By Najib Mulema

A few years ago, Community Integrated Development Initiative (CIDI) came up with a ground breaking initiative aimed at improving the sanitation and hygiene of local people both in rural and urban areas.

Through the poor sanitation improvement project, CIDI has managed to construct a number of standard public facilities (toilets) for the people who cannot afford to own one.

Prior, people especially those living in water logged and slummy areas used to practice open defecation and some who owned toilets, they were in a very sorry state which means diseases attributed to poor sanitation such as diarrhoea were the order of the day.

But with CIDI, a number of households are now proud owners of standards toilets.

While conducting a media tour at some of their successful stories in Kawempe division, CIDI Sanitation Credit Officer Muwonge Mubasira revealed that it’s their obligation to take center stage in improving the sanitation of local communities since it’s one of the drivers for social economic development.

He said they have built a number of public facilities through the help of Africa Development Bank’s African Water Facility project and in Kawempe alone they have constructed them in five parishes as well as in several schools.

Salongo Ssekannyo Sulaiman, the Deputy Chairperson of Nsooba village in Kawempe applauded CIDI for constructing for them a standard public facility in the area abattoir which he said has greatly improved their sanitation.

“Before CIDI came on board, we had a dirty substandard toilet which used to put our lives at risk because every time we were scared of the diseases which could arise from such a toilet but ever since CIDI gave us this highly graded toilet everything is moving on well health wise, “said Sulaiman adding, “and what is more important is that this public facility caters for all kinds of people even those living with disabilities,”

Salongo Ssekannyo Sulaiman, the Deputy Chairperson of Nsooba village standing near the public facility which was constructed by CIDI

However, Sulaiman stressed out that the abattoir still needs more toilets to reduce on the congestion at the already in place facility.

On the other hand, Mubasira disclosed that CIDI also has a loan scheme for households who cannot afford to raise money for a standard toilets.

He said a number of households have been beneficiaries of this scheme whereby on request, CIDI constructs for you a toilet and you pay in pocket friendly installments.

Luyinda Steven Munana, a landlord in Bwaise 1 Kisenyi zone is one of the beneficiaries of the loan scheme.

Luyinda Steven Munana, one of the beneficiaries of CIDI loan scheme

He said by the time CIDI came for his rescue, he never had a single coin to put up a good toilet for his tenants but through a shs6.2 million household revolving fund he managed to get a standard toilet.

Munana’s toilet he got through the help of CIDI

CIDI also secured three cesspool trucks for Kawempe division which locals can hire at only shs60,000 to drain up their toilets.

Apparently, About 30% of Ugandans, over three million people, do not have toilets in Uganda, according to Engineer Aaron Mwidu Kabirizi in the Ministry of Water and Environment.

The disease burden resulting from poor sanitation costs Uganda sh389b every year, according to a report of the World Bank. In addition poor sanitation is contributing to loss of productive time. The sick people are not able to work and mothers have to spend productive time looking after their sick children.

CIDI is one of the partners and organisers of Uganda Media WASH awards.