Problem Addressed

People living in the slums of Kampala face a number of challenges with regards to proper sanitation and hygiene. First, these areas are often polluted with waste because latrine-emptying services are limited and latrines are instead emptied into open sewer canals. This pollution is a major source of water-borne diseases and especially impacts the health of vulnerable children and elderly people.

In addition, communities face ambiguities about who is responsible for maintaining sanitation facilities and how to create effective solutions. People are not aware of their rights in advocating for better facilities or services and are afraid to approach government officials to ask for help. There are currently no platforms for constructive dialogue between citizens and government officials.

Innovative Approach

SSWARS works to ensure that local governments create strategic water and sanitation plans based on the needs of the low-income communities they govern. In the past, governments relied on plans created by government authorities or consultants who would not incorporate local community interests. To ensure community voices are heard, SSWARS assists communities in developing and submitting strategic WASH plans to local authorities in order to ensure that new infrastructure and planning incorporates specific community needs.

Program Solution

SSWARS’s project aims to improve the quality of life for slum-dwellers in Makindye and Rubaga Divisions in Kampala by empowering citizens to advocate for better sanitation facilities and services.

First, SWWARS empowers citizens to participate in improving environmental sanitation and hygiene in their local communities. SSWARS increases their awareness and understanding about environmental sanitation and hygiene problems, such as maintenance and emptying of latrines, treatment and disposal of solid waste, and so on. Together with SSWARS, the rights holders participate in finding solutions to the environmental sanitation and hygiene problems in their areas and improve their ability to organize community action to improve the situation.

Second, SSWARS empowers citizens to demand inclusion of improved WASH infrastructure and services in the local government’s service delivery plans. The project increases the capacity of rights holders to better understand the roles and responsibilities of each relevant stakeholder in connection with sanitation and hygiene issues and problems and contribute their inputs into the planning cycle.

Third, SSWARS helps to strengthen WASH structures for rights holders in Makindye and Rubaga Divisions through linkages with relevant WASH civil society structures in Kampala and in other areas in Uganda to create joint WASH advocacy efforts.