More than 800 000 additional Ugandans have gained access to safe drinking water following the execution of the second phase of the Water Supply and Sanitation Programme, according to a project completion report for the African Development Bank released on 1 February.

The programme was implemented between 2016 and 2021. Financed with a $91.98 million loan from the African Development Fund, the concessional window of the African Development Bank Group, the programme benefited a total of 834 894 people versus an initial target of 753 000. The beneficiaries include 541 070 people in rural areas and 293 824 in small towns.

“Overall, the project has made satisfactory progress towards achieving UN Sustainable Development Goal 6,” the report notes. “It has contributed significantly to Uganda’s national goals of ensuring access to water and sanitation services for all. The installations will be able to efficiently incorporate all planned connections over the lifespan of the systems.”

Eight major gravity-flow systems were completed, with 14 426 connections serving nearly 346 224 people. The Lukalu-Kabasanda system, in particular, is 92% complete, with 370 connections serving 13 272 people. The Orom system is 90% complete, with 142 connections serving 3 408 people. Thirty solar-powered mini-networks have been constructed, with 125 water points serving approximately 9 500 people.

Forty solar water systems are in the final stages of completion, with 370 water points that will serve about 173 058 people. Twenty-five public sanitation facilities have also been built in rural areas and 39 sanitation facilities in small towns. The small towns have also benefited from 25 piped water supply systems with 9,166 connections for now. The project also addressed urban feacal sludge management, putting in place two new feacal sludge plants and Cesspool desludging trucks. 

In addition, 62 completed water sources have benefited from actions intended to protect the water catchment points. A total of 485 women and 352 men have been trained in rural and urban areas in different skills that aim to restore the ecosystem and improve their livelihoods. Of this group, 389 rural people (287 women and 102 men) and 238 urban people have been trained in seed nursery management and 210 (149 women and 61 men) in commercial business management.

Finally, 14 seed nurseries have been established. They have produced more than two million tree seedlings, which have been offered or sold to the population for planting. Water and sanitation-related businesses have been established, including the manufacture of briquettes, plant-based petroleum jelly and paper bags, and the construction of energy-saving cook stoves.

“Cook stoves and briquettes have made a significant contribution to reducing the amount of wood used for cooking, thus protecting the environment,” the report concludes.