Care and Assistance for forced Migrants (CAFOMI) is an indigenous Ugandan Non-Governmental humanitarian assistance service provider operating in the Bubukwanga transit Centre and other refugee centers in the country, CAFOMI is committed to providing access to safe water, adequate sanitation and improved hygiene to POCs (Persons Of Concerns’) and the host community, therefore the organization’s Programmes in WASH sector focus on increasing access to clean water, adequate sanitation and hygiene services.
It is important to note that water and sanitation are essential for life and health, but more so essential for dignity and prosperity. Access to water and sanitation is a human’s right and it is universally fundamental to every child and adult. But due to poor sanitation and hygiene, limited access to safe drinking water, thousands of children have been exposed to diseases and risk of death. According to Child Health Epidemiology reference group of WHO and UNICEF, 2012, diarhoea kills 2,195 children every day. And this is mainly caused by drinking unsafe water, inadequate sanitation and insufficient hygiene.
Following the prolonged instability in the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Congolese nationals (332,506, 26.8% of the total number of refugees, UNHCR figures, 2019), have continued moving to Uganda. CAFOMI has been deliberately maintaining the water facility in Bubukwanga in preparedness for possibility of an influx of new refugees in the country.
According to the National and International Humanitarian service provider press statement published on Friday, May 3, 2019, on the OXFAM website https://uganda.oxfam.org/press_release/eastern-drc-tens-thousands-forcibly-displaced-surge-violence over 60,000 people in DRC have been displaced, seven thousand are sheltering in a primary school just 1 km from the border crossing to Uganda, due to attacks which began on March 30 and have continued for a month, around the locality of Kamango, Beni territory of North Kivu. These people are living in make-shift facilities, cramped and unsanitary conditions, there are concerns about reports that Congolese border officials at at least sixteen official crossings are preventing people from getting into Uganda, but in the event that they are allowed to cross the border, they will become the direct beneficiaries of this water facility.
However the locals (Host Communities) in Bubukwanga have been benefiting from the water facility. Bubukwanga Sub county has 6 parishes, 45 villages (Land Conflict Mapping Tool figures), and a population of 23,107, 11,093 male and 12,014 female (UBOS figures, 2016). The water source is called Kirumya which is located in Kyamukube village in Bukonzo sub county Bundibugyo district. CAFOMI manages the three tanks which were donated by UNICEF and handed over to CAFOMI/ HIJRA in 2014 when the two organizations took over the management of Bubukwanga transit centre. The organisation working closely with the district officials, has been managing the water tanks, doing all the maintenance and ensuring continuous functionality of the water facility in preparedness of the anticipated POCs new arrivals and also for the host community domestic consumption, from 2014 to date.
The three 70 T reservoir water tanks have a capacity of 70,000 litres each. One tank is in Kyamukube village and the two are in the Bubukwanga transit centre. In Bukonzo Sub County there are two tap stands in Kyamukube village. Three tap stands are in kirumya village, one in Bundimulangya village, one in Bundikeki and one in Bundimulombi village. There are four tap stands in the transit centre and each tap stand has six head taps which makes a total of 24 head taps in the centre.
The water source is in the Rwenzori Mountains and water is supplied to the reservoir water tanks then to the population through the Gravity Flow System (GFS). This has improved access to safe water, adequate sanitation and improved hygiene within the transit centre and the host community, since tap stands are distributed within the different villages of Bubukwanga and beyond, therefore preventing the spread of diseases related to use of unclean water, poor hygiene and inadequate sanitation.
According to the Monitoring and Evaluation Programme Coordinator, Morris Ayikanying, CAFOMI continues to register challenges of vandalism, the locals from the communities not connected to the GFS line, continue to dig and rudimentary connect their pipes on the main supplying pipelines running to the reservoir water tanks, this results into leakages leading to constant repairs that come with a cost implication. However, the organization is working closely with the district water officials to ensure that the communities not yet connected to the GFS line, are sensitized to create community-water-user-groups to mobilize resources for acquiring the basic materials for CAFOMI WASH team to train community water technicians on ground who can properly connect these villages on the GFS water system already established.
“CAFOMI keeps on lobbying for good will ambassadors to come on board and fund the provision of materials, so that water can be extended to villages that have not yet accessed the water. The identified community-water-user-groups will be trained and skilled on how to manage and mobilize funds for future management of the water facility within the communities without necessarily depending on external funds.” Ayikanying said.
CAFOMI alongside the UN and other aid agencies, are looking forward to increasing access to safe and sufficient water, promotion of good sanitation and hygiene practices, all aimed at maintaining good and healthy life for affected population to live in dignity.