Water and sanitation are essential for life and health, but they are also essential for dignity, empowerment and prosperity. Water and sanitation are human rights, fundamental to every child and adult. Unfortunately in Uganda, poor sanitation and hygiene, as well as unequal access to safe drinking water, make thousands of children very sick and at risk of death.
Diarrhoea alone is the cause for one in three major childhood deaths in Uganda, 33 children die from diarrhoea every day. In most cases, children get the disease by drinking unsafe water or coming into contact with the contaminated hands of their parents/caregivers.
Early childhood diarrhoea is not only deadly; it also contributes to Uganda’s high levels of stunting, which in turn affects children’s cognitive development and performance at school. In school, lack of proper sanitation facilities also leads to high absenteeism and dropouts, especially for girls.
Access to improved water and sanitation facilities does not, on its own, necessarily lead to improved health. It needs another step: there is now very clear evidence showing the importance of hygienic behaviour, especially hand washing with soap after defecating and before eating or preparing food for health improvement.
Another key to reducing childhood illness and death is to stop using open fields or the bush as toilets. In Uganda, nearly a tenth of the population practices open defecation, and two thirds of households do not wash with soap.
It is poor people who carry the greatest burden of poor sanitation. The poorest 20 percent of the population is 13.5 times more likely to defecate in the open than the wealthiest 20 percent, according to the World Bank.
Clean water must be readily available for people to improve their hygiene habits, as must soap. And girls must have privacy and dignity when using sanitation facilities.
Youth link in sanitation on Uganda
Youth link networks are conducting WASH programs to help promote hygiene and sanitation, beneficiaries are taught how to wash their hands with soap and other detergents. Tip taps have been constructed for different households to enable them access hand washing facilities.
Working with VHTS and para social workers, beneficiaries have been taught the advantages of having a pit latrine and dust bin at home. Through demonstration studies members are taught to have these facilities practically at their households.
In rural areas we work with district and community leaders to monitor and report progress, as well as evidence-based advocacy. We promote public/private partnerships for innovative sanitation technologies and maintenance of WASH facilities. To help communities build resilience, we strengthen emergency preparedness and response for diseases such as cholera and more.
- Ensure at least 95 percent of our beneficiary’s access clean drinking water (in support of the SDG no.6 clean water and sanitation), including children, will be protected from water-borne diseases such as diarrhoea.
- Reduction on rate of open defecation by 2022 at least 90 % of our beneficiaries should be having well-equipped latrine facilities.
- At least 100 per cent of households will be equipped with hand washing facilities and people will be able to better practise handwashing with soap.
- Behaviour change is the key to increasing the practice of hand washing with soap and ending the open defecation. The change can be accomplished through motivation, information and mentorship. Through group based approach, members are being taught the best hygiene practices.
Youth link networks is operating in a small area and yet there is need for the support by different communities countrywide. In this case therefore we also need support to enable us to reach all those in need. This call goes to potential donors who have the heart to support the disadvantaged and marginalised communities in Uganda and Africa at large.
Youth link networks