KYEGEGWA – Under its humanitarian response work, IOM Uganda, with funding from United Nations CERF, continues providing life-saving emergency water, sanitation and hygiene assistance to Congolese and South Sudanese refugees and host communities.
Under its new project titled: “Provision of Emergency WASH Assistance to Refugees and Host Communities”, IOM Uganda, the UN Migration Agency, received USD 1 million from the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to support the rising number of Congolese and Sudanese refugees in Uganda.
The nine-month project allows IOM and its implementing partners to extend their Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) interventions in Kyaka II Refugee Settlement in Kyegegwa District, and Palorinya Refugee Settlement in Moyo. At least 50,000 refugees and host community members are expected to benefit from the project.
Uganda has one of the largest refugee populations in the world, with over 1.2 million. The persistent armed and political conflicts, general insecurity and human rights violations in Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and South Sudan are to blame for most of the displacement in the Great Lakes region. According to UNHCR, around 7,500 Congolese refugees have arrived in Uganda since the start of June, fleeing fresh violence in the east.
Palorinya and Kyaka II settlements are among the prioritized settlements for the new arrivals, which is placing strain on already overstretched basic services such as safe water supply and sanitation and hygiene systems, including waste disposal.
Poor hygiene and sanitation conditions, coupled with lack of access to safe water, aggravates the risk of Acute Watery Diarrhea (AWD) in the two settlements. With DRC currently battling its worst ever outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), and Kyaka II receiving refugees from DRC, there is also concern about the risk of the spread EVD into Uganda.
With the latest CERF funding, IOM will extend an existing water system in Kyaka II and construct an additional one in Kyaka II and one in Palorinya providing water to hither unserved areas. In order to ensure community ownership, IOM will establish community-based WASH management structures for sustainable operation and maintenance of the water schemes.
The intervention will also monitor the quality of available water in the project areas. Hygiene promoters and WASH committees will be trained and provided with basic water quality testing kits, so they can flag any detected contamination.
Additionally, IOM and its partners will boost latrine coverage. This will involve the construction of 200 household latrines for persons with special needs and latrine blocks at schools and reception centres, as well as the provision of tools and implements to facilitate the building 1,000 household latrines.
In further efforts to reduce WASH-related diseases, IOM and its partners will conduct hygiene promotion campaigns and distribute hygiene kits that include water containers, soap, handwashing facilities, menstrual hygiene items and chlorine tablets
The promotion messages will be disseminated within the communities thanks to the involvement and training of School Management Committees and School Health Clubs, hygiene promoters identified among local faith and community leaders, and music, dance and drama groups.
The sensitization work will also deal with proper waste management, focusing on proper disposal, reuse and recycling of the waste in busy places like reception centers and market places, and on the safe final disposal of institutional waste, particularly from medical centres.