Tuesday, 1 March 2011
Demanding attention from Uganda’s new politicians
James Kiyimba works for WaterAid Uganda and is organising massive World Walks for Water events there at a crucial time, as Uganda has just had elections . So the time is right to make sure those newly elected politicians stand by their promises to get sanitation and water for all of their citizens...
In Uganda, the World Walks for Water (WWFW) campaign has come at a time(March 19 -22) when the newly elected President, Parliamentary representatives and District Local Government Council leaders for the next five years are yet to be sworn in to office.
The campaign offers us a golden opportunity to engage and influence these fresh politicians to prioritise water and sanitation for all at all levels. It is also a great chance to have them re-affirm the promises that they made while searching for votes. In the near future, citizens will be able to hold their leaders to account not only for what they promised, but also for what they fail to do.
Last year, we were very successful in organizing the World Longest Toilet Queue, we had more than 3000 people from the slums of Kampala holding placards such as “no toilet no vote”. We worked with the media to get our WASH messages across to different audiences. It is no surprise that during the election campaigns water and sanitation were high on the political agenda.
This time, WaterAid in Uganda together with Uganda Water and Sanitation NGO Network (UWASNET) are to continue working with the media while supporting national and district level WWFW events in more than seven district local governments, mobilising the masses to demand an end to the sanitation and water crisis in the country.
A campaign steering committee has been put in place to coordinate the events in different districts and also to translate the campaign ideas into media messages. Posters, fliers and T-Shirts for use during the walks will be printed in the next few days.
In addition, we have secured space in two of the most popular national news papers, radio talk shows from four radio stations and a 45 minute free of charge film to be shown on UBC TV (the national television channel).
In Uganda from 15th – 22nd March, National Sanitation Week is also commemorated. The strength of our campaign relies on mobilising masses in to taking action, voicing their WASH demands to their politicians. These too will be amplified in the media.
By the end of the week long campaign, we hope to have raised awareness of the current water and sanitation crisis in the country and demand strong government action in making water and sanitation for all a political priority, and one which is adequately financed.