Published on: 14/03/2019
The second edition of the Uganda Water and Environment Week is underway. IRC Uganda is one of the key sponsors and will be leading several sessions.
The second edition of the Uganda Water and Environment Week has started, with the theme: Water and Environment a strategic driver in attainment of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030. The goal of UWEWK 2019 is to improve understanding of the centrality of water and environment resources in attainment of SDGs by 2030.
Starting on Monday 18th March, the week-long event is expected to attract a wide range of water and environment stakeholders, including policy makers, technical specialists, academicians, public and private sector institutions, civil society organisations, non-governmental organisations and other members of the public. Presentations and discussions will be around five themes namely:
• Water-food-energy-ecosystem nexus: This will focus on the inseparable link between water, energy, food and ecosystems which underpins sustainable economies and human well-being.
• Water, environment and society: How water and environment contribute to society and how society can enhance its stewardship role. Focus will be given to the role of faith-based organisations, cultural institutions, the private sector, children and youth, as well as community-based organisations.
• Green growth: The theme will aim at exploring opportunities for achieving green growth through sustainable development and management of water and environment resources.
• Blue economy and SDGs: Introducing the Blue Economy concept, which refers to economic benefits and value realised from the Earth's freshwater environment.
• Financing Sustainable Development: This theme will focus on funding opportunities and investment initiatives that can support national efforts to achieve the SDGs related to water and environment. It will also discuss the current and potential roles of the private sector in delivery of water and environment services.
IRC will join other stakeholders in the UWEWK, sharing experiences and lessons from its interventions in the country. IRC will also support capacity building by means of applied training. Particularly, IRC will present the following:
The role of Private Sector in improving faecal sludge management: The paper is based on IRC's experience of supporting the Kabarole District Hand Pump Mechanics Association (KAHASA) to grow into a viable business entity that now provides reliable sanitation services in the district. A study conducted by IRC in 2017 established that in Kabarole district that only 2% of the population is connected to the main sewer, leaving 98% using on-site sanitation facilities. One percent (1%) of the onsite sanitation facilities are septic tanks and 4% are lined pits implying that the other 93% are unlined. 80% of the unlined facilities are abandoned when full and the other 20% use some form of (manual) emptying. The district has only one cesspool emptier. This situation called for more investment in faecal sludge emptying services. The job was cut out for KAHASA. Apart from broadening its business base beyond their traditional Operation and Maintenance works, the association is now filling the huge gap in the faecal sludge management chain.
Applied skills training in communication: IRC Uganda and UWASNET will offer a two-hour applied communication skills training focusing on how sector practitioners can work with the mainstream and non-mainstream media to put water and environment on the public agenda. While many institutions and professionals would like to engage the media, some are intimidated by the prospect of exposure and the fear for "negative publicity". Many have not capitalised on the opportunity presented by media interest in water and environment issues. The purpose of the training session is to improve water and environment professionals' understanding of how the media work; and to inspire sector professionals to work with the media to send key messages to the public for information and advocacy purposes.
IRC will also host a side session to discuss the effectiveness of local WASH systems analyses for service improvement. Through this session, IRC will present analysis of the WASH building blocks and how these have been applied in Kabarole district. The discussion will be informed by experiences of the Kabarole District WASH task team – a representative group of key WASH sector actors, who have taken on the responsibility to do district-level advocacy for the attainment of SDG6 by 2030.