137,268 Ugandans enjoy benefits of safe sanitation through FINISH
To realise safe sanitation and improved health for all by 2030, WASTE, Amref Flying Doctors, and Aqua for All work together to scale safe sanitation in Asia and Africa through FINISH Mondial. In 2018, we scaled our promising approach with ongoing success in India (2009) and Kenya (2013) up to Ethiopia, Uganda, Bangladesh and Tanzania. Now, two years later, the success of the programme has gone beyond expectations in Uganda. What is the key to our success?
Access to safe sanitation in Uganda remains a challenge with current statistics indicating that only 18% of households in the rural parts of the country has access to basic sanitation facilities and only 7% of them has access to safely managed sanitation facilities (WHO/UNICEF, 2000-2017). Inadequate access to safe sanitation and water increases health risks like diarrhoea, leading to high public costs for treatment and production loss.
In Uganda, access to safe sanitation has remained low. This is caused by a weak sanitation supply chain, low knowledge on sanitation and hygiene among households, and limited financing options. Financing is a key issue due to the Ugandan policy of zero subsidy towards household latrine construction. The majority of the households in need of sanitation solutions have limited knowledge of the available financing options. That is why the FINISH Mondial programme strengthens the linkages amongst households, financial institutions, private sector, and government, to accelerate sanitation access to meet Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 (clean water and sanitation).
Implementation of FINISH
The implementation of FINISH started two years ago in Kabarole and Bunyangabu, two districts in the Western Region of Uganda. The safe sanitation coverage for both regions is only 4%. That is why the local governments commit themselves to deliver universal access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services by 2030 in alignment with the SDGs. For sanitation specifically, the district local governments aims to achieve at least 28% safely managed sanitation facilities by 2030. This gives FINISH an opportunity to thrive while promoting safely managed sanitation facilities.
Most families in Kabarole and Bunyangabu are vulnerable in regards to both health and income. That is why FINISH aims to construct and maintain safely managed sanitation facilities for these communities to become (1) healthier and (2) economically empowered.
Agriculture is the foundation of Uganda’s economy, and a major source of income for the majority of Ugandans, especially poorer households, directly contributing to 25% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). Over 80% of Ugandans live off of the agricultural sector, so the need to protect and make the sector grow for the economic welfare of the people is high. By linking key actors and activities in the sanitation and agriculture sectors, FINISH Mondial Uganda is working to strengthen the local circular sanitation economy, safely managing waste in part by creating organic agricultural inputs like co-compost, for the benefit of farmers.
FINISH Mondial Uganda recognises the various roles and needs involved to enhance the integrated approach toward improved sanitation, addressing gender equity, inclusion, and food security. The programme seeks to stimulate access to improved sanitation through comprehensive behavioural change while at the same time increasing access to finance for both women and men to strengthen their capacities in agricultural production. The FINISH Mondial Uganda team leverages economic and societal benefits which seek to strengthen agricultural value chains, make better decisions at household level and use the ensuing benefits to improve their sanitation status. Considering the entire value chain will enable them to address economic, health and environmental shocks resulting from not only poor sanitation, but impending climate change hazards.
FINISH institutionalises new ways of working while unlocking economies of scale. Simultaneously lowering the costs of sanitation, boosting demand and stimulating sanitation financing and businesses, has proven to be a successful approach to attain safe sanitation in Uganda. As a result, since July 2018, 137,268 people have already enjoyed the benefits of safe sanitation due to the construction of nearly 23,000 improved sanitation facilities. FINISH Mondial Uganda has generated 91,512 working days in construction alone and nearly 23,000 households now have solid and liquid waste management.
The success thus far has provided a solid foundation for scaling. Scaling efforts are targeting neighbouring districts with similar socio-economic and demographic characteristics of the first two operational districts of Kabarole and Bunyangabu. In the next five years, the FINISH Mondial Uganda team aims to strengthen the link between the sanitation value chain and agriculture, creating and strengthening the circular sanitation economy. Therefore, faecal sludge management will be a key priority, linking existing government services and infrastructure with FINISH Mondial business models and designs for energy production from mixed faecal and organic waste. Therefore, safely containing, treating, and reusing waste to contribute to soil improvement, increased agricultural production and overall improved of livelihoods for the region.
Another key priority will be additional resource mobilisation, coupled with efficient use of available resources. The FINISH Mondial Uganda team will continue to guide households to form clusters which enables funds to be pooled and enable those with less access to pay for the improved sanitation facilities in a phasing manner. This approach is ensuring no one in the group is left behind. The goal is to provide a model for all Ugandans to be able to access, properly use and maintain safely managed sanitation facilities, yielding healthier and economically.
Figure: FINISH Mondial team member, Franklin, sharing one of many before and after improved sanitation success stories.