Government’s plans to ensure there is a borehole constructed in each village in Uganda should address concerns by activists about the huge burden women and girls face in search of safe drinking water.
The reassurance was given by Eng. Joseph Oriono Eyatu, Commissioner for rural water supply and sanitation while receiving a petition Monday from women activists on behalf of Minister for Water and Environment Sam Cheptoris.
Eyatu said the ministry and government plans to increase access to clean and safe drinking water to communities through the construction of at least a borehole in every village of Uganda.
Statistics show that Uganda women and girls walk an average of 3.7 miles a day hence spending up to six hours daily collecting water. The time, the activists say, would be used for other productive activities.
Women activists from over 17 civil society organizations under their umbrella association Uganda Women Network (UWONET) petitioned government over the unavailability, inaccessibility and affordability of clean and safe water for many women across the country.
The women activists led by the Executive Director of UWONET Rita Aciro-Lakor said they are concerned about the challenges that women and girls face in accessing clean and safe water, noting that collecting water is a key gender role in the community mainly assigned to women and girls.
“Aware that although the water and environment sector performance report of 2015 showed that access to improved water supplies in urban areas is 73% and in rural areas was 65%, 10 million Ugandans still need safe water. The burden of collecting water also still lies heavily on women who have to walk an average of 3.7 miles a day to collect water,”said Aciro
“The effects of climate change have also increased the incidences of drought compounding the problems faced by women.”
The activists and hundreds of other women from mostly slum areas of Kampala participated in a 2 km “Make Access to Clean and Safe Water a Reality for Women” Water Walk from Kyadondo Rugby Grounds to National Water and Sewerage Corporation plant in Bugolobi to raise awareness about the burden women face .
Action for Development(ACFODE), Association of Uganda Women Lawyers( FIDA-U), Forum For Women in Democracy(FOWODE) and Water Aid also joined the activities Monday that are part of the activities to mark the third women’s week.