KAMPALA – Stakeholders in Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) have been called on to use evidence-based research to inform development decisions in the sector amid the rapid increase of administrative units countrywide.
Speaking at a National Dialogue on WASH data discrepancies in Uganda, Mr. Joseph Epitu, the Commissioner, Water, and Environment Sector Liaison Department, Ministry of Water and Environment said that good quality data is essential for the government and institutions to accurately plan, fund and evaluate development activities.
He said the challenge of credible data arises from the fact that various institutions involved in the implantation of WASH activities are collecting their own data using tools that are not harmonized with the ministry’s data collection parameters and reporting system.
That, he said, affects planning and budgetary implications.
“We can’t talk authoritatively about the number of water sources and wash facilities in the country and the number of communities being served,” said Epitu.
He said that different players report data that informs their objectives including attracting donor funding.
“It has affected the planning processes because we have challenges in regard to different figures as far as administrative units in the country are concerned. UBOS has different figures, the ministry of local government has different figures, and the Electoral Commission has different figures and that means you can’t plan with figures that aren’t authentic because then you come up with interventions that will not deliver on the national targets,” Mr. Epitu told reporters, adding that ministry is final stages to migrate from paper based-data collection by the end of 2022/2023 financial year.
He said the Ministry of Water and Environment would put up a task team that will bring together all the stakeholders including external partners involved in implementing WASH activities to come up with standard tools for the collection of WASH data.
“We are also coming up with coordination mechanisms for coordination of partners and we hope this should help us to improve our data management activities,” he added.
Hon Silas Aogon, the chairperson of, the Parliamentary Forum on Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (PFWASH) committed to pushing for a new law and for policies around emerging administrative units.
“As the Parliamentary Forum on Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene, we have the plan to visit the Head of State and share with him the challenges this sector is facing ranging from funding gaps to all these issues talked about here and tell him, look, there’s an urgent need for us to prioritize water and we will then move to all other ministries such as Finance and Ministry of Water,” he said.
James Cletto Mumbere, the Policy and Advocacy Coordinator at the Uganda Water and Sanitation Network (UWASNET) said the dialogue provided a platform for member partners to have a roundtable discussion and in the process helped them to build a consensus for monitoring and collection of WASH data nationally, based on the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation.
Mumbere said decisions must be based on robust evidence to allow for the effective allocation of resources.
“It has been found that in many instances, there are so many discrepancies when it comes to Wash data in Uganda. For example, water sources and the emerging new administrative units aren’t captured in national data,” he said, noting that without adequate data providing the right information at the right place and time, evidence-based decision-making for better Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene services is impossible.
Participants shared experiences on data discrepancies and engaged the duty bearers and policymakers to improve the data challenges in Uganda.
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