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Published on: 11/05/2020

Uganda Water and Environment Week (UWEWK) is a weeklong event that is organised annually by the Ministry of Water and Environment (MWE) through the Water Resources Institute (WRI). Since its inception in 2018, the event seeks to contribute towards the attainment of sustainable socioeconomic transformation in achieving the Ugandan National Development Plan and vision. Based on the success of the 2019 Water Week, the Ministry organised the Second Albertine Regional Water and Environment Week in Kabarole District from Monday 16 March to Friday 20 March 2020 by bringing together stakeholders to enhance multi-partner collaboration, create public awareness, sensitisation and learning on water resources, environment and climate change. The overall theme of UWEWK 2020 was water and environment resources for inclusive-growth, employment and wealth creation. 

Within the Rwenzori region the Albert Water Management Zone conducted preparatory meetings for partners to identify different activities that will encourage community participation. These activities include clean-up exercises, promotion of good sanitation and hygiene by conducting home improvement campaigns, school debates, promotion of tree planting in schools, exhibitions of new innovations in water and environment and public dialogue. This year’s event attracted several partners namely; IRC, CARITAS-HEWASA, Water For People, National Water, Kyaninga Child Development Centre, Tooro Botanical Gardens, Tooro Kingdom, PROTOS, members of the private sector, politicians, community and government agencies. 

Of the above activities, IRC Uganda focused and led the home improvement campaigns and clean-up exercises in Karangura  subcounty and Fort Portal municipality in a bid to bring to light issues of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) and WASH as one of the areas of focus in the Kabarole District WASH Master Plan to achieve sustainable WASH services for all. Considering strengthening local systems, IRC works with established structures such as; Kabarole District WASH Task Team, local government, Catchment Management Committee (CMC), the Cultural Institution and the municipality at all levels in IWRM. The Regional Water and Environment Week is an opportunity for the WASH Task Team to learn more about the relationship between WASH and IWRM, in order to increase their knowledge and ably engage with the community to identify local solutions on issues around IWRM.

These activities bore fruit as local council chairpersons formed a task force to have households in their respective villages cluster into groups to increase the number of latrines and usage thereof in Karangura subcounty. And to organise the Health Assistants and Village Health Teams to enforce the by-law of penalising those who defecate in the river and its tributaries. In Fort Portal Municipality, leaders were urged to involve the private sector and business community since their activities pollute the environment the most.

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