CAFOMI transforming lives in Bududa and Sironko through the WASH rapid response project

By Nicholas Shawn Mugarura and Vivian Aita


In December 2019, heavy rains caused devastating floods, landslides, and windstorms that affected mostly districts in the Western, Northern, and Eastern regions of Uganda.

The disaster affected flora and fauna, claiming lives of at least 38 people from Bududa and Sironko, displacing 65,250 others into neighboring districts such as Bulambuli and Mbale.  

With recent funding from United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) Rapid Response Window through International Organization for Migration (IOM), Care and Assistance for Forced Migrants (CAFOMI) continues to support people affected by floods and landslides.

CAFOMI is currently supporting emergency provision of safe water and sanitation services in Bududa and Sironko districts.

According to Eng. James Keckom Birumu, Project Manager CAFOMI, rapid WASH response focuses on both hardware and software of WASH, which includes constructing a total of 150 mobile toilets, 18 protected water springs, 4 institutional latrines and 2 water Gravity flow systems (GFS) with 36 tap stands. This investment will last minimum of 15 years and the estimated number of beneficiaries according to UNHCR 2017 standards per facility for the project is illustrated on the table below:


No beneficiaries per unit

Total no. of Beneficiaries for the investment

Water Springs

18 x 400 @


GFS Tap Stands

36 x 250 @


Latrine Stances

4 x 50 @


Mobile Toilets

150 x 20 @





Under WASH software we will do water quality testing, supply of Non-Food Items (NFIs) to 2000 households, supply of COVID-19 protection and preparedness items to 28 institutions and promote effective sanitation/ hygiene for positive behavior change among the communities and the institutions,” Birumu said.

Agriculture was greatly affected since crops and livestock were washed away by floods and this negatively impacted on the general livelihood of the communities.

Mr. Milton Walubiri, 47-years of age, a father of six in Bududa, one of the districts greatly affected by the landslides, said “the landslides destroyed my crops and also killed my friends who were helping me. I’m now left with orphans to take care of, after my brother succumbed to the landslide

Walubiri is grateful for this project. He said he is earning some income from the construction of mobile toilets, and more so these mobile toilets will improve on sanitation and hygiene in the community. Safe water and effective hygiene and sanitation will no doubt improve the health of community members.

The project is well underway, most of the work has been done, 9 protected water springs have been completed in Sironko district and construction is ongoing in Bududa district, Birumu said.

The four institutional latrines in both districts are being rehabilitated, with the GFS being worked on alongside the construction of the 150 Mobile toilet pits which is now at 80% completion rate, he added.

“Through engagement with the district officials of Bududa and Sironko districts, the Chief Administration Officers (CAOs) and their technical personnel in relevant sector areas of water and environmental health and community services, it was agreed to focus in the Sub Counties of Busulani, and Zesui in Sironko and then Bubiita, Buwale and Bukalasi in Bududa district as geographical scope of the project”

IOM, WASH Field coordinator, Julius Isingoma said that generally the project will be able to achieve its target with establishing the water systems, rehabilitation of sanitation facilities and supplying of hygiene kits.

“I can say we are now at 90% in Sironko and 75% in Bududa where we experienced delayed reporting of contractors but I still hope we will complete everything on time” Isingoma said

Isingoma commends CAFOMI WASH team for a great job they are doing and also the district support of Sironko and Bududa WASH departments. He believes the project will be able to achieve its target.

These were worst off but there are other facilities for water and sanitation that require rehabilitation. For CAFOMI to continue supporting more institutions and families more support will be required. CAFOMI appreciates UN CERF, IOM support to transform lives of communities in these sub-counties but calls for more partners to join in. The WASH demand is still high in these two districts.  

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