JESE, partners distribute relief items in Nakivale refugee settlement
- Category: Jese News
- Date: 09-11-2022
BY CHRISTOPHER TUSIIME
It was joy on Monday, November 7 as Joint Effort to Save the Environment (JESE) in partnership with Countryside Environmental Conservation- Uganda (CECO-Uganda) distributed relief items to persons of concern in Nakivale refugee settlement, Isingiro district.
This was made possible with funding from Oxfam- US through the Emergency Response Fund (ERF).
The items distributed included; water purifiers, reusable sanitary pads, jerry cans, and soap. In Rubondo zone, 100 jerry cans and 50 purifiers were supplied to the most vulnerable people who were struggling to access clean water and 250 women and girls were given reusable sanitary pads. These were supplied because of the many women and girls who experience menstruation amidst a financial crisis, which leads to stigma and social exclusion.
Students and staff of Rubondo Community Secondary School after receiving the soap that was donated by JESE and other partners
At Rubondo Community Secondary School, students and staff received 200 bars of soap to improve on their cleanliness and hygiene.
Justine Gonza, who works with the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) as the Assistant Commandant of Rubondo, appreciated JESE and the partners, saying the relief items were timely.
“This has been a stone added to our efforts to ensure that these people live a dignified life. But we still ask for more. Most of the school girls here lack pads and the women among the new arrivals also need more jerry cans and soap. So, we ask for more support,” Gonza said.
During water crises, it is normally women and children who suffer most as they walk long distances to fetch water that they can use in their homes. This was the exact situation in Rubondo. The only major water source was a pond in a farm and it is used by the cattle at the same time.
According to a member of the Robondo C Village Health Team, Rose Dushimimana, the water is highly contaminated and was posing a higher risk of causing them waterborne diseases. Dushimimana was, however, appreciative and optimistic that the water purifiers will help them solve the challenge of unsafe drinking water.
The Rubondo C chairperson, Gamara-Yeli Rwamuhizi, said their area had many people who depended on unsafe stagnant water and was hopeful that the jerry cans will be used to collect and store rain water that is more safe.
“Women walk very many kilometers looking for firewood to boil water. With the support you have extended to us, we shall do our best to ensure we take clean and safe water,” Rwamuhizi said.
At Rubondo Community Secondary School, the head teacher, Edmond Mukasa, said that due to the high number of persons of concern, there is high competition for basic needs that are provided in the area and as a result, some households miss out. He asked other well-wishers to extend more support to them to ensure students, especially the girls, keep in school.
PRIVATE SECTOR ENGAGEMENT
To ensure the objectives of the intervention were achieved, JESE brought on board Spouts of Water, the manufacturers and supplies of Ceramic water filters (Purifiers).
According to Lucky John, the company’s Team Leader at the Fort Portal regional office, the ceramic water filters are locally made from clay and are very effective. Once the filters are modelled into a perfect shape, they are put inside a locally produced plastic bucket to give a complete filter.
“The filters work in two ways: physical filtration and chemical disinfection. The tiny pores in the clay containers that are placed inside the buckets trap all the germs and disease-causing bacteria while the thin layer of silver nitrate kills any remaining germs within the clay. The water that gets filtered out is natural, contains no harmful chemicals and is very clean and safe for drinking,” John said.
Johns added that the filtration rate is an average of 3 to 4 liters per hour and the life span is 2-3 years. The cost of each filter depends on the needs of the buyer. For instance, the one of 20 liters is at Shs 90,000 and can serve from 1-20 people. The one of 75 liters can serve 30 people and above and is sold at Shs 300, 000.
Rebceca Angumye, the ERF Program officer at JESE, said spouts of Water was particularly engaged because their filers are effective and have the capacity to purify stagnant.
The ongoing M23 insurgency in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has seen an increase in the number of people being displaced from their homes into the neighboring Uganda. Hundreds of these - especially women, girls and children - have been given settlement in Nakivale, Isingiro district, but the need for basic needs is overwhelming. Gonza said that over 20,000 people have already been settled in Nakivale, while thousands of others are in different refugee settlements around the country.
JESE as one of the members of the Western Uganda humanitarian Platform (WUHP) and also a consortium member ERF came in to provide emergency non-food relief items. The ERF was launched early this year as an initiative through which local humanitarian actors could respond timely to the various forms of humanitarian needs with in their respective communities of operation, timely and rapidly, to alleviate human suffering.
With support from Oxfam, the ERF facility focuses on providing more flexible funding to local humanitarian actors and enhance their capacity to make urgent and timely responses to emergencies and disasters.
Due to the overwhelming number of new arrivals from DRC, access to basic sanitation facilities remains a huge challenge especially among women, girls, elderly, the disabled and the children. The support from development partners is scanty compared to the population with over powering demand ranging from basic needs to non-food items. Access to safe water is a challenge as majority depend on open wells/ponds and stagnant water during the rainy season.
It is against this background that JESE in partnership with CECO-Uganda decided to focus their support on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) interventions. This leveraged on the current JESE program of Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) that is already being implemented in Isingiro district.