Access to water, sanitation and hygiene services in the Rwenzori Region, Uganda – Lydia Ngonzi

Globally, Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) affect over one billion people. Most of the affected lack access to basic Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) services and yet WASH is critical in the prevention and care of all NTDs (WHO, 2015).

Lydia’s Probono work supported the local government in increasing access to water, sanitation and hygiene services in 5 of the 46 villages affected by Podoconiosis (non-filarial elephantiasis) in Busiriba Sub-county, Kamwenge District.

The project employed a two phased participatory action research approach. Phase I assessed the challenges faced by affected households through literature analysis and face to face interviews and focus group discussions with farmers and local leaders. Using the information generated from Phase I, Lydia was able to establish the links between Podoconiosis, inadequate water, sanitation and hygiene services, and extreme poverty at household level.

In Phase II, Lydia rehabilitated Bwakala village protected shallow well (serving 35 households and 318 students from Kinoni (K) primary school during the dry season) and Kinoni (K) primary school rainwater harvesting system, constructed handwashing facilities (Tippy Taps) at Kinoni (K) Primary School, Busiriba sub-county offices, Rwajale C.O.U, and in 30 poor and vulnerable households, sensitised farmers and school going children on tippy tap construction, handwashing, foot hygiene, and water management, established two water and sanitation committees (clubs) for Bwakala village protected shallow well and Kinoni (K) Primary School, and donated 30 pairs of gumboots with stockings to 30 poor farmers in Bwakala, Bunoga, Busabura, Rwanjale and Kanimi villages. Community participation was encouraged throughout all phases and recommendations for a comprehensive systems approach to prevent and manage the disease has been submitted to the District Leadership.