Our Patron, Bishop Andrew Watson, and three Trustees travelled to Uganda on 3rd April 2014.
We received the warmest of welcomes, Uganda style, wherever we went with the local WATSAN team to visit our sponsoring dioceses, projects and beneficiaries. We wish to thank everyone, from the Diocesan Bishops and the Co-ordinator through to the beneficiaries and practitioners in the field, for the warm welcome and generous hospitality experienced everywhere in both Dioceses/Districts throughout the tour. A particular highlight was the singing, dancing and recitation of pupils at the Burema Secondary School.
We visited several projects under construction at Nyarushanje, Nyabiteete and Burema, several recently completed at Kinyasano High School and Katebeere, and three older gravity flow schemes at Karerema, Kifunju and Nyambizi. We were greatly impressed by the quality of workmanship displayed in the recently completed projects and the skill, determination and dedication of the masons, plumbers, community mobilisers and hygiene educators. There were particularly fine examples at Nyabiteete spring reconstruction, Nyarushanje (reconstruction of the Ruburizi source and pipeline), the bath shelter at Burema Secondary School, and the spring reconstruction at the nearby trading centre.
A particular focus and highlight of the Tour was a Workshop at the Acacia Hotel in Mbarara attended by 31 people including the Bishops of North Kigezi and Kinkiizi, a representative of the Directorate of Water Development (DWD) in Kampala, the District Water Officers from Rukungiri and Kanungu, representatives of the NKKD WATSAN Programme Management Committee, including the Chairman, LC5, Rukungiri District, the Co-ordinator, and the whole of the Ugandan Team. There were presentations by Engineer Gilbert Kimanzi, Deputy Commissioner at the Department of Water Development in Kampala, in which he acknowledged that the role of NGOs such as NKKD WATSAN is indispensable because government, although good at policy, was not good at implementation and lacked resources in the front line for water development. Subsequent discussion amongst delegates considered the official coverage statistics for water services to be misleading because they are based on a maximum distance of 1.5 km. from home to safe source.
Bishop Dan Zoreka’s and Bishop Patrick Tugume Tusingwire’s papers, respectively on the twin challenges of basic health practices and hygiene, and environmental degradation of water sources, highlighted major challenges facing Uganda in these areas.
There were valuable contributions by the Co-ordinator and members of the WATSAN team on the current programme and some of the challenges that had been faced and overcome, and lessons learned, which raised some personnel issues needing to be addressed. Canon Eric Kamuteera, who finally retired in December 2013 after over 20 years of distinguished service with WATSAN, presented a paper on the history of WATSAN, beginning with WaterAid in 1984, through the foundation of NKKD WATSAN and the UK Support Group in 2004–05. The workshop was enhanced by a series of discussions in small groups on “Mission, Vision and Objectives”, “Role of the Programme Management Committee”, and “Relationships and Communication”. A communique has been produced recording the conclusions and recommendations of the Workshop.