2 min read
23 Sep

In a world where access to clean and safe water is often taken for granted, the West Nile region of Uganda faces a pressing issue – limited access to this essential resource. To address this critical challenge, ActionAid International Uganda, in collaboration with partners such as WENDA and the Ministry of Water and Environment (MWE), organized the "Regional Dialogue on Access to Water for Sustainable Domestic and Productive Use" in Arua City. This two-day event, held on June 15th-16th, 2023, brought together a diverse group of stakeholders, policymakers, and experts to discuss solutions to the water access crisis in the West Nile region.

Dr. Philip Omwene from MUNI University delivered a thought-provoking keynote address. He highlighted the global water scarcity issue and its implications for Africa, grounding the discussion in the broader context. Dr. Omwene discussed Uganda's water resources, emphasizing the need for coordinated water management and integration of various water uses into planning and management, aligning with the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goal 6.

The District Water Officer presented the West Nile Issues Paper, a comprehensive analysis that laid bare the challenges facing the region. These included limited access to safe water, insufficient water for agricultural and productive purposes, functionality challenges, and the importance of community involvement. The paper also proposed recommendations to address these challenges, providing a roadmap for the way forward.

Response to Keynote Address by Key PartnersDuring the plenary discussion, various stakeholders expressed their concerns and recommendations. The issues raised encompassed access to water resources, functionality, project implementation, data accuracy, urban councils' water needs, water quality, coordination, and accountability. This candid discussion demonstrated the complexity of addressing water access challenges and underscored the necessity for collaboration at every level.

The Honorable Member of Parliament emphasized the importance of updating the water issues paper and presenting it during the Regional Budget Conferences. This ensures that water challenges are not overlooked in the budgeting cycle, signaling a concrete step toward translating dialogue into action.

The plenary discussion delved deeper into access to clean water, water governance, funding opportunities, and collaboration for local governments in the West Nile region. Panelists from various organizations expressed their commitment to collaboration and sustainable development, emphasizing the importance of monitoring, community involvement, and accountability.

After a nourishing lunch, the discussions continued with presentations on sustainable models for water operations and maintenance by Engineers Without Borders. Their presentation emphasized the importance of Operation and Maintenance (O&M) models, financing, sustainable utilization, and creating an enabling environment to ensure that water projects thrive long after they are implemented.

Participants came together to share their commitments at individual, institutional, and organizational levels. This highlighted the essence of collective effort and emphasized that real change happens when actions follow words.

The event concluded with closing remarks by Mr. Asiku Abdul Malik, the Chairman of Yumbe, and a key action address by Hon. Member of Parliament Hon. Opoka. Both emphasized their unwavering commitment to improving water access in the West Nile region, leaving attendees with a sense of optimism and purpose.
Conclusion:The Regional Dialogue on Access to Water for Sustainable Domestic and Productive Use in Arua City showcased the dedication of stakeholders, policymakers, and experts to collaborate and find lasting solutions. With a focus on sustainable development and community involvement, the outcomes of this dialogue are expected to make a substantial contribution towards improving access to clean water in the West Nile region. The event stands as a testament to the power of collaboration and the shared commitment to overcoming one of the region's most formidable challenges - ensuring safe and affordable water for all.

* The email will not be published on the website.