On Monday 19th November 2018, BRAC Uganda in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) commemorated World Toilet Day by launching their Uganda Sanitation for Health (S4H) intervention at the national celebrations held in Buwenge, Jinja.
The S4H intervention launched with the goal of increasing access to improved and sustainable water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services and behaviors in up to 25 districts in Uganda, ultimately leading to improved health and nutrition status. S4H works in close coordination with complementary development programs within USAID and the Uganda WASH sector. It aligns with Government of Uganda’s long-term development priorities, district level development agenda and the needs and wishes of the communities.
BRAC is currently piloting the S4H activities in 6 districts that include; Jinja, Buikwe, Kaliro, Mpigi, Lwengo and Kyotera. This intervention will be rolled out with the 400 CHPs currently located within those areas. The ultimate goal of the S4H activity is to help households move up the sanitation ladder from open defecation and use of unimproved toilet to having an ungraded basic toilet with a sato.
The event was supported by the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Water and Environment, the National Sanitation Working Group (NSWG) and Local Government Leaders. The morning began with a march, in which BRAC Uganda’s country director, Ms. Hasina Akhter interacted with both students and BRAC’s Community Health Promoters (CHPs). “Today, it’s all about awareness. We know that if we don’t have good toilets, our health will be affected” remarked one of the students from Buwenge Progressive Secondary School. Ms. Akhter stated the importance of the role the BRAC CHPs will play in the intervention as she said “Due to BRAC’s existing integration within communities, we will leverage on our CHPs within the S4H activity to mobilize and raise awareness on the need for improved latrine services whilst inspiring households to take action.”
Speeches were given by the LC3 chairperson and Mayor who thanked all partners for their work alongside the ministry of health. However, he implored the district to continue giving attention to sanitation as its role in the well being of individuals’ healthcare was highly significant. His speech was followed by the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) for Jinja District, who reiterated the appreciation for partners for a job well done. “With district level toilet cleanliness at 8%, and latrine cover at 72%, your intervention is not only timely, but most appreciated”, he said.
USAID’s S4H Chief of Party, Mr. Sean Cantella spoke on the goal and aim of the intervention which through a serious of contemporary and integrated WASH interventions at the district, community and household levels, S4H would seek to achieve three interdependent outputs;
- Increased household access to sanitation and water services
- Key hygiene behaviors at home, school, and health facilities adopted and expanded;
- strengthened district water and sanitation governance for sustainable services
The Guest of Honour, LC5 Chairperson, Hon. Kisambira closed the event with his final remarks. He thanked BRAC CHPs for their tireless work in their efforts to sell the Sato latrine products, as evidenced in their stalls. “Good hygiene is great at the individual level, and has ripple effects into communities as a whole. The benefits of using toilets are endless, and I believe we should scale up this project as quickly as possible, within our communities and into the schools.” He called upon all partners, USAID, BRAC, and Nice House of Plastics to continue with their efforts, as they have the backing of all the relevant government bodies.