39 million

Uganda, the ‘Pearl of Africa’, is a small country with big attractions and even bigger aspirations. Here you’ll find the continent’s tallest mountain range and largest lake, the source of the world’s longest river, and 39 million people from more than 50 tribes.

Following historic conflicts, thirty years of stability have produced a steadily growing economy – yet almost four in ten Ugandans live on less than £1 a day. The Government wants to change this and make it a middle-income country as soon as 2020.

But more than 23 million people still do not have clean water. Much of Uganda is open water and swampland, but this is undrinkable. Meanwhile, high demand and poor management lead to shortages of clean groundwater – facilities are under strain in towns and cities, and the springs and wells that rural communities rely on are mostly used up.

We are therefore working with the Ugandan Government towards their ambitious goal of reaching everyone with clean water by 2040. And we have the experience to do it.

For 30 years, we have partnered with Ugandan local community organisations, helping them take ownership of sustainable projects that meet their needs and put them in control of their own futures.

We bring together people in health and education and put taps and toilets at the heart of hospitals and schools. To make an even bigger impact we work with citizens, particularly women and girls, and build their abilities to hold service providers accountable.

We will make sure leaders understand that better water, toilets and hygiene are crucial for a stronger economy and healthier society. By prioritising clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene, we can change normal for good.

people don't have clean water.

That's over 3 in every 5 people.

people don't have a decent toilet.

That's 31.6 million people without this basic necessity.

children under 5 die a year from diarrhea.

Caused by dirty water and poor toilets.

Restoring dignity in rural Uganda

Image: WaterAid/Eliza Deacon
Ever since I stopped going to the toilet in the open I feel my dignity has been restored.
Margaret Among, 45 - Bobol village

Around one in five people in developing countries have a disability or look after someone who does. Margaret Among, 45, lives in rural Bobol village and uses a wheelchair, which has made access to toilets very hard.

“With my physical disability I cannot squat,” she explains. “I can only sit. I grew up going to the toilet in the bush because latrines in my community did not have anywhere I could sit. But as a mature person, going in the bush is very shameful.”

Through our local partner, WEDA, we were able to train the community in how to make toilets that were accessible to people with disabilities. Then Margaret’s community built a new toilet for her, and she paid for its construction. 

She is delighted with the outcome. “My latrine is big. Inside there is a raised slab where I sit. I ride my wheelchair up to the entrance, and then I enter with ease.” 

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