Safe Water Security in Kumi District
The overall objective of the project is to contribute to the alleviation of rural poverty and water-borne disease, in line with the Ugandan government’s policies and strategies in the water sector.
The project will demonstrate a public-private partnership (PPP) structure for Kumi District piloted in one sub-county, to cost-effectively implement the Community-Based Maintenance System (CBMS). The main aim will be to achieve the government target of improving functionality rates to over 95% in a manner affordable to local communities.
The target group is the rural population of Kumi District. The project will engage 48 communities, and the number of direct beneficiaries from the project will be 14,400. The beneficiaries are the members of rural communities, including all ages and genders. Women in particular will benefit from capacity building and trainings to promote them in leadership and administrative roles in local committees (WSCs).
The project will introduce performance-payment of local hand-pump mechanics contracted to a rural service utility, which will be prototyped by Whave. The service utility will monitor daily operational reliability as a basis for performance payment. The project will nurture community willingness-to-pay for service agreements by supporting and training community committees and by facilitating saving of by-law fees, for example by facilitating mobile money banking. Gender equality and female empowerment will be promoted, with women supported to adopt key leadership and administrative roles. The issue of home contamination of water is recognized as equally critical as reliability of clean water supply. The issue is addressed through monitoring of community hygiene and home water quality testing, because experience has shown this has the effect of driving improvement and preventing the relapse which commonly follows hygiene lift campaigns. Continuous training will be provided to the HPMs and the Kumi Hand Pump Mechanic Association (HPMA), and all data will be continuously shared with the District Local Government (DLG), Ministry of Water and Environment (MWE) and HPMA. In the second year, the PPP structure will be shaped co-operatively by stakeholders according to information gathered in the course of the project, specifically to optimise cost-effectiveness and sustainability.
The population of Kumi District is one of the youngest in the country, with 56% under the age of 18. Socio-economic data for Kumi compared to data for Uganda demonstrate that poverty is a serious issue in Kumi. Identified problems that are being addressed by the project are:
- Poor functionality rates due to lack of financial incentive for preventive maintenance.
- Vulnerability of the poor and of women.
- Lack of detailed information at individual community level relevant to steering strategies and achievements in functionality, safe water chain and water quality.
- The reluctance and failure of many community members to pay their by-law fees is a major reason for poor water source and WSC functionality.
- The high cost of maintenance threatening affordability and sustainability.
- Clean water from a shared source is frequently contaminated during transport and storage, invalidating investments in clean water supply and reliability of supply.
The intervention is fully integrated with government policy on rural water and sanitation, and enhances implementation of policy through partnership and continuous co-ordination at district level, at ministry level, and through co-ordination with the Technical Support Unit (TSU) of the Ministry of Water and Environment (MWE).