective constituencies, the MPs decried the rampant degradation of environment and natural resources, leading to a massive reduction in the quality and quantity of water available for domestic consumption and economic activities. Currently, 30% of the population in Uganda lacks access to safe water, while degradation of water bodies and deforestation continue unabated. In June 2018, the Water and Environment Sector Performance Report indicated that deforestation has led to the decline of forest cover from 24% in 1990 to 11% in 2015 and 9% in 2018. Regarding wetlands management, as of June 2018, 4.1% of wetlands in Uganda were reported as degraded and 2.6% completely lost.
John Bagoole, MP of Luuka North constituency got nostalgic as he recalled the many swamps and wetlands he saw as a child growing up in Luuka but have since disappeared because of rampant degradation. Sadly, interventions to save the wetlands are politicised and opposed. He cited an example of a Member of Parliament who joined a riotous group of citizens to chase away environmental police who were trying to demarcate a degraded wetland! “If we can protect the environment, the environment will protect us,” Bagoole said.
In Tororo, MP Frederick Angura said that the area suffers a lot from flooding which destroys livelihoods. He called for more protection of catchments. Similarly, in Buliisa district, Bugoma forest has been degazetted and allocated to large-scale sugarcane producers to feed sugar industries, while in Kibaale district, Hon Noeline Basemera of Kibaale District reported the degradation of River Muzizi.
Destruction of natural resources is further compromising the longevity of road infrastructure. Robert Sentongo MP for Kyotera observed that along Masaka Road, extraction of sand from Lake Victoria and from the expansive Lwera wetland is causing the highway to cave in. The encroachment is also unsettling citizens, leaving them without homes and livelihoods. “Big fish in the government are bringing in investors who are pushing vulnerable people off the land assumed to have valuable resources. Chinese have been left to plant rice extensively and to extract sand which they export,” Sentongo lamented, calling for involvement of stakeholders at all levels to address the situation.
MPs were of the conviction that much of the environmental degradation is attributable to poor governance, characterized by corruption, lack of transparency and integrity, wrongful allocation of protected water resources for development and failure to enforce rules and regulations.
While some financial resources are allocated to the water and environment sector, there is a general lack of monitoring and accountability. “Parliament does its best to appropriate more resources as requested but if we don’t deal with the issue of corruption we won’t go far. Corruption is embedded in poor governance,” Sentongo said. Silas Aogon, MP of Kumi Municipality re-echoed the same concern saying, “money is allocated to the Ministry of Water and Environment as a chunk but what happens when it comes down to sub-sectors? We need to follow up on such details.”
Apart from bad governance, MPs expressed concern about limited funding, noting that key interventions in WASH and IWRM are funded by external donors, with limited input from the government. Moreover, much of the funding is allocated to areas that do not have pressing issues or are already getting too much funding.
Silas Aogon of Kumi Municipality, observed, “the money we send to local governments is inadequate. Money is just around Kampala but there are no forests in Kampala!” Roland Mugume MP of Rukungiri Municipality referred to the Watershed programme which is fully funded by the Dutch Government and asked what would happen in 2020 when the funding came to an end. He called upon fellow MPs to push for increased financing towards the management of environment and natural resources.
Other challenges raised included: the general lack of awareness leading to limited participation of communities; limited personnel; failure to implement policies and regulations; absence of bylaws and ordinances at local government level.
MPs promised to continue pushing the government to allocate more funds to water resources management. They recommended that citizens should participate in planning for and managing environment and water resources. Stella Atyang Woman MP of Moroto District, recommended active involvement of technical and political actors at all levels saying, “MPs alone are not the solution and may not be able to reach all parts of their constituencies.”
CSOs urged Parliamentarians to make appropriate policy and legislation and to allocate adequate resources. Dr Joshua Zake, Executive Director of Environmental Alert, noted that the cry for improved environment and natural resources had been on for a very long time yet there seemed to be no improvement. “I have been around for 16 years and we are still saying the same thing. Every year we lose 250,000 hectares of forest, and with a growing population, you can expect more destruction. If we continue with business as usual, we shall lose the plot. We need a new approach. What role can Parliament play,” Zake challenged the MPs.
On behalf of the Natural Resources Committee of Parliament, Hon Roland Mugume pledged continued support and engagement with CSOs. He promised that the committee would invite the CSOs under UWASNET for a discussion and to share plans and budgets. “As policymakers, we are interested in getting information and evidence. This engagement is important, and we are grateful for the CSOs for having involved us and shared with us this knowledge,” Mugume concluded.