IT’S A RIGHT TO HAVE ACCESS TO CLEAN WATE
Overview of Kosovo Slum and the neighborhood
Kosovo is a vulnerable urban neighbourhood in Kampala. It lies in Rubaga Division. The neighbourhood comprises 5 cells, the lowest administrative unit for urban settings in Uganda. It is home to vulnerable socio-economic population groups, including refugees.
In the neighbourhood of Kosovo, the quality of basic services available to them including schools, public health centres and shared sanitation facilities was poor. Poor sanitation is a major concern reported by residents and community leaders. It is estimated that 63% of households do not have access to private toilets, while poor waste management resulting into blockages of drainage channels is reported by community leaders as a key public concern, contributing to increased risks of floods.
In Kosovo slum, residents reported that cost and distance were the major barriers limiting them to access basic services. For example, most households are more likely to go to private health centres because the available public health centres are very far. The lack of income is a key concern reported for female-headed households as school-aged children from such households are more likely not to attend school due to lack of school fees. In face of financial difficulties, most households in Kosovo prefer relying on their savings in order for them to afford basic services. The biggest challenge faced by residents of Kosovo is insecurity followed by lack of economic opportunities. (Urban community assessment
Kampala, Uganda – July 2018)
Clean Water: A Leading Source of Vulnerability in Kampala’s Slums
Clean water vulnerability is consistently highlighted as a major concern in Kosovo slum with an estimated population of thirty-three thousand people (Urban community assessment
Kampala, Uganda – July 2018). Vulnerability that stems from water is caused by lack of access to clean water, poor sanitation, and non-existent or limited waste management in the form of garbage collection.
The fast growth of these areas coupled with the complete lack of infrastructure that might
include sanitation facilities, roads, drainage systems and electricity, make supplying clean water an almost impossible task. Compounding this problem is the fact that many of these unplanned
developments occur in low-lying areas that include wetlands which Kosovo is highly part of. Development in wetlands significantly impedes the natural water filtration systems that the wetland normally would provide, thus degrading water sources. These areas are also prone to frequent and severe flooding. Slum settlements have further polluted every wetland and fresh water spring surrounding Kampala
Criteria for Donating A Clean Water Pipe By Cefovid Uganda amongst its families in Kosovo
Since 2016 Cefovid through its volunteers has been offering clean water pipes to the community of Kosovo slum after finding out that many of our children were suffering prolonged illness, diarrhoea, dysentery and endless infections. The first water pipe was communal and was donated by a volunteer from Coventry city who had visited to do her final thesis from the University of Brighton. After spending a month with us she realized that the only source of clean water in the slum was an open water source highly exposed to contamination due to high population and many low-level pit latrines. This was donated at Good mummy school which has a population of close to 180 pupils and it was a life changing opportunity for many kids that go that school.
When we posted this on our social media account, it attracted other friends who have kept donating one by one which we offered to our families in the slum.
Clean Water Pipe is a lifetime donation which costs almost 150 pounds offered to only responsible guardians, parents, and families with special needs and elderly we have supported and have graduated to the level of self-sustenance.
These families must have undergone financial literacy training and are part of our savings groups or have a gain graduated to stand alone community savings group. The recipient must be an owner of small plot of land and has existed for the last five plus years in the community. Similarly, clean water pipe can also be donated to influential community leader who agree to work as custodians of the pipe since the intended beneficiaries sometimes do not own land but are on the pathway to self-sustenance. So such categories always have access to clean water pipe from the custodian. The special needs also get a clean water pipe in an effort to keep the caretaker close to the beneficiary and this as well keeps their guardian busy and active while taking care of the pipe since it doubles as an income generation activity for the guardian to sell some water to raise funds to support themselves as well as save to clear any outstanding bill at the end of the month.
Clean Water for All (CWA )in Kosovo slum having started as single donation of one hundred fifty pounds to Good mummy school in Kosovo slum has tremendously been a real life changing solution to over twenty seven(27) less marginalised households children in Kosovo slum. These are house children who have never dreamt of turning a tap to get clean water but for their lifetime have been surviving from open water sources with contaminated water.
CWA has greatly culminated into the following;
Increased Access to clean water.
On average, in each of the 27 households supported with a water pipe have four people and each pipe donated is shared across three neighbouring houses at a very subsidized fee for management and sustainability in case they need clean water. This makes a single water pipe strategically located to support sixteen (16)people to access clean water. In general, the twenty seven water pipes donated have been able to improve the lives of over four hundred thirty two (432) people in the community from one hundred eight households.
Increased our Children Performance at School
It should be noted that before the donation of the clean water pipes to the Kosovo slum community, many our children would miss school days due lots of diseases and infection all resulting from use of contaminated water. This has drastically changed when we compare our household children attendance ratios in relation to our households who have not yet got clean piped water. Children from households with water pipes have greatly improved with academic performance as they never miss lessons due to prolonged illnesses like typhoid, diarrhoea, stomach infections etc.
Economic Strengthening of Household Income.
In some of our households, clean water pipes donated have greatly improved their income as they have been turned into income generating projects. Many families have been seen with piped water saving boxes where they keep every money which comes from sale of clean water. They usually at the end of the month open the savings boxes; pay the water bill and the balance supplements their income. One family of a child with special needs has been using the savings from the sale of clean water to buy clothes and milk for the little boy with special needs.
Reduced Child Abuse Cases in the slum amongst our Project children
Clean water pipes have greatly impacted on the lives of our children in the community as they have indeed reduced movement of long distances to fetch water from open sources. It should be noted that many children living Kampala live school between 5pm to 7pm and by the time they get home for many it is late evening yet they are in charge of all home chores. This means that they must rush to fetch water to use at that particular time or very early in the morning which exposes them to abusers. With the donation of the clean water pipes in some of our families, many children have access to water with-in their homes and do not have to worry about late walks to fetch water which keeps them in safe home environment after school thus reducing the risk to be a bused by drug dealers, hooligans, street children etc.
Instilled Discipline and Responsibility amongst our Families
Many of our families that receive clean water pipes are those selected to be on the road to self-reliance, are those that are in guardians and parents’ savings groups. This is based on the fact that clean water pipes in Uganda carry a slightly little charge at every end of month. This is a clear indication that an irresponsible person cannot maintain a clean water pipe running. As a children’s charity, our soul responsibility is to empower communities to stand by themselves even when we are not supporting them and through these clean water pipes, we have been able to strengthen household sense of responsibility to ensure that the clean water keep on flowing through having trainings in financial literacy which includes basic book keeping and saving. Many children are custodians of the key tap lockers so that there’s no wastage and are able to compare and contrast usage per different months
Much as there has been a lot of improvement amongst the lives of these households with clean water pipes, a lot remains challenging in order to realise a holistic safe water environment for the Kosovo slum and the surrounding communities.
- Few Clean Water Pipes in Kosovo Slum
Kosovo slum and the surrounding with an estimated population of thirty-three thousand very few clean water pipes which have been donated by Friends of CEFOVID. It is now close to 20 clean water pipes we have donated to families that we have been supporting for the last 5 years plus 7 more to responsible community volunteers. Much as these have been donated to these families, many still do not have and never dreamt of owning even a single piped water.
- Access to piped water is dependent on land ownership and the ability to pay a connection fee.
Considering many people leaving in the slums do not own land, it becomes very hard for them to access one unless they pay a standpipe manager to access the pipe. Generally, this make water very expensive in slums and takes a considerable budget for those who want to access clean water pipe. It costs between 200-500 in a normal season to access clean water and households that cannot afford are left with no chance but to use open water sources which are highly contaminated from pit latrines near-by.
- Cost of installing-fixing a clean water pipe
It should be noted the cost of installing a clean water pipe is not uniform in Uganda. Factors like closeness to the main supply line may help you pay lower rates than someone distant from the main supply. Similarly domestic water is relatively cheaper compared to commercial water pipe when you need one. This cost ranging between 100-150 pounds cannot be afforded by many households on mend to self-reliance of if they manage it may take them many years to save such. The distances between each other connection is a bit afar on top of moving the papers from different offices(administration costs) which limits many from applying for a clean water pipe
- Continuous Clean Pipe Water Shortage
. Taps are frequently turned off by the city water municipals without advance notices either due repairs and service maintenance or due to general water shortage. When this happens many people in the slum are left with no choice but to use the contaminated water spring or to walk long distances to places were there’s a water tap or pay for as much as 1000 Ugandan shillings or to endure long waiting hours till its back. This has continuously exposed many young people to child abuse case in the slum
- Pit Latrines
These are the major source of water contamination in Kosovo slum and a major driver of poor sanitation. During rain, many toilets are emptied into small drainages which flow into the wetlands leading to contamination of open water sources and Lake Victoria. Majority of the planned sanitation take the form of poor-quality septic tanks which usually links into the ground water thus contaminating open sources of water. Similarly, many of the wetlands in Kampala which used to offer effluent filtration before reaches the lake have been turned to farmland and settlement which again affects clean water. Similarly, due to unplanned areas, many pit latrines are built at the extreme of someone’s plot of land yet they are few feet from the ground due to swampy drainage which has made it had to extend water pipes due to blockage of way.
- Waste Management
Slums like Kosovo has waste management vulnerability which affect access to clean water. Uncollected solid waste clogs water channels which causes floods, pollutes the surface and ground water which eventually enters Lake Victoria the main source of water in Uganda. Due to poor road network, garbage become stagnant as trucks cannot access them and for the few that manage to get closer to the slum always cannot penetrate deep and, in many cases, come wit out community alert hence living heaps of garbage behind. Relatedly all this fuelled by the high populations in Kosovo slum becoming hard for the municipal solid waste department to cope up. All this affects the extension of water pipes to such areas clogged with waste and if you manage to manoeuvre around then the cost of getting clean water pipe becomes expensive since distance from the main supply is long.
Limited Funding for More Clean Water Pipes.
It should be noted that all these clean water pipes have been donated by individual friends in the UK whose income levels are very unpredictable. This they do because of the value they very well know about clean water and love to support the marginalised. This therefore means that fixing of clean water pipes is very uncertain with COVID19 impact and unpredictable global economic conditions because CEFOVID doesn’t have a stable funding for this life time changing project!
Strengthening the Clean Water for All funding base
CEFOVID Uganda hope to continue engaging her development partners HUGS, BAO and Friends of the 2-Tone Village to design pathways through which we are able to raise resources to help sort more clean water pipes for the marginalized communities .
CEFOVID volunteers have started on training many households to start planning and forecasting so that they do not have face water shortages when there’s abrupt general water shortages in the community. We have continued to advise families to keep as many jerricans as possible filled in with water for emergency periods.
As already discussed above, the impact of CLEAN WATER for ALL has had successes, however highlighting the challenges and critical evaluation is key to developing a more effective strategy for this continuity of this project. We will ultimately strive to improve on the lessons learnt from the first recipients to ensure project self-reliance
Prepared by Ronald Kamoga
Web Site: https://cefovid.org/