Problem Addressed

Katosi Women Development Trust (KWDT) works in fishing communities in five subcounties of Mukono district; Nama, Ntenjeru, Nakisunga, Mpata and Mpunge, north of Lake Victoria. Fishing communities are characterized by poor hygiene and hygiene and lack of access to clean safe water. They are among the world’s most marginalized communities, because of their location in rural areas where there is limited infrastructure development or access to health and education. The population’s poverty and illiteracy levels are high.

In these rural areas, households and communities largely depend on contaminated water from the Lake Victoria and other open water sources. The semi-permanent settlements and migratory nature of the people in fishing communities, coupled with the fact that construction of sanitation facilities is expensive due to the high water table and rocky grounds, have all resulted in open defecation and pollution of Lake Victoria. Promotion of water, sanitation and hygiene is especially relevant for rural areas, since only 74.6% of the rural population is reported to have access to sanitation and only 32.7% to hand-washing facilities (MWE 2014).

Innovative Approach

KWDT is innovative in its placement of women at the center of the movement to increase access to WASH facilities. Women play a key role in identification of beneficiaries and implementation of the projects, such as construction, maintenance, governance of access, and payment for resources. Women are also empowered to lobby and advocate for improved service delivery in WASH through KWDT’s Women Advocacy Clubs; here, they carry out community dialogues where communal WASH issues are discussed, clarifying the roles of various stakeholders.

Program Solution

KWDT supports a number of initiatives that empower women to provide their communities with safe and sustainable sources of drinking water, sanitation facilities, and training on better hygiene practices. KWDT engages women in the implementation of the program, training women to train others in the group and in the community, and in the construction and maintenance of WASH facilities. KWDT employs tank masons, VIP toilet and Ecosan toilet masons, and biosand filter masons.

For water, the program helps communities acquire rainwater harvesting tanks in households and at schools. They also help protect community wells. For access to sanitation, the program helps households acquire sanitation facilities and promotes new appropriate technologies like the Ecosan toilet in areas where the water table is high and the soils unstable for the conventional pit latrine.

The program trains women in good hygiene practices and menstrual hygiene. They do demonstration trainings among the groups and the communities to establish hygiene and water-saving facilities such biosand water filters and tippy taps, dish drying racks, sock pits and waste bins. KWDT also supports women to start enterprises that will contribute to improvement of hygiene at the household level and in schools, such as soap making and sanitary products manufacturing.