peace winds JAPAN


[Uganda] New WASH Project for the New Arrivals at Kyaka II Refugee Settlement in Western Uganda


Since January 2022, there has been a rise in refugee influx yet again at Kyaka II Refugee Settlement in western Uganda due to the security situation in the neighboring country, the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Although the number of the new arrivals have decreased since May 2022, it has not ceased, and the reception capacity of the host communities is strained. As a result, not only the new arrivals, but also the people who have been living there -whether it be the refugee communities or the host communities- are in dire need of support. Considering this situation, Peace Winds (PW) have started a new Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) project in October 2022 targeting the areas in Kyaka II Refugee Settlement that are accepting high number of new arrivals.

The government of Uganda is in support of providing social services such as WASH, health, and education services to all the refugees and asylum seekers in the country, as it aims for refugees and host communities’ peaceful coexistence. Water, which is a communal resource, is so crucial to ones’ lives, that when it is inadequate, it leads to deterioration of health and hygiene environment, and it even leads to disputes among people fighting over the scarce resource. Yet, the number of hand pumps and water points are very limited, and many are broken due to over usage or deterioration. This situation leaves many with no choice but to fetch water from other sources like ponds. Women and children who are often responsible for fetching water face risks of encountering gender-based violence (GBV) because they must walk a long distance to get to the water points. Therefore, safe access to water is indispensable to maintaining life, peaceful co-existence, protection, and safety.

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Furthermore, water is needed for cleaning and bathing, for one to live a healthy and sanitary life. Many new arrivals, especially persons with specific needs (PSNs) like elderly persons, persons with disabilities, and female-headed households, do not possess latrines on their premises, therefore, they practice open defecation. This not only worsens the hygiene environment, but also break their privacy and dignity.

Lack of appropriate WASH environment also affects the educational environment that needs assistance. The shortage of latrines and changing rooms in schools and knowledge on menstrual hygiene management (MHM) among students are linked to less school attendance, or worse, school dropouts. Moreover, because there is a shortage of handwashing stations and hygiene knowledge and practices, there are risks of diseases like COVID-19 and Ebola Virus Disease spreading.

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To overcome these challenges, PW have set up the following project activities: 1) Water assistance in communities (repair of hand pumps, extension of water pipelines, etc.), 2) WASH assistance in school (construction of latrines and changing rooms, installation of handwashing stations, distribution of MHM kits, practicing hygiene promotion, etc.) and 3) Hygiene assistance for PSN households (construction of latrines, etc.).

In November, PW held meetings with the local government and other WASH organizations to share the abovementioned activities, and started assessing the broken hand pumps. In each activity, like repair of hand pumps, PW will involve the community members living in the settlement, to aim for knowledge and skills dissemination so that they can carry on with maintenance and hygiene practices on their own in the future, and they can build cooperative relationships amongst themselves through participating these activities.

This project is supported by funds from Japan Platform and warm contribution from you. Your continued support enables us to continue providing assistance for people in need.