By Max Patrick Ocaido
The Parliamentary Forum on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (PF-WASH) in collaboration with other civil society organizations is pushing for the National Community Works, 2016 Bill to promote public hygiene and sanitation.
The forum that is chaired by Ngora Woman MP Jacqueline Amongin has currently organized a symposium on November 15, 2019 under the theme: “The Role of Parliament in Positioning Water, Sanitation and Hygiene as a key driver for National Development.”
According to Robert Otim, National Director, Habitat for Humanity, the symposium will provide an opportunity for different partners to exhibit and showcase their products, while beneficiaries including children will make presentation on how WASH has impacted their lives.
UPF-WASH Chairperson Amongin said that her committee is fast-tracking the National Community Works, 2016 Bill also known as the “Bulungi Bwansi” Bill that is in the offing. In 2016, Gaffa Mbwatekamwa (Kasambya County) sought leave to present a private members bill that is meant to call upon the citizens of Uganda to be patriotic and loyal, to engage in gainful work for the good of themselves, family and the common good and to contribute to the well-being the community where the citizens live.
The proposed Bill also states that citizens have a duty to protect and preserve public property, render national service and protect a clean and healthy environment. Amongin said that whereas the proposal has delayed to return to the floor of Parliament, the committee MPs have already back-benched with other countries and the Bill is currently with the legal counsels for drafting.
“This Bill is in the offing and very soon we shall get space on the order paper to debate it. We need this law because in Uganda, we have bad manners; people litter anyhow. You cannot go urinating on the road and volunteering your faeces on the road,” Amongin said. She urged Ugandans to have a changed attitude if challenges of sanitation and hygiene are to be addressed.
Water Aid Country Director Jane Sembuche Mselle, called upon a jointed effort to raise resources to help promote hygiene and sanitation especially in schools and health sector.
“Very few of our institutions have good sanitary requirement. This demands us to come together as partners, CSOs and decision makers on how to accelerate towards achieving 2030 goals,” Sembuche said.
Apparently, 70 pupils share one latrine out of the recommended 40 pupils per latrine. “If 70 kids have to line up to use a toilet then it means our kids lose lots of time and are exposed to diseases. So school WASH is among our focus this year,” Otim said.
A report from UNICEF shows that over 800m people worldwide do not have clean water and 2.3billion do not have a decent toilet.