Ugandan drillers receive training at the Water Resources Institute

Being back in Uganda again after an absence of five years gives me immense joy. This country of warmth, friendliness and humour, where one can literally have an engaging conversation with anyone, whether askari (guard), taxi driver, fruit and vegetable seller, driller or civil servant. Thus, my few days here have been filled with shared laughter and kaboozi (Luganda for conversation or gossip, but the word conveys so much more).

My visit to Kampala has coincided with the first day of a three-day training entitled “Practical Skills in Drilling” by Uganda’s Water Resources Institute. The training is for 25 drillers and assistant drillers, and comprises a classroom day, followed by two days in the field. As we sit waiting for the training to commence, I ask the participants (all men so far) why there are no women drillers. We talk about the man’s world of drilling (stamina needed), and the women’s world of fetching water (stamina needed). The discussion is engaging and together we reflect on the role of women and men in society and the home. For my side I feel proud to be one of the few women involved in drilling and talk about the two manual companies that I have heard about in Zambia which are run by women. On the spot, I really wish that there were many more of us….

The training commences. The course is a collaboration between the Ministry of Water and Environment (MWE) Water Resources Institute (WRI) and the Uganda Drilling Contractors Association (UDCA). The Chair of the Association, Dr Flavio Pasqualato from Draco (U) Ltd., gives a his opening words of encouragement, followed by the Managing Director, Anthony Luutu of Aquatech Ltd. I am invited to say a few words, and express my delight at seeing training of drillers that I wish was happening on a regular basis in ALL countries on the African continent and beyond.

Training 1

Gracious Sembali systematically collects the expectations of the participants

Dr Callist Tindimugaya (MWE) officially opens the training, pointing out that when people are learning informally from each other, that the message will change over time. I think of the game of Chinese whispers and vow to include it as an icebreaker at the start of my next drilling training course make his point. Callist also adds that “Nobody has all the knowledge; you can learn from each other”, something that is key in adult education.

Training 2

Dr Callist Tindimugaya explains the hydrogeology of Uganda to participants

Trying to raise drilling professionalism is a significant undertaking, and I am struck by the pragmatic messages that Callist conveys to all of us. “If you and your colleagues are doing a good job, you will raise the respect for drillers in Uganda…..we want drillers to be seen as serious and doing good quality work”.

It is clear that the training that the institute has been undertaking has had an effect on training methods. Gracious Sembali from Hippo Technical Services systematically collects the expectations of the participants, and writes them up on a flip chart, carefully grouping them:

  1. Improve knowledge and skills (e.g. when to stop drilling, mud drilling techniques, formation collapse, drilling in sediments)
  2. Standardisation in drilling
  3. Knowledge of different formations
  4. Certification as a driller by UCDA
  5. Knowledge-sharing including experiences
  6. Hydrological aspects and siting
  7. Handling of clients and public relations
  8. Availability of geological maps
  9. Expectations of facilitators
  10. Benefits of UCDA membership and recognition

As I listen, I am struck by the number of issues that are beyond the training course itself, something I have also observed in the course I have run, or managed. The specific skills sought and wider concerns are intertwined.

Alas, I am only able to attend the first presentation, an overview of Uganda’s geology and hydrogeology. I learn a lot, and observe the participants taking notes, and later asking questions. There is so much to be learnt, and the eagerness of these drillers and assistant drillers is apparent. I am delighted at what I see, encouraged, and then start thinking about the number of drillers on the African continent, and that this is needed for all. I try not to get disheartened. There are national training institutes undertaking short courses like these, or longer courses in Nigeria and Ethiopia. In some countries, people are more than aware of the need, and the demand, but are looking left and right for funding, without success. I am glad to have run similar courses, but am so aware that to date these have been ad hoc.

So my closing words? A huge thank you to the Ministry of Water and Environment’s Water Resources Institute and the Uganda Drilling Contractors Association (UCDA) for what you are doing. It is inspirational.

Now, how can training in drilling professionalism be institutionalised elsewhere?

Photo credits: Dr Kerstin Danert.

How a radio talk show is promoting WaSH in Northern Uganda

This is a guest blog by Justine Olweny, a Ugandan WASH entrepreneur and resource centre founder. You can find out more about his activities here.

“YOT KOM LONYO” (meaning “Health is wealth”) is a WaSH campaign radio program talk show conducted every Thursday from 16:00–17:00 hours East African Time. It encourages the involvement of local entrepreneurs, school leaders, pupils, politician, district technocrats, and partner representatives on water, sanitation and hygiene (WaSH) promotion discussions. It has promoted the utilisation and ownership of WaSH products among the communities of Kitgum District.

The weekly talk show was started in September, 2018 and has so far covered 7 WaSH topics within 22 episodes.This involves the engagement of eight stakeholders within the region being represented in at least two sessions. This talk show was motivated by the need for community ownership in safe WaSH infrastructures created by difference agencies, including the government.

Mightyfire 91.5FM has a total coverage of about 1,500,000 listeners in Northern Uganda. It has made significant progress in reaching out to the majority of refugees from South Sudan in the local language Acholi, which is spoken by them. The intention was to prepare for the rainy season, which often leads to an increase in the prevalence of waterborne diseases, including cholera, through the production of short radio spots to promote hand-washing with soap before eating and boiling drinking water to avoid illness.

This 6-month partnership between Mightyfire 91.5FM and Water Access Consulting is a pilot project to explore the possibilities of promoting hygiene and sanitation products and services led by the communities of Kitgum District. It was inspired by the webinar From Beneficiaries to Business: Promising findings from customer-centered approaches to sustainable water services.

Achievements:

  • Improved pit toilets (DuraSan and the SaTo pan supported by the “Sanitation as a business” programme of Water for people Uganda) are being constructed by landlords, while demand for improved pit toilets has increased together with the services provided by the pit-emptying gulpers team of the Municipality.
  • The radio programme materials were developed in accordance with the context, with compelling radio programmes that engage listeners in good hygiene practices, and with references to Lifewater mWaSH and UNHCR WaSH manuals.

Learnings:

  • The materials and topics discussed are generated by the audience themselves, for example during a school Q&A session, and during interviews
  • The audience pay a lot of attention to jingles, and they memorise short spot messages instead of the entire radio talk show
  • It is very motivating for both parents, elders and pupils to listen to their recorded debate play over the radio.

What do you think? How can we create more WaSH service demand using media? Do you have any examples of good WaSH campaigns in the media, that have contributed to behavior change in WaSH? Please share your experiences below.

(Photo credit: Water Access Consulting Archive)

Regulating the private sector

This is the fourth and final post in a series of four blogs entitled “Professional Borehole Drilling: Learning from Uganda” written by Elisabeth Liddle, and a RWSN webinar in 2019 about professional borehole drilling. It draws on research in Uganda by Liddle and Fenner (2018). We welcome your thoughts in reply to this blog below.

Great gains have been made in recent years regarding access to improved water sources in rural sub-Saharan Africa. Concerns have been raised, however, over the extent to which these sources are able to provide a reliable and safe water supply in the medium to long term (for example, Foster et al., 2018; Kebede et al., 2017; Owor et al., 2017; Adank et al., 2014).

There has been considerable focus on post-construction operations and maintenance, but increasing attention is on the quality of the implementation to prevent water point failure in the future (UNICEF/Skat, 2016, Bonsor et al., 2015; Anscombe, 2011; Sloots, 2010).

Skat Foundation and UNICEF have been key actors here, jointly advocating for an increase in drilling professionalism across sub-Saharan Africa. They recently released a guidance note on drilling professionalism (UNICEF/Skat, 2016), highlighting six key areas that need to be addressed to increase the quality of implementation work (see Figure 1).

In this blog I focus on the ‘institutional frameworks’ aspect in Figure 1, with specific attention on the ways in which Uganda has sought to improve regulation of the private sector in recent years by introducing licensing systems for both drilling contractors and consultants.

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For the past two decades, Uganda has strongly encouraged the involvement of the private sector in the siting and drilling of rural water points (Danert et al., 2003). Having encouraged privatisation, however, the Ministry of Water and the Environment (MWE) recognised that they had a crucial role to play within this: regulation of the private sector. Regulation efforts began in 1999 with the introduction of drilling contractor licenses. To gain a license, drilling contractors must submit documentation outlining their equipment, their staff and CVs, and their work history. Premises and equipment are then assessed, with the drilling contractor’s technical and financial capacity being at the forefront throughout. Drilling contractor licenses must be renewed annually. Updated lists of licensed drilling contractors are published in national newspapers and online every July.

Recent research in Uganda (Liddle and Fenner, 2018) found that drilling contractor licenses have greatly helped the procurement process within Uganda’s implementing agencies, with the drilling contractor license list typically being the first port of call during bid evaluation.

In recent years, MWE recognised the essential need to extend this licensing system to consultants/hydrogeologists, given the proliferation of ‘briefcase consultants’ in the country (those with no formal geology or hydrogeology training). The issue of briefcase consultants is discussed in blog 1 of this series. Briefcase consultants were bidding for the siting and supervision work, yet evaluation teams within implementing agencies had no way of identifying those that were truly qualified for this work, and those whose bidding documents (e.g. work experience, degrees etc) were fake. Poor quality work then proceeded as briefcase consultants began winning contracts.

To address this problem and provide guidance for evaluation teams, the MWE started the process of issuing hydrogeologist/consultant licenses in 2016 (Tindimugaya, 2016). Consultants can apply for an individual hydrogeologist license or a groundwater firm license. For an individual to gain a license, they must submit their academic documents, CV, and an overview of past work. The individual must have hydrogeology specific qualifications (short course, diploma, or degree); geology qualifications alone are insufficient. Premises and equipment are then assessed and a practical assessment and interview are conducted. For a firm to gain a license, the director must gain an individual license. The firm then needs to submit their company registration details, a list of staff and CVs, and details of past work. By July 2018, licenses had been issued to 65 individuals and 15 firms. As with drilling contractor licenses, consultant licenses are renewed annually and updated lists of licensed consultants are published in national newspapers and online every July.

While these licensing systems have greatly helped Ugandan implementing agencies, similar licensing systems across SSA, especially for consultants, appear to be rare. According to Danert and Theis (2018), of the 14 sub-Saharan Africa countries listed in their report, only three had licensing systems in place for consultants, while ten had licensing systems in place for Drilling Contractors. It is now essential that additional sub-Saharan African governments follow Uganda’s lead, and begin the regulate the private sector, especially consultants given the essential role that siting and supervision are known to play when considering the quality of the implementation work (UNICEF/Skat, 2016; Anscombe, 2011; Danert et al., 2010).

What do you think?

So what do you think? Do you have experiences of trying to select qualified and experiences groundwater professionals? Do you think that licensing professionals is the way forward within your context? Are there any efforts to better regulate the private drilling sector in your country? You can respond below by posting in the reply below, or you can join the live webinar on the 14th of May (register here).

References

Adank, M., Kumasi, T.C., Chimbar, T.L., Atengdem, J., Agbemor, B.D., Dickinson, N., and Abbey, E. (2014). The state of handpump water services in Ghana: Findings from three districts, 37th WEDC International Conference, Hanoi, Vietnam, 2014.

Anscombe, J.R. (2011). Quality assurance of UNICEF drilling programmes for boreholes in Malawi. Lilongwe, Malawi: Ministry of Agriculture Irrigation and Water Development, Government of Malawi.

Bonsor, H.C., Oates, N., Chilton, P.J., Carter, R.C., Casey, V., MacDonald, A.M., Etti, B., Nekesa, J., Musinguzi, F., Okubal, P., Alupo, G., Calow, R., Wilson, P., Tumuntungire, M., and Bennie, M. (2015). A Hidden Crisis: Strengthening the evidence base on the current failure of rural groundwater supplies, 38th WEDC International Conference, Loughborough University, UK, 2014.

Danert, K., Armstrong, T., Adekile, D., Duffau, B., Ouedraogo, I., and Kwei, C. (2010). Code of practice for cost effective boreholes. St Gallen, Switzerland: RWSN.

Danert, K. and Theis, S. (2018). Professional management of water well drilling projects and programmes, online course 2018, report for course participants, UNICEF-Skat Foundation Collaboration 2017-2019. St Gallen, Switzerland: Skat.

Danert, K., Carter, R.C., Rwamwanja, R., Ssebalu, J., Carr, G., and Kane, D. (2003). The private sector and water and sanitation services in Uganda: Understanding the context and developing support strategies. Journal of International Development, 15, 1099-1114.

Foster, T., Willetts, J., Lane, M. Thomson, P. Katuva, J., and Hope, R. (2018). Risk factors associated with rural water supply failure: A 30-year retrospective study of handpumps on the south coast of Kenya. Science of the Total Environment,, 626, 156-164.

Kebede, S., MacDonald, A.M., Bonsor, H.C, Dessie, N., Yehualaeshet, T., Wolde, G., Wilson, P., Whaley, L., and Lark, R.M. (2017).  UPGro Hidden Crisis Research Consortium: unravelling past failures for future success in Rural Water Supply. Survey 1 Results, Country Report Ethiopia. Nottingham, UK: BGS (OR/17/024).

Liddle, E.S. and Fenner, R.A. (2018). Review of handpump-borehole implementation in Uganda. Nottingham, UK: BGS (OR/18/002).

Owor, M., MacDonald, A.M., Bonsor, H.C., Okullo, J., Katusiime, F., Alupo, G., Berochan, G., Tumusiime, C., Lapworth, D., Whaley, L., and Lark, R.M. (2017). UPGro Hidden Crisis Research Consortium. Survey 1 Country Report, Uganda. Nottingham, UK: BGS (OR/17/029).

Sloots, R. (2010). Assessment of groundwater investigations and borehole drilling capacity in Uganda. Kampala, Uganda: Ministry of Water and Environment, Government of Uganda, and UNICEF.

Tindimugaya, C. (2016). Registration of groundwater consultants in Uganda: rationale and status. RWSN Forum, 2016, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.

UNICEF/Skat (2016). Professional water well drilling: A UNICEF guidance note. St Gallen, Switzerland: Skat and UNICEF.

 

La réglementation du secteur privé

Il s’agit du dernier d’une série de quatre blogs intitulée “Le forage professionnel de puits d’eau: Apprendre de l’Ouganda” de Elisabeth Liddle et d’un webinaire en 2019 sur le forage de puits professionnel. Cette série s’appuie sur les recherches menées en Ouganda par Liddle et Fenner (2018). Nous vous invitons à nous faire part de vos commentaires en réponse à ce blog ci-dessous.

Si l’accès à des sources d’eau améliorées a été amélioré de manière progressive dans l’ensemble de l’Afrique subsaharienne rurale, plusieurs études ont soulevé des problèmes concernant la capacité de ces sources à fournir des quantités d’eau sûres et adéquates à long terme (Foster et al., 2018 ; Kebede et al., 2017 ; Owor et al., 2017 ; Adank et al., 2014).

Le secteur se focalise sur l’exploitation et l’entretien après la construction, mais également de plus en plus sur la qualité de la mise en œuvre afin de prévenir la défaillance des points d’eau dans l’avenir. (UNICEF/Skat, 2016, Bonsor et al., 2015; Anscombe, 2011; Sloots, 2010).

La Fondation Skat et l’UNICEF sont des acteurs clés dans ce domaine, plaidant conjointement en faveur d’une professionnalisation accrue du forage en Afrique subsaharienne. Ils ont récemment publié une note d’orientation sur le professionnalisation en matière de forage (UNICEF/Skat, 2016), soulignant six domaines clés qui doivent être abordés pour améliorer la qualité du travail d’exécution (voir Figure 1).

Dans ce blog, je me concentre sur l’aspect “cadres institutionnels ” de la Figure 1, avec une attention particulière sur la manière dont l’Ouganda a cherché à améliorer la réglementation du secteur privé ces dernières années en introduisant des systèmes de permis pour les entrepreneurs et les consultants en forage.

Screen Shot 2019-04-01 at 4.58.03 PMScreen Shot 2019-04-01 at 4.57.43 PM

Fig. 1: Six domaines d’engagement pour l’exploitation professionnelle des eaux souterraines (Skat/ UNICEF, 2018)

Des recherches récentes en Ouganda (Liddle et Fenner, 2018) ont montré que les permis d’entrepreneur de forage ont grandement facilité le processus de passation de marché au sein des organismes d’exécution de travaux en Ouganda, la liste des permis d’entrepreneur de forage étant généralement le premier point de contact pendant l’évaluation des offres.

Ces dernières années, le Ministère de l’Eau et de l’Environnement a reconnu le besoin essentiel d’étendre ce système de permis aux consultants/hydrogéologues, étant donné la prolifération des “consultants à mallette” dans le pays (ceux qui n’ont aucune formation formelle en géologie ou en hydrogéologie). La question des consultants en mallettes est abordée dans le premier blog de cette série. Les consultants en mallettes soumissionnaient pour les travaux d’implantation et de supervision, mais les équipes d’évaluation au sein des organismes d’exécution n’avaient aucun moyen d’identifier ceux qui étaient réellement qualifiés pour ces travaux et ceux dont les documents d’appel d’offres (par exemple, expérience professionnelle, diplômes, etc.) étaient des faux. Le travail de qualité médiocre s’est ensuite poursuivi car les “consultants à mallette” remportaient de plus en plus de contrats.

Pour résoudre ce problème et fournir des conseils aux équipes d’évaluation, le Ministère de l’Eau et de l’Environnement a entamé le processus de délivrance de permis d’hydrogéologue/consultant en 2016 (Tindimugaya, 2016). Les consultants peuvent demander un permis individuel d’hydrogéologue ou un permis d’entreprise en lien avec les eaux souterraines. Pour qu’une personne obtienne un permis, elle doit soumettre ses documents universitaires, son CV et un aperçu de son expérience professionnelle. La personne doit posséder des qualifications spécifiques en hydrogéologie (cours de courte durée, diplôme ou licence) ; des études en géologie seulement sont insuffisantes. Les locaux et l’équipement sont ensuite évalués, et une évaluation pratique ainsi qu’un entretien sont menées. Pour qu’une entreprise obtienne un permis, le directeur doit avoir un permis individuel. L’entreprise doit ensuite fournir les détails relatifs à l’inscription de son entreprise, une liste de son personnel et de leurs CV, ainsi que les détails de ses travaux antérieurs. A compter de juillet 2018, 65 personnes et 15 entreprises avaient reçu des permis. Comme pour les permis d’entrepreneur de forage, les permis des consultants sont renouvelés chaque année et des listes de consultants autorisés mises à jour sont publiées dans les journaux nationaux et en ligne chaque année en juillet.

Si ces systèmes d’octroi de permis ont grandement aidé les organismes d’exécution ougandais, des systèmes d’octroi de permis similaires, en particulier pour les consultants, semblent être rares dans le reste de l’Afrique subsaharienne. Selon Danert et Theis (2018), sur les 14 pays d’Afrique subsaharienne énumérés dans le rapport, seulement trois avaient mis en place des systèmes de permis pour les consultants, tandis que dix avaient mis en place des systèmes de permis pour les entreprises de forage. Il est maintenant essentiel que d’autres gouvernements d’Afrique subsaharienne suivent l’exemple de l’Ouganda et commencent à réglementer le secteur privé, en particulier les consultants, étant donné le rôle essentiel qu’ils jouent dans la qualité du travail d’exécution, l’implantation et la supervision des forages (UNICEF/Skat, 2016 ; Anscombe, 2011 ; Danert et al., 2010).

Qu’en pensez-vous?

Alors, qu’en pensez-vous? Avez-vous de l’expérience dans la sélection de professionnels qualifiés et expérimentés dans le domaine de l’eau souterraine ? Pensez-vous que l’octroi de permis aux professionnels est la voie à suivre dans votre contexte ? Y a-t-il des efforts pour mieux réglementer le secteur privé du forage dans votre pays ? Vous pouvez répondre ci-dessous en postant un commentaire, ou vous pouvez participer au webinaire en direct le 14 mai (inscriptions ici)

Références

Adank, M., Kumasi, T.C., Chimbar, T.L., Atengdem, J., Agbemor, B.D., Dickinson, N., and Abbey, E. (2014). The state of handpump water services in Ghana: Findings from three districts, 37th WEDC International Conference, Hanoi, Vietnam, 2014.

Anscombe, J.R. (2011). Quality assurance of UNICEF drilling programmes for boreholes in Malawi. Lilongwe, Malawi: Ministry of Agriculture Irrigation and Water Development, Government of Malawi.

Bonsor, H.C., Oates, N., Chilton, P.J., Carter, R.C., Casey, V., MacDonald, A.M., Etti, B., Nekesa, J., Musinguzi, F., Okubal, P., Alupo, G., Calow, R., Wilson, P., Tumuntungire, M., and Bennie, M. (2015). A Hidden Crisis: Strengthening the evidence base on the current failure of rural groundwater supplies, 38th WEDC International Conference, Loughborough University, UK, 2014.

Danert, K., Armstrong, T., Adekile, D., Duffau, B., Ouedraogo, I., and Kwei, C. (2010). Code of practice for cost effective boreholes. St Gallen, Switzerland: RWSN.

Danert, K. and Theis, S. (2018). Professional management of water well drilling projects and programmes, online course 2018, report for course participants, UNICEF-Skat Foundation Collaboration 2017-2019. St Gallen, Switzerland: Skat.

Danert, K., Carter, R.C., Rwamwanja, R., Ssebalu, J., Carr, G., and Kane, D. (2003). The private sector and water and sanitation services in Uganda: Understanding the context and developing support strategies. Journal of International Development, 15, 1099-1114.

Foster, T., Willetts, J., Lane, M. Thomson, P. Katuva, J., and Hope, R. (2018). Risk factors associated with rural water supply failure: A 30-year retrospective study of handpumps on the south coast of Kenya. Science of the Total Environment,, 626, 156-164.

Kebede, S., MacDonald, A.M., Bonsor, H.C, Dessie, N., Yehualaeshet, T., Wolde, G., Wilson, P., Whaley, L., and Lark, R.M. (2017).  UPGro Hidden Crisis Research Consortium: unravelling past failures for future success in Rural Water Supply. Survey 1 Results, Country Report Ethiopia. Nottingham, UK: BGS (OR/17/024).

Liddle, E.S. and Fenner, R.A. (2018). Review of handpump-borehole implementation in Uganda. Nottingham, UK: BGS (OR/18/002).

Owor, M., MacDonald, A.M., Bonsor, H.C., Okullo, J., Katusiime, F., Alupo, G., Berochan, G., Tumusiime, C., Lapworth, D., Whaley, L., and Lark, R.M. (2017). UPGro Hidden Crisis Research Consortium. Survey 1 Country Report, Uganda. Nottingham, UK: BGS (OR/17/029).

Sloots, R. (2010). Assessment of groundwater investigations and borehole drilling capacity in Uganda. Kampala, Uganda: Ministry of Water and Environment, Government of Uganda, and UNICEF.

Tindimugaya, C. (2016). Registration of groundwater consultants in Uganda: rationale and status. RWSN Forum, 2016, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.

UNICEF/Skat (2016). Professional water well drilling: A UNICEF guidance note. St Gallen, Switzerland: Skat and UNICEF.

Remerciements

Ce travail fait partie du projet Hidden Crisis du programme de recherche UPGro – cofinancé par le NERC, le DFID et l’ESRC.

Le travail de terrain entrepris pour ce rapport fait partie de la recherche doctorale des auteurs à l’Université de Cambridge, sous la supervision du Professeur Richard Fenner. Ce travail sur le terrain a été financé par le Ryoichi Sasakawa Young Leaders Fellowship Fund et UPGro : Hidden Crisis.

Merci à ceux d’entre vous de l’Université de Makerere et de WaterAid Ouganda qui m’ont apporté un soutien logistique, y compris sur le terrain, pendant que je menais les entretiens pour ce rapport (en particulier le Dr Michael Owor, Felece Katusiime et Joseph Okullo de l’Université Makerere et Gloria Berochan de WaterAid Uganda). Merci également à tous les répondants d’avoir été enthousiastes et disposés à participer à cette recherche.

Photo: E.S. Liddle

Attracting the best: Why some experienced consultants and drilling contractors are no longer willing to work for district local government

This is the third in a series of four blogs entitled Professional Borehole Drilling: Learning from Uganda written by Elisabeth Liddle, and a RWSN webinar in 2019 about professional borehole drilling. It draws on research in Uganda by Liddle and Fenner (2018). We welcome your thoughts in reply to this blog below.

Several recent reports have raised concerns over the quality of the boreholes that are being sited and constructed in rural sub-Saharan Africa (UNICEF/Skat, 2016, Bonsor et al., 2015; Anscombe, 2011; Sloots, 2010). If high-quality boreholes are to be sited and constructed, skilled experienced personnel are needed to conduct this work. Recent research in Uganda, highlights that a number of the most experienced consultants and drilling contractors in Uganda (those who have been in business for fifteen – twenty years) are no longer willing to bid for district local government contracts (Liddle and Fenner, 2018). This is concerning, given that district local government projects accounted for 68% of new deep boreholes drilled in the financial year 2016/17 (MWE, 2017).

In this blog I outline why these consultants and drilling contractors are no longer willing to work for districts.

1. Low prices

 

A number of the consultants and drilling contractors interviewed are simply dissatisfied with the prices that district local governments are willing to pay compared to that of non-governmental organisations (NGOs). The consultants interviewed, for example, stated that districts are typically willing to pay UGX 1 million – UGX 2 million (US $276 – $552[1]) for siting and supervision, while NGOs are typically willing to pay UGX 2.5 million – UGX 3.5 million (US $691 – $967) for the same work. The price districts are willing to pay is reportedly not realistic, and as a result, these consultants would have to take shortcuts in their work. The same issues were reported among the drillers who are no longer willing to work for the district local governments. These consultants and drillers are not willing to undertake sub-standard water points for communities, take shortcuts in their work, nor tarnish the reputation of their companies.

2. Misuse of ‘lump sum, no-water-no-pay’ payment terms

 

As explained in blog “Turnkey contracts for borehole siting and drilling”, drilling under a turnkey contract was found to be common during this research: 26 of the implementing agencies interviewed in Uganda (n = 29), for example, were procuring the private sector for the implementation work, 19 of whom were using turnkey contracts for the siting and drilling work and paying the driller via lump sum, no-water-no-pay payment terms. Typically, under these combined ‘lump sum, no-water-no-pay’ payment terms, if a borehole is unsuccessful (is dry or low-yielding), the driller is not paid. If the borehole is successful, the driller should be paid the full lump sum price, regardless of the costs incurred on-site. A number of districts, however, are deviating from lump sum, no-water-no-pay payment term norms. Instead of paying the full lump sum as they should do, they are only paying for the actual work done and materials used (known as BoQ payment or admeasurement payment in Uganda). While this may be specified in the driller’s contract, it is concerning given that the whole premise behind lump sum no-water-no-pay payment terms is that, while drillers will lose money on unsuccessful boreholes, they will be able to recover these costs from the full lump sums they are paid for the successful boreholes. Without full lump sum payment, drillers are unable to their losses..

3. Bribes during the bidding process

 

Demands for bribes are reportedly common when bidding for district local government contracts. When a bribe is demanded, consultants and drillers struggle to account for this cost: if they account for this in their quote, their quote will be too high, thus, they will not win the contract. If, however, they do not account for the price of the bribe in their quote, the consultant or driller will then need to recover this cost at some stage, usually through taking shortcuts on-site. If consultants and drillers do not want to take shortcuts in their work they will not bid.

4. Late payment

 

Receiving the full payment from districts for completed works can be challenging, with several drilling contractors reporting that in some cases, they had to wait over a year to receive their full payment. This makes business difficult; it is much easier to only work for NGOs who are known for paying on time.

The following quotes help to exemplify the above issues:

“But I tell you, for the last few years I have not bided for a district job because the bidding process is just so silly. You know, they will already know who is going to win the contract before they even advertise…And the terms and conditions in the contract are very unfavourable to the driller… So I have not drilled for the district for the last five years as there is no guarantee that they will pay us, this is not a viable business model for us…They only pay on time 50% of the time. Even when the borehole is successful, they will say, oh we don’t have any money, we’ll have to pay in next quarter. Sometimes this has gone on for a whole year. It was with a district that it took 14 months for me to be paid once… The guarantee of receiving payment is frustrating” (Drilling Contractor).

“I strongly believe bidding is just a procedure for most projects. In most cases the districts are giving contracts after they [the bidder] has paid them for the contract. So, say it is a contract for 100 million, they will want 20 million during bidding. This problem is with district, not NGOs, not the ministry… So I have stopped drilling for districts, it was too expensive” (Drilling Contractor).

“I don’t like working for the district. To be honest they are simply corrupt. It is very hard to get a contract from them, you’ve often got to bribe to simply get the contract. They’ll always ask for extra money. It is disturbing. If you don’t agree to pay them, they will find a way of explaining why you did not get the contract” (Consultant).

Districts are now beginning to notice this issue as well, as explained by one district water officer below:

“So many of them [drillers] are so business orientated that even during the time of bidding they under quote so they can win the contract…now because of that they have made serious drillers pull out of district work as they cannot win government contracts. Most of the serious drillers are now dealing with NGOs because they know the procurement process is much more transparent and they will be able to get the money that they need to do a good job. But for local government, they cannot. So we have lost some really good drillers because of this, because they cannot compete and most times most local government want to select the lowest bidder… So we have a big challenge here because we don’t want government to lose money by selecting the more expensive driller but this means the really high quality ones have left district work” (District Water Office).

These quotes highlight the long-term consequences for district local governments who are known for engaging in practices such as paying low prices, offering unfavourable payment terms, soliciting bribes, and making late payments. Finding solutions to these problems is essential to ensure that experienced consultants and drilling contractors are willing to support district work going forward.

What do you think?

So what do you think? Do you have experiences of unrealistically low prices (or the opposite), unfavourable payment terms, bribery in the procurement process or late payments. Or can you share any particularly promising practices with us? You can respond below by posting in the reply below, or you can join the live webinar on the 14th of May (register here).

References

Anscombe, J.R. (2011). Quality assurance of UNICEF drilling programmes for boreholes in Malawi. Lilongwe, Malawi: Ministry of Agriculture Irrigation and Water Development, Government of Malawi, Available from http://www.rural-water-supply.net/en/resources/details/509

Bonsor, H.C., Oates, N., Chilton, P.J., Carter, R.C., Casey, V., MacDonald, A.M., Etti, B., Nekesa, J., Musinguzi, F., Okubal, P., Alupo, G., Calow, R., Wilson, P., Tumuntungire, M., and Bennie, M. (2015). A Hidden Crisis: Strengthening the evidence base on the current failure of rural groundwater supplies, 38th WEDC International Conference, Loughborough University, UK, 2014, Available from https://wedc-knowledge.lboro.ac.uk/resources/conference/38/Bonsor-2181.pdf

Liddle, E.S. and Fenner, R.A. (2018). Review of handpump-borehole implementation in Uganda. Nottingham, UK: BGS (OR/18/002). https://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/520591/

MWE (2017) Sector Performance Report 2017, Ministry of Water and Environment, Government of Uganda, Available from https://www.mwe.go.ug/sites/default/files/library/SPR%202017%20Final.pdf

Sloots, R. (2010). Assessment of groundwater investigations and borehole drilling capacity in Uganda. Kampala, Uganda: Ministry of Water and Environment, Government of Uganda, and UNICEF, Available from http://www.rural-water-supply.net/en/resources/details/133

UNICEF/Skat (2016). Professional water well drilling: A UNICEF guidance note. St Gallen, Switzerland: Skat and UNICEF, Available from http://www.rural-water-supply.net/en/resources/details/775

[1] May 2017 exchange rate.

Photos

photo #1: “Bidding process poster on display in a District Procurement Office” (Source: Elisabeth Liddle).

Acknowledgements

This work is part of the Hidden Crisis project within the UPGro research programme – co-funded by NERC, DFID, and ESRC.

The fieldwork undertaken for this report is part of the authors PhD research at the University of Cambridge, under the supervision of Professor Richard Fenner. This fieldwork was funded by the Ryoichi Sasakawa Young Leaders Fellowship Fund and UPGro: Hidden Crisis.

Thank you to those of you from Makerere University and WaterAid Uganda who provided logistical and field support while I was conducting the interviews for this report (especially Dr Michael Owor, Felece Katusiime, and Joseph Okullo from Makerere University and Gloria Berochan from WaterAid Uganda). Thank you also to all of the respondents for being eager and willing to participate in this research.

Understanding the invisible: Uganda’s efforts to increase access to detailed groundwater data

This is the second in a series of four blogs entitled Professional Borehole Drilling: Learning from Uganda written by Elisabeth Liddle, and a RWSN webinar in 2019 about professional borehole drilling. It draws on research in Uganda by Liddle and Fenner (2018). We welcome your thoughts in reply to this blog below. [Note: The original blog was revised on 03 April 2019 to correct an inaccurate representation of the situation].

While access to improved water sources has steadily increased across rural sub-Saharan Africa, several studies have raised concerns over the extent to which these sources are able to provide safe and adequate quantities of water over the long term (Foster et al., 2018; Kebede et al., 2017; Owor et al., 2017; Adank et al., 2014). Borehole design and siting are essential to ensure that the subsequent water point will continue to provide safe and adequate quantities of water. Access to detailed and accurate groundwater information can greatly aid siting and borehole design (UNICEF/Skat, 2016; Carter et al., 2014).

Skat Foundation and UNICEF have been key advocates for increasing access to detailed groundwater data including the recent guidance note which pointed out that ‘groundwater information’ is essential when seeking to improve the quality of borehole implementation in low- and middle-income countries (see Figure 1; UNICEF/Skat, 2016). In this blog I provide some insights into the ways in which Uganda has sought to increase access to groundwater data is recent years.

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Fig. 1: Six areas of engagement for increasing drilling professionalism (Skat/UNICEF, 2016).

Groundwater resource mapping in Uganda

Significant steps have been taken in recent years to increase access to detailed groundwater data in Uganda. Much of this began in 2000 when the Directorate of Water Resources and Management (DWRM) within the Ministry of Water and the Environment (MWE) began a nationwide groundwater mapping project. Using data sourced from the borehole completion reports that drilling contractors are required to submit every quarter, DWRM has developed are series of maps for each district. These include:

  1. Water source location map, underlain by a geology map.
  2. Recommended water source technology map (technology recommendation is based on main water strike depth and yield information).
  3. Hydrogeological condition map – includes 4 sub-maps:
    • inferred first water strike depth[1],
    • inferred main water strike depth[2],
    • inferred thickness of overburden[3], and
    • inferred static water level depth[4].
  4. Groundwater quality map: highlights areas where water quality is expected to be problematic.
  5. Groundwater potential – Drilling success rate map: combines expected yield success rate[5] coupled with expected water quality conditions.

Tindimugaya (2004) explains these maps in greater detail, along with the ways in which such maps can help the implementation process. An example of these maps for Kibaale district is available on the MWE’s website.

This mapping work is ongoing, however, by May 2017 DWRM had mapped 85% of Uganda’s districts. The magnitude of these maps and the level of detail they capture is remarkable. These maps have become a great asset for district local governments, non-governmental organisations, and others responsible for water point siting and construction.

Ongoing challenges

While Uganda has made remarkable progress in recent years with their groundwater mapping efforts, there have been several challenges along the way (Liddle and Fenner, 2018), mostly related to data accuracy. When interviewing those in Uganda for this research, there were reports that in some (but not all) cases, inaccurate data is submitted. When looking at why inaccurate data is sometimes submitted, two key issues were noted:

  1. There often isn’t a qualified consultant on site full-time for drilling supervision. While it is the drilling contractor’s responsibility to have a member of staff recording the drilling log, an independent supervisor should also keep a log and check the driller’s log for accuracy before this is submitted to DWRM. Without full-time supervision, however, this cannot happen. Furthermore, even with full-time supervision, if the supervisor is not a hydrogeologist, it is unlikely that they will be keeping accurate and detailed logs.
  2. The lump sum no-water-no-pay payment terms via which Ugandan drillers are often paid (see blog “Turnkey contracts for borehole siting and drilling”). When these contract terms are used, to be paid, drillers need to prove that they have drilled a successful borehole; as a result, there were reports of drillers exaggerating a given borehole’s yield in order to be paid. Skewing data in this way is concerning, as not only will these boreholes struggle to provide adequate quantities of water post-construction, but this high-yield data is then entered into the drilling log database and used to produce the hydrogeological maps. Increasing the quality of drilling supervision and ensuring data is not skewed in this way is essential if the accuracy of DWRM’s maps is to increase going forward.

Overall, Uganda has made remarkable progress over the past two decades in increasing the level of groundwater information available in-country. There are very few examples in the African continent comparable to what Uganda has achieved! As noted above, the resultant maps have become a great asset for district local governments, non-governmental organisations, and others responsible for water point siting and construction.

Increasing the accuracy of borehole completion reports is an essential next steps for Uganda. Furthermore, other countries should be aware of these challenges as they embark on their own mapping exercises and ensure necessary measures are in place to prevent these problems in their own contexts.

What do you think?

So what do you think? Do you have experiences of collecting and collating groundwater data, or using groundwater maps? Is this something that should be started in your country? You can respond below by posting in the reply below, or you can join the live webinar on the 14th of May (register here).

[1]‘Expected first water strike depth’ = the depth at which a driller is likely to first encounter groundwater. In most cases the driller will need to continue drilling past this point if the borehole is to be able to provide sufficient quantities of water for users.

[2] ‘Expected main water strike depth’ = the depth at which a driller is likely to find the main aquifer that will be able to provide sufficient quantities of water for users.

[3] Overburden refers to the unconsolidated material that overlays the bedrock. The ‘expected overburden thickness’ map highlights the expected depth of this unconsolidated material across Uganda.

[4] ‘Expected static water level’ = the expected groundwater depth without any pumping disturbance.

[5] ‘Yield success’ refers to a borehole being able to sustain a pumping rate of 500 litres/hour. If a borehole can sustain this pumping rate, it is considered successful in regards to yield.

References

Adank, M., Kumasi, T.C., Chimbar, T.L., Atengdem, J., Agbemor, B.D., Dickinson, N., and Abbey, E. (2014). The state of handpump water services in Ghana: Findings from three districts, 37th WEDC International Conference, Hanoi, Vietnam, 2014, Available from https://wedc-knowledge.lboro.ac.uk/resources/conference/37/Adank-1976.pdf

Carter, R., Chilton, J., Danert, K. & Olschewski, A. (2014) Siting of Drilled Water Wells – A Guide for Project Managers. RWSN Publication 2014-11 , RWSN , St Gallen, Switzerland, Available from http://www.rural-water-supply.net/en/resources/details/187

Foster, T., Willetts, J., Lane, M. Thomson, P. Katuva, J., and Hope, R. (2018). Risk factors associated with rural water supply failure: A 30-year retrospective study of handpumps on the south coast of Kenya. Science of the Total Environment,, 626, 156-164, Available from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969717337324

Kebede, S., MacDonald, A.M., Bonsor, H.C, Dessie, N., Yehualaeshet, T., Wolde, G., Wilson, P., Whaley, L., and Lark, R.M. (2017). UPGro Hidden Crisis Research Consortium: unravelling past failures for future success in Rural Water Supply. Survey 1 Results, Country Report Ethiopia. Nottingham, UK: BGS (OR/17/024), Available from https://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/516998/

Liddle, E.S. and Fenner, R.A. (2018). Review of handpump-borehole implementation in Uganda. Nottingham, UK: BGS (OR/18/002), Available from https://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/520591/

Owor, M., MacDonald, A.M., Bonsor, H.C., Okullo, J., Katusiime, F., Alupo, G., Berochan, G., Tumusiime, C., Lapworth, D., Whaley, L., and Lark, R.M. (2017). UPGro Hidden Crisis Research Consortium. Survey 1 Country Report, Uganda. Nottingham, UK: BGS (OR/17/029), Available from https://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/518403/

Tindimugaya, C. (2004). Groundwater mapping and its implications for rural water supply coverage in Uganda. 30th WEDC International Conference, Vientiane, Lao PDR, 2004. Available from https://wedc-knowledge.lboro.ac.uk/resources/conference/30/Tindimugaya.pdf

UNICEF/Skat (2016). Professional water well drilling: A UNICEF guidance note. St Gallen, Switzerland: Skat and UNICEF. Available from http://www.rural-water-supply.net/en/resources/details/775

Acknowledgements

This work is part of the Hidden Crisis project within the UPGro research programme – co-funded by NERC, DFID, and ESRC.

The fieldwork undertaken for this report is part of the authors PhD research at the University of Cambridge, under the supervision of Professor Richard Fenner. This fieldwork was funded by the Ryoichi Sasakawa Young Leaders Fellowship Fund and UPGro: Hidden Crisis.

Thank you to those of you from Makerere University and WaterAid Uganda who provided logistical and field support while I was conducting the interviews for this report (especially Dr Michael Owor, Felece Katusiime, and Joseph Okullo from Makerere University and Gloria Berochan from WaterAid Uganda). Thank you also to all of the respondents for being eager and willing to participate in this research.

Photo: “Groundwater Supply Technology Options map on display in the Kayunga District Water Office” (Source: Elisabeth Liddle).

Turnkey contracts for borehole siting and drilling

This is the first in a series of four blogs entitled Professional Borehole Drilling: Learning from Uganda written by Elisabeth Liddle, and a RWSN webinar in 2019 about professional borehole drilling. It draws on research in Uganda by Liddle and Fenner (2018). We welcome your thoughts in reply to this blog below.

Drilling under a ‘turnkey contract’ has become increasingly common across sub-Saharan Africa. Recent research in Uganda by Liddle and Fenner (2018) found turnkey contracts to be the most common contract type when the private sector provides new rural handpump-boreholes, although this has not always been the case. In this blog we provide an overview of what turkey contracts are, why they are being used in Uganda, and the benefits and challenges associated with their use in Uganda.

What is a turnkey contract they and why are they being used in Uganda?

Under a turnkey contract a drilling contractor is responsible for both the siting and the drilling/installation work. Turnkey contracts are paid via ‘lump sum no-water-no-pay’ payment terms. If the borehole is successful, the driller will be paid the full lump sum price, regardless of the costs incurred on-site. If, however, the borehole is unsuccessful (dry or low-yielding), the driller will not be paid at all.

Turnkey contracts rose to prominence in Uganda in the mid-2000s as implementing agencies (District Local Governments and Non-Governmental Organisations) became increasingly frustrated with the number of unsuccessful boreholes that were being drilled when consultants were conducting the siting work. Because the consultant was telling the driller where to drill, if the borehole was unsuccessful, the implementing agency had to pay the driller for all the work done and materials used, i.e. according to a Bill of Quantities (BoQ). Unsuccessful boreholes were blamed on the quality of the consultants’ siting work, with briefcase consultants (meaning those with no formal geology or hydrogeology training) having flooded the market. Because of the low prices they offered, coupled with a lack of regulation, these consultants were gaining siting contracts.

Paying for unsuccessful boreholes was challenging and it was becoming difficult for District Local Governments to meet their targets for new safe water sources. Project managers were being made to look inept. Moreover, political leaders failed to understand that some unsuccessful boreholes were a common part of drilling, hence, if a driller was paid for an unsuccessful borehole, politicians saw this as corrupt. Some district water officers were even threatened with jail.

The solution found was to remove the consultant and hand over all of the responsibility for finding water to the driller. If the driller then drilled an unsuccessful borehole, they would not be paid as they were the ones responsible for siting the borehole. The risk of finding water of an inadequate yield fell squarely on the driller.

Benefits and challenges of turnkey contract use

Turnkey contracts have greatly simplified the procurement and contract management process for project managers in Uganda. Under turnkey contracts, implementing agencies only need to procure and manage a drilling contractor. Furthermore, as the amount the drilling contractor will be paid if the borehole is successful is determined during the tender process, there are no surprise costs for the implementing agency. Additionally, under the no water, no pay payment terms, agencies do not have to directly spend any money on unsuccessful boreholes; money is only being spent on boreholes that are declared successful.

While turnkey contracts have notable benefits, several concerns were raised among those interviewed in Uganda as to the quality of the work:

  • Siting based on ease of finding water: under turnkey contracts, drilling contractors need to find sufficient water in order to be paid. Consequently, it was widely reported that drilling contractors are siting boreholes where it is easy to find water, for example, in valleys, or near swamps or riverbanks. Not only are drilling contractors extremely likely to find water in these areas, hence be paid, but they will often drill to a much shallower depths than their lump sum cost estimate was based on. A greater margin can therefore be made in these areas. Boreholes situated in such areas, however, are vulnerable to pollution. While a borehole may pass water quality tests immediately after drilling, the water may be unsafe for human consumption in the rainy months as surface pollutant transport and leaching rates increase or in several years’ time as pollutants accumulate in these areas. Furthermore, community access may be limited, especially in rainy months when these areas may be vulnerable to flooding.
  • Short-cuts on-site: under no-water-no-pay payment terms, drilling contractors need to save money wherever possible so they can recover the losses that they make on unsuccessful boreholes. To save money, it was reported that certain drilling contractors in Uganda are known for:
  • Using low quality and/or hydrogeologically inappropriate materials, for example, galvanised iron rising mains rather than stainless steel in acidic groundwaters. Galvanised iron rising mains are 4-5 times cheaper than stainless steel. When galvanised iron rising mains are used in acidic groundwaters (which are common in Uganda), red/brown coloured water, unfit for human consumption is extremely likely (Casey et al., 2016).
  • Using inappropriate materials for the borehole design, for example, using 5″ casing when a 6/6.5″ open-hole borehole[1] has been drilled as 5″ casing is cheaper than 6/6.5″. To prevent the 5″ casing from falling into the 6/6.5″ open-hole, drilling contractors heat the base and stretch this to fit on top of the open area. 42% of drilling contractors interviewed (n = 14) admitted to this practice. While some see this as a clever trick, others were concerned that silt will accumulate in these boreholes over time, due to gaps between the casing and the consolidated rock and/or cracks that form in the thinly stretched areas of the casing. Such siltation will not only wear the handpump parts down, but it may also lead to appearance problems from the users’ perspective as this silt enters the water supply.
  • Stopping drilling at the first water strike. A great deal of money can be saved here; in Ethiopia, for example, drilling to 50 metres instead of 60 metres reduces the drilling cost by 13% (Calow et al., 2012). If the borehole does not penetrate the main aquifer, however, the quantity of water available post-construction may be problematic, even if the borehole passes the pumping test.
  • Skewing the pump test data or cutting the pump test time short to mask low-yielding, unsuccessful sites. These boreholes will inevitably be low-yielding post-construction, or in worst case, dry.

The need for drilling contractors to take the above shortcuts in Uganda is exacerbated by the fact that, in many cases, the lump sum contractors are paid for drilling a successful borehole is too low in the first instance. Furthermore, supervision by a trained hydrogeologist is rare.

Where to from here for turnkey contracts?

Opinions on whether turnkey contracts should continue to be used in Uganda differ among different actors: the majority of implementing agencies in Uganda believe the use of turnkey contracts should continue, while consultants and the Ministry of Water and the Environment (MWE) believe that they should cease, given the quality of work concerns outlined above.

MWE went so far to release a directive in January 2017 discouraging the use of turnkey contracts, instead stating that split contracts, one for siting (awarded to a hydrogeologist/consultant) and one for drilling/installation (awarded to a drilling contractor) be used going forward. Opinions among drilling contractors themselves seemed impartial; most do not mind working under turnkey contracts, they simply ask that the lump sum prices implementing agencies are willing to pay for successful boreholes increase in the future so they are not forced to take shortcuts on-site.

What do you think?

So what do you think? Do you have experiences of turnkey contracts for borehole drilling, or other practices that you would like to share. You can respond below by posting in the reply below, or you can join the live webinar on the 14th of May (register here).

References

Calow, R., MacDonald, A., and Cross, P. (2012). Corruption in rural water supply in Ethiopia. In J. Plummer (Ed.), Diagnosing Corruption in Ethiopia: Perceptions, realities and the way forward for key sectors (pp 121-179). Washington DC, USA: World Bank. Available from https://www.odi.org/sites/odi.org.uk/files/odi-assets/publications-opinion-files/8555.pdf

Casey, V., Brown, L., Carpenter, J.D., Nekesa, J., and Etti, B. (2016). The role of handpump corrosion in the contamination and failure of rural water supplies. Waterlines, 35(1), 59-77. Available from https://www.developmentbookshelf.com/doi/full/10.3362/1756-3488.2016.006

Liddle, E.S. and Fenner, R.A. (2018). Review of handpump-borehole implementation in Uganda, Nottingham, UK: BGS (OR/18/002). Available from https://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/520591/

[1] Boreholes may be ‘fully-cased’ or ‘open-hole’. If a borehole is ‘fully-cased’ the entire vertical is cased, with screens in the water bearing layers. If the borehole is ‘open-hole’, however, only the unconsolidated areas of the vertical borehole are cased – the remaining consolidated rock is left ‘open’ (no casing or screens).

Acknowledgements

This work is part of the Hidden Crisis project within the UPGro research programme – co-funded by NERC, DFID, and ESRC.

The fieldwork undertaken for this report is part of the authors PhD research at the University of Cambridge, under the supervision of Professor Richard Fenner. This fieldwork was funded by the Ryoichi Sasakawa Young Leaders Fellowship Fund and UPGro: Hidden Crisis.

Thank you to those of you from Makerere University and WaterAid Uganda who provided logistical and field support while I was conducting the interviews for this report (especially Dr Michael Owor, Felece Katusiime, and Joseph Okullo from Makerere University and Gloria Berochan from WaterAid Uganda). Thank you also to all of the respondents for being eager and willing to participate in this research.

Photo: “Hidden Crisis team members using a CCTV camera to undertake downhole observations of the borehole construction of a community borehole” (Source: ‘BGS © NERC. UPGro Hidden Crisis Project.’)

Introducing Justine Olweny : a Ugandan WASH entrepreneur and resource centre founder

My name is Justine Olweny, and this is my story:

Where I came from:

Being born to a water engineer and a teacher in a town in Northern Uganda strategically molded me for who I am today. At 12 years old I was practicing and solving problems using a Pentium II computer desktop. I undertook vocational study (Certificate – Degree) and gained a BSc. in Information Systems and Technology (Dev’t & Integration). At this time, I founded Youth Against Poverty (a community based organisation) and wrote an article on ‘Youth Successes in Northern Uganda’. As an ICT freelancer I was able to market my work and landed a couple of opportunities one of which was Geophysical Survey using Vertical Electrical Sounding with Water4.org.

Continue reading “Introducing Justine Olweny : a Ugandan WASH entrepreneur and resource centre founder”

African Water and Sanitation Academy (AWASA): The International Resource Centre (IREC) of NWSC, Kampala, Uganda ; your Hub for Africa

AfWA RELEASE

As part of the implementation of its Business Plan 2018-2022, the African Water Association (AfWA), will be structuring the coordination of all its training activities in the framework of the operationalization of the African Water and Sanitation Academy (AWASA). This will involve setting up a coordination hub headquartered at the International Resource Center (IREC) of the National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) in Kampala- Uganda, from which training shall be deployed in different Operational training centers managed by its members in the regions such as:

  • Rabat-Morocco, at ONEE’s International Institute for Electricity and Potable Water
  • Ouagadougou-Burkina Faso, at ONEA’s Training Center for Water Works; the National Office for Water and Sanitation
  • Kampala-Uganda, at International Resource Center (IREC) of National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC)

Other centers are in the process of being identified.
To initiate the process of creating AWASA, AfWA Executive Board made the resolution, during the ordinary session held on July 19, 2018 in Kampala- Uganda, to set up a Working Committee led by Professor Hamanth KASAN, President of AfWA Programs Committee. This committee is expected to develop and coordinate all procedures to provide AWASA with an updated Business Plan, identify all partners including universities, centers of excellence in the water and sanitation sector in Africa and in the world, development partners/donors, African water organizations, etc. in order to ensure that AWASA Director’s recruitment process is initiated by December 2018, ensuring the start of AWASA activities by January 2019.

photo credit: NWSC/AfWA

“The borehole is not a madman” 3 reasons why Community Based Management demands a rethink

by Dr Luke Whaley, Professor Frances Cleaver and Felece Katusiime (UPGro Hidden Crisis)

In Uganda, waterpoint committees exist more in name than in reality. Many waterpoints have been ‘personalised’. That is to say, they are under the control of one or a small number of individuals. Moreover, where local management arrangements (of any sort) are effective they tend to rely heavily on the authority of the head of the village council, known as the LC1 Chairperson. Indeed, it is often the LC1 Chairperson and not a waterpoint committee who is instrumental in collecting funds, securing maintenance and resolving disputes. Where an apparently functioning committee is in place, this is usually the result of concerted efforts on the part of particular local NGOs, who cannot guarantee this level of commitment in the longer term.

At least, these are the impressions of Felece Katusiime, a social science field researcher working on the UPGro ‘Hidden Crisis’ project, concerned with the sustainability of rural groundwater supply in Ethiopia, Uganda, and Malawi. They are field insights (preceding full data analysis) from someone who has spent many months in the field undertaking research in roughly 200 rural Ugandan villages. The discussion that follows is intended as a provocation and not a promulgation of project findings. We are interested in the extent to which the points made here accord or contrast with the experiences of you, the readers, and we welcome dialogue on these matters.

So, why might it be that in Uganda waterpoint committees,as envisaged on paper, seldom exist as such on the ground?

Continue reading ““The borehole is not a madman” 3 reasons why Community Based Management demands a rethink”