Published on: 13/05/2016
African countries signing the eThekwini declaration in 2008 committed to create separate budget lines for sanitation and hygiene and to allocate 0.5% of the GDP to sanitation.
Considering the ever-growing sanitation and hygiene challenges, one wonders whether 0.5% of the GDP is not too low. Take Kampala City for example. In the financial year 2015/16, Kampala City Council Authority (KCCA) allocated UGX14 billion (USD4.2million). This was 4% of KCCA's total budget. While that exceeded the recommended 0.5%, it was a drop in the ocean. Even with such an allocation, KCCA's current per capita expenditure on WASH is a negligible UGX26 (USD0.008).
Indeed, if the basic daily sanitation needs of a regular city dweller were considered, UGX26 would be a mockery at best. At the very minimum, a regular Kampala City dweller may need UGX500 (USD0.15) to meet his or her daily basic sanitation requirements.
• One needs to visit the toilet at least thrice a day – each visit costs at least UGX100 (USD0.03).
• One needs to wash hands after each toilet visit and at all critical times – one may need at least three litres of water per day. A 20-litre jerrycan of water costs UGX100 - UGX200 in Kampala. Add to that a bit of soap at every washing (and in some cases, air freshener and disinfectant balls for the toilet.)
• One would also need to dispose solid waste. Private garbage disposal companies charge on average UGX30,000 (USD9) a month per household, which translates into UGX1000 (USD0.3) per day per household. Thus, an individual would require at least UGX200 (USD0.06) per day for garbage disposal.
KCCA's is mandated by law to provide and maintain public sanitation. The Public Health Act (1964) mandates KCCA to safeguard and promote public health in the city. The Local Government Act (1997) mandates KCCA to implement and maintain public sanitation facilities alongside removal and disposal of faecal sludge. Laws of the Public Private Partnerships (2015) also allows for KCCA to partner with private entities in delivery of services. But this mandate cannot be fully actualized given the current level of funding.
At the 2016 KCCA Water and Sanitation Forum on Wednesday 4th May, the KCCA Water and Sanitation Supervisor, Jude Byansi outlined some of the most pressing sanitation challenges in the city.
• 64% of the population lives in informal settlements. Half of the city is characterized by poorly planned settlements, with no access roads for cesspool trucks.
• Toilet coverage is 84%, but only 34% of those toilets meet the required standards of improved sanitation facilities i.e stop transfer of diseases from one person to another.
• At 2%, open defecation is commonplace. Many city dwellers use "flying toilets" – whereby human waste is put in plastic bags which are thrown out randomly in the streets, in drainage channels or in garbage skips.
• 94% of the population relies on onsite sanitation systems. Only 6% are connected to the main sewer line.
• Only 50% of pit waste is safely collected, transported and deposited. What happens to the other 50%?
• In KCCA schools, the pupil to stance ratio is 53:1, meaning that 53 students use the same toilet room, which is also rarely cleaned.
Additionally, Kampala has challenges with solid waste management and with drainage systems. People often clog the drainage with heaps of solid waste. Disease outbreaks like cholera and typhoid are now a common occurrence. "Now it is normal for one to go to the clinic and they are told that they have typhoid because that is the city in which we live," Byansi said. This is coupled with the challenge of law enforcement. There are legal provisions, but how much is invested in enforcing these laws? In years past it was easy to enforce laws because of sparse distribution of population. But now with slums and dense populations, it is difficult.
The Acting KCCA Executive Director Judith Tumusiime, emphasized that indeed KCCA was still grappling with funding shortages, yet they were expected to provide free sanitation services. While KCCA provides the public with free access toilets, there is the challenge of sustainability. People migrate to the city, and there is a challenge of space to build a toilet for each household. "We provide the free facilities but when people are used to free things, cost sharing becomes a challenge. Even in rural areas, when someone puts up a home, they also build a toilet, so one wonders why they expect free things in the city," Tumusiime said.
Water and Sanitation Supervisor, Jude Byansi explained that to manage solid waste alone, KCCA needs a per capita of UGX3000 (USD1). And that is without adding other WASH services like provision of water; provision of safe sanitation facilities like toilets. The situation calls for increased funding for WASH.
Amidst all the funding challenges, KCCA is not sitting and watching. "While we look at government and donors, we need to look at private sector actors to look for models of providing sanitation in the city," Tumusiime urged.
So far, KCCA is partnering with different partners like Water Aid, CIDI, Environmental Alert, African Evangelistic Enterprise (AEE) who are constructing toilets for communities and schools. KCCA is also working with GIZ to lobby for funding from different funders. In terms of knowledge management and learning, KCCA has also created working groups to enable the exchange of ideas on how to source for funding and how to encourage different stakeholders to invest in sanitation.
Going forward, GIZ shared some tips and guidelines on how to attract more funders to KCCA. Uganda Health Marketing Group (UHMG) urged KCCA to apply marketing techniques to increase investment in WASH, while the National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) recommended partnership and learning from each other.
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