Tag Archives: Katine

How Katine’s residents got clean water and sanitation

The installation of more boreholes means many Katine residents once forced to drink from local swamps now have access to clean water. But a year-long strike by health volunteers has delayed progress on sanitation, says Sarah Boseley.

It’s been raining in Katine. The genteel English expression doesn’t do it justice. One moment the sun is out, the next instant the sky darkens and whole bathfuls of water tip from the skies. People flatten themselves against the mud walls of houses if they can. Those who can’t, walking slowly with heavy loads on their heads or cycling with wife and children on the pannier, are drenched in an instant. And it keeps raining. The swamps overflow.

Three years ago, I watched women with yellow jerrycans on their heads wade through the swamp, their skirts gathered up in one hand as best they could. They were on their way to a place where the swamp bubbles. There is a spring beneath. Their pitiful hope was that the water there would be cleaner. In the dry season, they would frequent an old shallow well beside the swamp. In the rains, it disappears, overrun by the high water and full of mud.

Edith Apiango, 23, and her grandmother, Erima Anayo, who says she is around 70, recall how it was. “When it rained, we crossed the swamp. The water came up to here,” says Apiango, drawing a line with her hand just below her hips. “The water there was flowing a bit. We walked 4km. I had a 20-litre jerrycan. I had to rest on the way back. I was very tired because I had to make two journeys.”

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Katine winner sets standards in national hygiene drive

Katine ‘ideal home’ winner sets standards in national hygiene drive

In a campaign to promote household and personal hygiene in Uganda, a Katine family has won an “ideal homestead” competition. How did they do it?

Almost everything about Charles Adengu’s home tempts you to look again. None more so than the five large, terrace-thatched huts with smooth walls painted with motorcycles, footballs, cattle or juicy-looking pineapples. A sixth, smaller hut, just outside the main compound, looks like a teenager’s fancy dwelling until you are told that it is actually the pit latrine, with a yellow jerry-can for hand-washing suspended from a stick in the ground nearby.

Pit latrine with hand-washing facility in foreground at Charles Adengu's compound. Photograph: Richard M Kavuma

Riding in on a sunny Thursday afternoon, I am struck by the cool, fresh air thanks to numerous trees that cast swaying shadows on the brown earth of an impeccably clean, well-swept compound in Katine, north eastern Uganda. I had not heard of Adengu until I was given his name a few hours earlier by the African Medical Research Foundation (Amref), which with the Guardian is supporting the Katine community development project. Adengu, with his family, is the proud winner of an “ideal home” competition in Katine, and sitting on the brick-bordered veranda of one of the huts, with its smooth, cow dung-plastered floor, I can see why.

“I was happy that my home was selected as the cleanest because I have always tried to have a spacious, clean homestead; even [our] previous homestead was nearly as good as this one,” Adengu tells me later under bright moonlight, after he has returned from grazing cattle.

Besides the cleanliness of the homestead, which is surrounded by hedges, Adengu says the water and sanitation inspectors from both Katine and Soroti district were impressed because they found “everything” that a home should have – pit latrine, bath shelter, rubbish pit, granary, chicken house, rack for utensils, etc.

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Uganda – parishes could lose out on money over latrine coverage

Katine parishes could lose out on money over latrine coverage

Sub-county decides to make pit latrine coverage a condition of receiving government funding for income generating schemes

 Residents of Katine sub-county could miss out on government funding if they do not improve pit latrine coverage in the area.

In an effort to eradicate poverty at household level, the national government is providing parishes with money to fund income generating projects. The money is given to the district and then passed to sub-county councils to distribute to their parishes.

As a way of promoting hygiene and sanitation in Katine, the sub-county council has decided to make pit latrine coverage a condition of receiving funding, which could mean some parishes missing out.

According to Charles Elasu, Katine parish chief, each parish should get around UShs 1.3m from the UShs 8m grant given to the sub-county under the government’s Community Driven Development (CDD) programme. The money comes out of the Local Development Grant, given to sub-counties to fund priority areas.

The programme was introduced to encourage a more bottom-up approach to development, giving local communities a chance to initiate projects that would otherwise not be considered a priority at sub-county level. Committees are set up to implement the projects.

However, in Katine the sub-county has stated that each parish must have 85% pit latrine coverage, significantly higher than now, if they want to receive the money.

“We have money coming from government meant to help reduce poverty at household level, but the condition of us benefiting from the grant is that each parish must have at least 85% pit latrine coverage. Unfortunately most of our villages are bellow average,” said Elasu at Katine parish’s sanitation committee meeting last month.

Those at the meeting, which included members of village health teams (VHTs), the heads of local councils and sanitation committee members, noted the need to vigorously mobilise their communities so they can benefit from the grant.

Some of those attending called on the sub-county to support them by ensuring that residents who have failed to dig latrines are arrested and punished.  “We cannot miss [out on] development just because of a few individuals who do not care about their lives,” said Martin Elunyu, Omaria village chairman.

Sub-county chief, James Obore, said he would support such a move.

Tool kits

However, others expressed concern over their ability to dig pit latrines, claiming they lacked the necessary tools.

During the first year of the Katine project, the African Medical and Research Foundation (Amref) distributed tool kits, which included wheelbarrows and spades, to each of the six parishes to help them dig latrines. The tool kits were supposed to rotate between villages. The meeting heard that most of the tools were now broken, which meant some villages had missed out, and there were calls for Amref to supply more.

Amref’s water and sanitation officer in Katine, John Leonard Kasule, ruled out the possibility of supplying more tools.

“There is no possibility of supplying more latrine digging equipment to communities in the subsequent years of the project. What was supplied was substantial to enable at least everyone in the communities to have a pit latrine,” he Kasule.

He added that the breakages were not due to the poor quality of the equipment.

“It’s true that some of the tools distributed to communities have broken, but this does not mean that they were of poor quality or weak. Many of the communities still have the tools and they are being used. It’s normal for some tools to break due to excessive use, and it also depends on the areas being excavated. If it’s a rocky area, the tools are likely the break faster than those used elsewhere.”

Kasule said the latest available data on latrine coverage in Katine is not broken down per parish. Instead it represents the total sanitation coverage of the entire sub-county, which stands at 34.2%, compared with 7% at the start of the project in 2007. Amref is now collecting data through the parish sanitation committees to get accurate figures at parish level.

He said Amref would continue to support VHTs and parish sanitation committees in conducting awareness campaigns in their communities aimed at promoting sanitation and hygiene. More materials are expected in the third year of the project.

One of the tasks of the sanitation committees is to ensure that each parish produces five villages that have “model homesteads” from which other residents can learn. Using Personal Hygiene and Sanitation Education (PHASE), the project believes children can play a part in influencing their parents to have the necessary facilities.

Source – The Guardian