Friday, 30 November 2012

WASH CSOs launch the Keep Your Promises campaign in Uganda!

Doreen Wandera, Director of UWASNET (Ugandan Water and Sanitation Network), tell us about the launch of Keep Your Promises in Uganda

On 23rd November 2012,  the Uganda Water and Sanitation NGO Network (UWASNET) in partnership with WASH United and Water Aid Uganda joined the rest of the world to launch the Keep Your
Promises Campaign in Uganda at St Peters Primary School. The event was held to coincide with the same week as World Toilet Day and we aimed to highlight commitments made by the Government on sanitation in schools and to hold them to account on these promises.

The promises!

Participants at the event called for the implementation of the universal Primary Education Policy which states that :

  • each school in Uganda must have separate toilet facilities for boys and girls at a ratio of 1:40 pupils per toilet facility
  • there should be separate toilet facility for female and male teachers, wash rooms for girls and urinals for boys.

The campaign also called for the fulfilment of the 2011 presidential and local leaders' manifestos who pledged to make sanitation and water their priority. Kampala Capital City Authority ( KCCA ) this year
promised to increase the number of public toilets in the city as well as make them easily accessible and affordable. We called on them to keep this promise. We also talked about the promises made by the three key ministries in charge of sanitation, the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Water and Environment and Ministry of Education and Sports, who have committed to make sanitation a funding priority by contributing to the national sanitation budget line.

The campaign event

The campaign was launched by the Principle Education official Ms Santa Ajok on behalf of the state Minister of Education. In her speech she said that Uganda needs the right strategies and concerted efforts for these commitments to be realised.

The CSOs also presented a petition to the Government supported by over 300 signatures from
the civil society, communities and school pupils calling for these promises to be kept! They called for more funding towards water and sanitation especially in schools, responsiveness and targeting of funds to where they are most needed and improved transparency and accountability in the provision of WASH services in the country. They also called upon the Government to make sanitation and water a priority beyond 2015.

And that wasn't all!

We also held a big public walk to draw attention to your Keep Your Promises campaign. Community members and school pupils holding placards flanked by a band walked 6 kilometres to highlight the issues and demand Government action on water and sanitation service delivery in the country. Key messages on the placards read:

I can keep my promise, why can’t you keep yours?

We are tired of queuing. We need more toilets. 

Access to water and sanitation is human right.

We definitely drew lots of attention during our launch and we plan to keep pushing our decision makers to keep their promises so that more people in Uganda have access to safe sanitation and drinking water!

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