Kihihi Hill Rainwater Harvesting and Sanitation Improvement

Kihihi is a small town situated in the north of the district of Kanungu,in south-west Uganda, just 10 miles from the border with the Congo. Kanungu (Kinkiizi Diocese) is one of two districts in south-west Uganda where WATSAN operates; the other, of similar shape and size, Rukungiri (North Kigezi Diocese) lies immediately to the east.

Kihihi has a population of some 15,000. There are refugees from the Congo in refugee camps near the town.  Kihihi Hill, with Kihihi High School as its central feature, lies a couple of kilometres out of town. The project addresses water supply and sanitation needs at the school of over 1,000 boys and girls, a small nursery school and a church. The total number of direct beneficiaries of 1,165 includes staff and a small local community.

The town is served by an intermittent gravity flow water supply scheme, which extends even more intermittently to Kihihi Hill, and two springs from which townspeople must draw water when the gravity taps fail or are subject to rota cuts. Children at the school generally draw water from two small rainwater catchment tanks, of total capacity 30 cu.m., or from the very intermittent gravity supply, but must often walk one kilometre to a town spring, and join queues of people collecting water there!

The sanitation facilities at the school are pitifully inadequate with a ratio of 1 latrine stance to 64 girls and 1 to 49 for boys. There are only two bath shelters, one for boys and one for girls. Both are dilapidated and inadequate.

The WATSAN project includes education and training of the pupils, staff and community in a wide range of health and personal hygiene related topics, together with the improvement of sanitation facilities, provision of hand washing facilities, and promotion of bath shelters, dish drying racks and tippy taps across the community. Gutters will be fitted to the large roofs of two classroom blocks to feed two 30 cu.m. rainwater harvesting tanks. Two five-stance lined pit latrines with emptying facilities, with a urinal for boys and changing room for girls respectively, plus an eight-compartment bath shelter for the girls and a two stance latrine for staff, will be constructed at the school. Gutters will be fitted to the large roof of the adjacent church to feed into a new 30 cu.m. tank. A five-stance latrine with changing room for females will be provided at the church for use by the nursery school, church congregation and the local community.

Excitingly, our partners in Uganda have raised over £4,000 towards this project from local contributions. Added to this, the 2019 Walk for Water and other fundraising means that there remains just over £10,000 to raise to complete the project.

Buhunga Gravity Flow Scheme

Buhunga is a recently commenced gravity flow scheme, which will be carried out in two phases, with funding from TearFund. Ultimately nine tapstands will serve over 2,000 people with first-time improved water supply, integrated with sanitation facilities and health and hygiene education. Construction of the first phase of this project was commenced in July 2016.

This project is designed to serve a total of 2,225 people of whom 1,084 live in households and 1,145 are pupils/students in institutions. More than 60% of the population in the project area draw water from unprotected springs, ponds and streams, and the rest fetch from a few and distant protected springs. A few have access to gravity-fed existing water supply, which will be incorporated into the proposed scheme.

In phase 1 a 30 m³ reservoir tank will be constructed with six tapstands and a three-kilometre pipeline. “Software” (educational) activities will involve carrying out hygiene and sanitation improvements, community mobilisation and capacity building, and construction of institutional sanitation facilities, which include a VIP latrine and an Ecosan Toilet for students and teachers respectively at Katurika Secondary School.

General sustainability work

Following the recent completion of a six-week study project, priorities for maintenance of schemes completed by WaterAid/WATSAN over the past 25 years are being established.

Concurrently with construction projects, the team is implementing a sustainability workplan, currently with attention to gravity flow schemes in Kiringa, Kahama and Karerema. At Kiringa it was discovered that there was need for urgent intervention because the O&M leadership was no longer working. The source was covered in bushes and shrubs, and there was no water that flows in most of the tap stands except for only 3 taps that receive it occasionally. Renewed encouragement and mobilisation of the community, and those repairs to the scheme which need the WATSAN Team’s assistance are being carried out during the first quarter of 2109.

A general sensitisation plan is being developed in order to ensure that the local communities give all the necessary attention to the operation, maintenance and administration of their schemes. Continuity of service to over 30,000 people is at stake in the development and implementation of this plan!

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