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St. Norbert College

Publication Date

Fall 2016

Program Name

Uganda: Post-Conflict Transformation


Over the course of 30 days of fieldwork in October and November of 2016, data was collected through interviews conducted with local government officials, researchers and academics, and village community members of Gulu District.

The aim of this study was to determine the extent to which agencies have improved water and sanitation in the region. The case study of Gulu utilized in-depth interviews with key informants, focus groups, and observations, and sought to determine who the local stakeholders in water and sanitation are, the water sources and sanitation facilities available and their uses, the perception local people have about their access to portable water and sanitation facilities, the effects the post-conflict environment has had on progress, and the gaps in services for availing portable water and sanitation. Care was taken to complete this research in accordance with research ethics expectations. Before beginning the study, the research proposal was approved by the local Research Review Board. Also, approval was sought and granted by the Uganda National Council for Science and Technology. Before conducting any interviews, a letter of introduction was written, as well as consent forms. The letter of introduction was used in cases where a bureaucratic government office was being approach in order to establish legitimacy. Further, consent forms were presented and signed before the start of each interview. In the case where the interviewee did not speak or read English, the consent forms were verbally translated by the translator, and the interviewee would give verbal consent with the translator signing the form as a witness.

The study found that while access to portable water sources and sanitation facilities has undeniably improved in the region, there are concerns with the quality of the facilities available and questions about whether or not the efforts made so far and the existing sources and facilities are able to be sustained- partly due to discrepancies in perceptions of who is responsible for operation and maintenance of them. What I feel can be done to address this would be for the local and national stakeholders to come together and spend some time planning an integrated and cohesive approach to align budgets and prioritize educating communities on how to properly manage and operate the facilities that they have been provided with so that they can be utilized in the most efficient and effective way. By spending more time and money on this aspect, they could, in the long term, reduce the amount of time and money spent on resource allocation and repairs, and the communities themselves could be more self-sufficient in terms of taking care of their basic needs.


African Studies | Civil and Environmental Engineering | Demography, Population, and Ecology | Environmental Design | Environmental Policy | Health Policy | Infrastructure


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