USAID/African Biodiversity Collaborative Group (ABCG) Fresh Water (FW)-Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) PROJECT.

BACKGROUND.

ABCG is a consortium of seven U.S.-based international conservation non-governmental organizations (NGOs): African Wildlife Foundation (AWF), Conservation International (CI), the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI), The Nature Conservancy (TNC), Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), World Resources Institute (WRI) and World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

ABCG’s overarching goals of a) mainstreaming biodiversity in human well-being and development agendas; b) promoting good conservation practices; and (c) strengthening the role of social and development institutions in biodiversity conservation and human well-being.

These are being pursued within the context of five thematic tasks which include:

  1. Land and Resource Tenure Rights
  2. Land Use Management
  3. Managing Global Change Impacts
  4. Global Health Linkages to Conservation: Population Health and Environment; Water Sanitation and Hygiene
  5. Emerging Issues

ABCG WASH PROJECT IN UGANDA.

JGI-Uganda is piloting Fresh Water-WASH activities in 10 villages in Nyantonzi Parish, Budongo Sub-county in Masindi District in the Albertine rift region within the Budongo-Bugoma Forest Corridor which represents a critical chimpanzee habitat we seek to conserve. JGI-Uganda is working with the Masindi District Local Government, as well as the Budongo local sub-county and Nyantonzi Parish as part of this activity. Additionally, local institutions such as Siiba Conservation and Community Development Association (SICODA) have been engaged in outreach activities. We are also working with 10 area schools to reach primary school children (age range age 7-14) with awareness raising campaigns and education messages on water conservation and improved sanitation and hygiene.

Activity 1: Renovation of five protected springs.

Five protected springs in the villages of Ambaka, Ekarakaveni I, Siiba and Nyabigoma were developed. The earlier plan was to renovate 5 protected springs, but a thorough assessment of the water sources showed that the springs needed full development rather than renovation. As such, the five springs were developed using program funding.

Activity 2: Construction of five community rain water harvest points.

Rainwater harvesting points were identified in 5 Primary schools in the project area. Three 3 of the schools are government aided, while 2 are community and church founded schools. The selected schools had no water source within the school premises. As such, at least 5 water tanks were installed in 5 schools reaching 2,450 school children and at least 1,500 community members.

The provision of water sources has greatly improved sanitation and hygiene in the beneficiary schools.

Activity 3: Water Quality Assessments for water facilities.

JGI, in partnership with the Directorate of Water Development Laboratory (Government of Uganda), conducted an extensive water quality assessment of all main water points in the target project area. The water tests focused on insitu analysis of physical parameters including PH, electrical conductivity (EC), turbidity, dissolved oxygen, as well as microbial analysis, for and total coliform.

Analysis of the physical characteristics (PH, electrical conductivity, turbidity and dissolved oxygen) showed that all the water sources show typical characteristics of ground water with PH lower than six and electrical conductivity well below 65us/cm.

Analysis of the chemical characteristics (phosphates, nitrates and nitrites) noted that the nitrates concentrations in the sampled sources are typical of natural ground water sources without any induced pollution from human activity. The other ground water sources showed very low concentrations of phosphates, which is assumed to be naturally occurring in the ground water aquifers.

Activity 4: Training of Water Management Committees

Nine water management user committees (WUC) were established and trained by staff from the District Water Office and the Sub County Community Development Officer of Budongo. Five of these WUCs are from the school based water tanks and the remaining four are from the protected springs. There are a total of 63 members (28 women/44%) for all the nine committees, each of which has a composition of seven compulsory members with at least three females one of whom holds a key position as mandated by the Local Government.

Activity 5: Training of Community Based Artisans

At each of the water sources, two members of the WUC were selected as artisans to repair the water sources. Trained by the District Water Officer, a line department in the District Local Government, the first is the caretaker; and any other member of the WUC. These artisans will do maintenance work at each of the nine water sources. The artisans were also trained in the following areas: basic plumbing including repairs of simple system leaks, maintenance, masonry, and proper use and handling of tools. In addition, the artisans at each water source were equipped with a set of tools including spanners, trowels, and hammers to be able to do works as required.

Activity 6: Protect and conserve water sources

Fifty tree seedlings have been planted at the protected water springs. In addition, area above the protected spring has also been planted with Paspalum notatum, a creeping grass to aid in reducing surface run-off and system contamination. The tree cover is intended to provide future shade over the water and reduce evaporation from direct exposure to sun during the dry season.

In addition, to protect the greater ecosystem, JGI through its parallel running project, has planted the water catchment areas with up to 10,500 indigenous seedlings of Mahagony (Khaya senegalensis and K. anthotheca), Maesopsis eminii and Mitrigyna stipulosa species. Local community leadership passed a resolution that established an evaluation and enforcement mechanism to minimize water catchment area degradation. The system ranks catchment area villages according to the level of forest and water resources degradation on a scale from one to ten; one being the village with the highest level of contamination and environmental (forest and swamp) degradation, and ten as the village with least degraded forest and water resources. This has created an accounting mechanism for reversing forest and water resources degradation.

Activity 7: School/community sanitation campaign

This campaign reached at least 500 community members including local and religious leaders. The campaigns involved use of local music, dance, drama, talks and videos to raise awareness. This has led to a 50% reduction in poor water and sanitation practices, such as open defecation, and washing clothes and vehicles in water sources.

Teachers, students, parents, and the whole community are now committed to working together to promote good hygiene by ensuring that there are facilities and conditions for practicing improved hygiene in school and at home. This is also enabling more girls to remain in school when menstruation

begins. The latrine situation is worse in Karongo Primary School, because existing latrines are full, leading to open defecation. Parents have mobilized to dig new latrines, however additional support is needed to complete the structures.

Activity 8: Water and sanitation sensitization

Twenty teachers were trained in creating WASH friendly schools. A WASH-Friendly School is a school that is clean, safe, has adequate, well-maintained toilets or latrines for girls and boys and for teachers with water, paper, or other material for anal cleansing; has a place to wash hands with soap/ash and running water after using the latrine; and has enough, safely stored clean drinking water for the school community. Teachers have since developed WASH-Friendly Schools action plans.

The training has equipped teachers with knowledge to integrate lessons on good hygiene practices and water resources conservation into school curriculum, with specific focus on fecal-oral transmission of germs, hand-washing, building hand-washing facilities, latrine use and maintenance, water purification methods and safe drinking water, and water sources protection and conservation.

5,710 students were sensitized about the need for freshwater conservation and improved sanitation and hygiene in their schools and communities.

WASH clubs were established in all schools to ensure that there are functional hand washing facilities, clean water points, proper waste disposal and raise awareness among fellow children, guided by teachers.

All of the 10 schools (100% achievement) that participated in the awareness-raising campaigns have constructed tip-taps, a local hand washing facility. Only 10% of the schools had hand washing facilities prior to the initiation of the project. Teachers have reported improved latrine use and hand washing in schools.

Stakeholders at an engagement meeting about FW-WASH recommended the following;

 Every home must have a pit latrine

 Education & Awareness about FW-WASH should be carried out in all villages and schools

 Develop a sanitation and hygiene team (committee)

 Establishment of new water user committees

 Bi-laws should be developed on FW-WASH with sub-county taking lead

Activity 10: Conduct reviews

JGI conducted a review of their project to assess progress, and to identify success stories, achievements and key challenges. Review meetings were conducted in all the ten villages and major findings include:

 Increased access to clean water due to development of protected springs in 4 villages and installation of 5 rain water tanks in 5 schools. This is a 100% increase in the number of portable water sources in the selected target villages.

 All households near riverine forests are engaged in tree-planting through JGI’s larger conservation efforts being implemented in the target area.

 100% of schools (previously 50%) now have access to water within their premises. Some schools were previously accessing water from sources that are as far as two kilometers away.

 Latrine use behaviors and practices have improved by 80%. Many children and teachers were using plant leaves, stones and maize combs to clean themselves. After sensitization, FW-WASH club members now collect waste paper, clean it, and put it in latrines for use.

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