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Uganda, 18 October 2017: UNICEF increases access to sufficient water for South Sudanese refugees and host communities

© UNICEF Uganda
Fortunate Asianzu collects clean and safe water from the tap stand provided with UNICEF support.

By Catherine Ntabadde Makumbi

Fortunate Asianzu, 15 years old, is at a tap stand in Rhino Camp Refugee Settlement, Arua district collecting water. It takes less than a minute to fill her 20 litre and 5 litre jerry cans. This is because the pressure of the water from the tap stands is very high.

The tap stands which are connected to Rhino water pump station was constructed to benefit both host communities and refugees.

Asianzu, a resident of Ilioa village within Rhino Camp goes to the tap stand between 2-4 times in a day to collect water for the entire family. She has to walk around 400 meters meters each time she collects the water. To her, this distance is a relief, compared to where they used to collect water which is about 4kms. “If the pot is half way during the day, I then go twice a day. If it gets completely empty, I go four times,” she says.

“This tap stand is very near and provides us with clean water. We are happy with our new source. We used to fetch water from a dirty stream. It would be worse when it rains. The water would be infected, making it hard for us to drink it,” Asianzu explains to a team from UNICEF and Water Mission Uganda (WMU) at their home which is neatly swept and looks clean.

The team followed Asianzu from the tap stand to get a feel of the distance she covers and also observe the processes she undertakes after collecting the water.

Upon reaching home, Asianzu gets a big pot from their house, she removes the little water that was remaining and puts it in a saucepan. She then washes the pot, takes it back into the house and pours in the fresh water.

The water collected is used for drinking, cooking, bathing and washing. Aisanzu is not the only one benefiting from this water tap stand constructed by WMU on behalf of UNICEF. The system pumps water with solar energy from high yielding borehole to elevated tank which is 10 KM far from the pumping station and serves to 4,600 refugees and host communities through distribution pipe network with gravitational pressure.

James Amako, WMU Community Development Facilitator for Rhino Camp Settlement says they conduct community dialogues and house to house social mobilization to educate the host communities and refugees about safe water chain management and good sanitation including hygiene promotion.

WMU is UNICEF’s one of the implementing partners to provide safe and clean water and good sanitation and hygiene to the people in Rhino Camp refugee settlement.

In the settlement, South Sudanese refugees can not hide their joy and excitement of having water tap stands just a stone throw away from their homes and available at any given time.

Meir Mayak, 13, who came to Uganda in March 2016 says he collects water like 5 times are day. “I collect in the morning before I go to school and in the evening, I collect water for bathing. If the water was far, it would have been difficult for me to make 5 trips. But where I stay, within seconds, I am at the tap stands,” he explains with a smile on his face.

Mayak says before UNICEF and Water Mission extended pipe water system near them, they walked for 3kms to collect it from the host community. He mentions that he usually collects water with his sister and brother and they use it for drinking, bathing, washing, cooking among others.

In Rhino Camp, with funding from UKaid, UNICEF has installed two pump stations to serve the refugee communities including schools using solar motorized water supply systems.

Susan Audo, WMU water and sanitation specialist says that the communities are served with clean and safe water chlorinated within guidelines.

Funds from UKaid through UNICEF served about 37,000 refugees and host communities in West Nile by providing access of safe and clean water through construction and maintenance of four solar motorized water supply systems.

UNICEF and its partners continue to encourage the construction of solar powered water systems wherever it is feasible and boreholes fitted with hand pumps to provide a more reliable water supply system and trained local users to manage and maintain in future.

Recently UNICEF received a grant from Government of Japan to provide safe and clean water and good sanitation and hygiene to refugee and host population in Yumbe and Arua. The grant will be utilized to construct four solar powered motorized water supply systems, drilling 10 boreholes fitted with hand pumps and rehabilitating 20 boreholes and management of water facilities.

The funds will also be used to construct 7,000 household latrines and 10 blocks of institutional latrines in addition to promotion of safe hygiene practices.

 

 
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