KAMPALA —NGOs dealing in water and sanitation have expressed concern over the increasing funding gaps for the sector quoting the UGX 78 billion sum as “very inadequate.”
Speaking at the opening of a three-day 12th Uganda Water and Sanitation NGO Network Annual CSOs WASH Forum in Kampala, Ms. Yunia Yiga Musaazi, the umbrella Executive Director referred to the amount, as one that cannot enable them to fully coordinate and implement programs— requesting the government to look into the matter.
UWASNET is the national coordinating organization for Civil Society Organizations including social enterprises, development programs, the private sector, and NGOs in the Water and Environment sector.
It’s executive director urged member organization to push for partnerships with government to ensure that majority Ugandans get access to to clean water and sanitation facilities.
“Issues around inadequate financing are constraining our operations,” Ms. Musaazi disclosed.
She told reporters that government financing of WASH docket has reduced from UGX. 90 billion to UGX. 78 billion, further limiting their potential to reach more Ugandans.
“Donor support to WASH is also declining,” she added, asking the government to promote the cause of the network.
Aside from finding new sources of financing, she urged member NGOs to make better use of existing funds to produce results that will make the sector more attractive to outside investors
She also urged NGOs to work collaboratively with the local government to help in enhancing the coordination mechanism.
An executive director of one of the NGOs who asked not to be named said there is a lack of political prioritization of the sector, especially of sanitation, which leads to a lack of funding.
She said the existing funding is also not used in an efficient way by some of the NGOs, which in turn leads to a sector that is hard-pressed to attract both public and private funding and seen as a drain on budgets, not as an investment.
Latest figures show that that big number of Ugandans do not have access to safe water, while others lack access to improved sanitation facilities.
Due to disparities in water access in Uganda, urban people living in poverty pay as much as 22 percent of their income to access water from water vendors.
Mr. Wilberforce Kimezere, a water and sanitation specialist with UNICEF highlighted that climate change has exasperated access to clean water in many parts of the country due to drought, floods and water pollution.
He said the climate change hazards are exposing the country’s infrastructure.
“There’s low capacity by the government and communities to adapt and mitigate the effects of climate change,” he said.
He also called for adoption and mitigation measures to build resilience.
On his part, Silas Aogon, the Member of Parliament representing Kumi Municipality and Chairperson of the Parliamentary Forum on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (PFWASH) said adaptation to climate change is an urgent matter that must be addressed.
“Before we talk about increasing the budget, we must build capacity of MPs and all actors on issues around climate change and adoption.”