Gaps in sanitation and drinking water services are large throughout Uganda. Population growth, lack of financing, governance challenges, and swelling refugee flows have all contributed to demand for water and sanitation infrastructure that outpaces service provision rates. Only 32 percent of Ugandans have access to a basic water supply, while 19 percent have access to basic sanitation and seven million Ugandans practice open defecation.
To help the Government of Uganda improve access to water and sanitation services, USAID will support of activities that increase access to sustainable water and sanitation, and promote the adoption of hygiene behaviors that are key to health and nutrition (subject to the availability of funds). USAID will focus on three priority themes: 1) behavior change in households, schools, and healthcare facilities; 2) institutional strengthening that enables better management and regulation of infrastructure; and 3) private sector activities that fill gaps in government-provided services. These themes feature prominently in USAID’s anticipated flagship water and sanitation investment, Uganda Sanitation for Health, which will also drive nutrition gains in support of food security nutrition goals.
USAID coordinates closely with other donors active in the WASH sector to maximize the effectiveness of its investments, including Austria, Denmark, the European Union, Germany, France, the African Development Bank, and the World Bank, which support a $1.4 billion investment in the sector through the Joint Water and Environment Sector Support Program (JWESSP). USAID’s investments are complementary and coordinated with the JWESSP.
Other U.S. government departments and agencies also play an active role in implementing activities that advance the Global Water Strategy and USAID Uganda Country Plan, including the U.S. Department of State, HHS/CDC, and USAID/OFDA and USAID’s Office of Food for Peace. For example, through the Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugee and Migration, the U.S. government is supporting emergency water needs for refugees, including the almost one million South Sudanese who are now living in northern Uganda.
Overall, activities under the USAID Uganda Country Plan are estimated to provide 750,000 Ugandans with sustainable access to basic water, and help 10,000 villages reach open defecation-free status. The results reported reflect targets at the time of this document’s production, which could change on an annual basis.