April 12, 2022

Mission Trip to Uganda: Supporting the Implementation of Progressive Refugee Policy in the Water and Sanitation Sector

Project Title: R Wash Programme – Capacity Building and Support for Water Utility Companies in Somalia, Ethiopia, Uganda, and Sudan

Assignment Location: Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Uganda, and Kenya
Client: UNICEF Kenya
Origin of Funding: KfW
Beneficiary: Water utility in Kabasa and Qansaxley (Somalia); Kabribeya, Sheder, and Aw-Barre (Ethiopia); Rwamwanja (Uganda) and Kasalla (Sudan)

Picture Source: HYDROPHIL/S.HofbauerHYDROPHIL’s specialist Dr Sonja Hofbauer in consultation with the Rwamjanja Water and Sanitation Board

Uganda’s progressive policy has been widely praised since it is a development-based hosting of refugees. Refugees have the right to work and freedom of movement. The central element to ensure “self-reliance” is allocating land for refugees to live and farm on.

HYDROPHIL’s engagement under the R-WASH programme focuses on the Rwamwanja settlement in the west of Uganda. The ongoing violence has hindered refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo to return to their homes for years, and new refugees continue to arrive.

The sector has fully embraced the refugee policy and aims at providing services equally to refugees and hosting communities. The regulatory framework is premised on the Water and Environment Sector Refugee Response Plan of 2019, aligned with the National Development Plan III 2020/21-2025/26. To operationalise the plan, the National Water and Sewerage Cooperation (NWSC) has been put in charge to provide piped water supply in the settlement, in addition to the adjacent Town Council.

“With the NWSC, we have a great partner. We hope that with improved service levels, the willingness to pay among refugees and Ugandans can be augmented. This requires time and close cooperation between refugees, local government, as well as the NWSC, UNICEF, and UNHCR. In the transition and thereafter, the Settlement Water and Sanitation Board plays a critical role to engage everyone and ensure quality in service provision”, says Dr. Sonja Hofbauer, HYDROPHIL´s Institutional Development Specialist.

HYDROPHIL will continue to support utilities in Uganda and Ethiopia and Sudan using its expertise and innovative strength to pave the way towards sustainable service provision in water and sanitation.