Citizens of Butema in Buhanika Sub County demand for safe water sources: Leaders respond by granting them piped water.
In Buhanika Sub County in Hoima district, women and children complained of long periods of time spent trekking long distances and making cumbersome lines to collect water from the very few safe water points. This has constantly worked against women’s and children’s involvement in other productive activities such as agriculture, education among others. There was barely any information to guide Local governments and citizens’ interactions on service delivery, and for this particular case, citizens were not sensitized about the criteria and processes of getting safe water sources nearer to their communities. As a result of these information gaps, political leaders had not prioritized water as an issue since district statistics indicated that water coverage was above average at national level standards. The scarcity of safe water that has been the harsh reality faced by the citizens of Butema community has consequently led to increased cost of living, as the price attached to a 20 litre jerrican is 100/-. The health standards of the vulnerable groups (women, elderly, youth, People With Disabilities and People Living with HIV/AIDS) have consequently taken a downward trend since they can neither live up to the financial nor the physical burden.
A citizen using water from an unprotected source, this exposes other community members to health risks.
During a budget performance surgery organized by ACTADE in Buhanika sub-county (Hoima district), citizens from the affected communities were offered a platform to bring these issues to the attention of the duty bearers in the hope that they would be addressed. Such interactive platforms are created and encouraged by ACTADE as an effort to allow for pro-poor budgeting. During the budget performance surgery, the District water Officer Engineer Ibrahim Luswata was tasked to explain to the citizens the status of water services in the sub county and how citizens can request for water sources. After the leaders responding to citizens’ questions such as the need for the citizens to advocate for the water issue, the citizens wrote a position paper putting water and sanitation as their priority to be considered in the FY 2015/16 Budget allocation. Government has responded by granting Butema Mini water (piped) supply to serve over 5,000 people around Butema Town Board.
By Robert Rukahemurwa