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Swampy Kabwohe dogged by banana stalks

By Vision Reporter

Added 17th November 2013 11:41 PM

Kabwohe is a town in Sheema district and lies on the Mbarara-Bushenyi highway. Despite being busy, it faces huge sanitation challenges.

Swampy Kabwohe  dogged by banana stalks

Kabwohe is a town in Sheema district and lies on the Mbarara-Bushenyi highway. Despite being busy, it faces huge sanitation challenges.

trueIn the Make Uganda Clean campaign, Vision Group will be profling major urban centres in the country, highlighting their sanitation situation, culminating into the cleanest towns being recognised towards the end of November.  Today, we bring you profles of Bukwo and  Kabwohe towns.

By Stephen Ssenkaaba and Chris Mugasha

Matooke is Kabwohe town council’s major source of income. It is also the biggest contributor to flth in this town. The town authorities are now grappling with how to dispose of the garbage generated by the brisk matooke business.

Kabwohe town in western Uganda is a major transit route for matooke coming from different parts of the region en-route to Kampala and other destinations. This has made it not only busy, but also a crowded and dirty hub of food trade.

The authorities are stranded with the rubbish. For lack of a better strategy they have now started to dump the garbage
near wetlands, risking causing more environmental damage. Heaps of garbage now fll the entire town, endangering the
lives of the people.


A banana loading stage in Kabwohe town littered with waste. Photos by  Chris Mugasha

A recent Vision Group survey reveals serious issues concerning health and sanitation in this town. Based on views of town dwellers, the survey found out that although the town is cleaned every day, people are not satisfed with the way garbage is disposed of.

Nearly all respondents in this poll say that dustbins in Kabwohe are insuffcient. According to the survey, there are about eight garbage skips. However, they are not utilised as the council uses a truck to collect garbage from households.

All survey respondents said public toilets were averagely clean, meaning that a lot more work needs to be done. Given
that the average cost of access to public toilets is sh200, there are many residents who cannot afford it.

However, there are three ecosan public toilets, which are not suffcient for such a busy town. The other problem is that many people have negative attitudes towards toilet use. Being unfamiliar with the modern toilets, they instead prefer to use crude
waste disposal methods, thereby risking their health.


Worse still, the town has no functional central sewage system. Human waste is managed through septic tanks and pit latrines.

In addition to this, the town is also covered with bushes and the maintenance levels for green spaces in this town is low. Indeed, the respondents rated this aspect at 3.9/10.

The town faces a serious challenge of accessing clean and safe water. Clean water coverage is below 60% and the
fow is unreliable. “Sometimes water fows only once a week,” says the principal town clerk, David Betega. However,
the Ministry of Water and Environment has assured the town that the National Water and Sewerage cooporation will
intervene in that issue.


Infrastructure development

To encourage residents to participate in developing the town, the town council has resolved to name roads after those who
have participated in developing the town.The town clerk, David Betega, said there are plans to build modern offices using
revenues from various projects. This, he said, would supplement the annual budget of sh990m.

true“If National Water intervenes, we shall also have a sewerage system in place and develop lagoons because pit latrines in the town cannot be sustained,” says Betega.

Being flat and waterlogged, Kabwohe town faces a drainage nightmare. The water table is very high, some areas, for
instance, along Kabwohe-Nganwa Road, get flooded,” says Betega. Adding that a big percentage of the town lies in a
swamp, which makes constructing houses and pit latrines difficult for residents.

The town has a planner, health inspector, engineer, no lands officer, no education officer and no environment officer.



Bukwo is a town in tatters

By Stephen Ssenkaaba

Bukwo town needs a saviour — if the fndings of a recent Vision Group survey are anything to go by. The poll conducted between August and September sought to gather the views of local people on the cleanliness of their town. It revealed dissatisfaction from the people as a result of the absence of functional sanitation facilities and extensive cases of poor
hygiene. The poll interviewed male and female respondents aged 37 years on average.

While 80% of the respondents reported existence of a cleaning schedule for the town, they were dissatisfed with the cleanliness of the town, rating it at a modest 4.8/10 score.


Bukwo roads are in a sorry state. (Online photo)

They were particularly angry at the state of the market and very unsatisfed with the streets and dustbins. No respondent had ever seen dustbins in the town, which means that there are no dustbins in Bukwo. This is particularly worrying for a town of 5,000 people. It means they just dump their rubbish anywhere.

Seventy-three percent of the respondents had ever seen someone litter the town in the past three months. When asked what they had done to improve cleanliness in their town, 27% of the respondents said they had done nothing.

One of the biggest problems facing Bukwo is insuffcient toilets. As the survey reveals there seems to be no public toilet in this town of 5,000 people. All the respondents in the survey said they did not know any public toilet in the town. This means majority of the people in Bukwo use unconventional toilets — polythene bags and perhaps bushes, which puts their health at risk.

On top of this mess, the town is infested with animal and chicken litter. All the respondents said they had seen livestock/poultry loitering in Bukwo town in the past six months. The animals seen include cows, goats, donkeys and sheep.

While the survey indicates that there were no sewage bursts in the town, drainage is not well-developed in this town. This exposes the residents to all sorts of dangers.

Bukwo town is not well-lit. Without a sustainable source of hydroelectric power, the generator is the main source of lighting in the town as observed by 67% of the respondents. No respondent had ever seen street lights in the town. Despite the lack of street lights, majority of the respondents (60%) reported the streets to be safe at night.

The respondents said all the roads are in a sorry state and that they have potholes. The buildings also cry for a fresh coat of paint.

Bushes are everywhere in Bukwo as 30% of the survey respondents observed. In many of the affected areas, the respondents said, there were no efforts to clean up.

The town is also in need of a reliable source of water. All residents rely on boreholes.  There are no piped water, which makes life diffcult and expensive for service providers and households.

The town has yet to deal with the noise that it faces. Asked about noise in their town, 87% of the respondents said Bukwo is quite noisy with most of the noise coming from motor vehicles and other sources such as places of worship, trading activities, boda boda and taxi drivers. Only 13 % of the respondents believed there was a noise control programme in the town.

According to the district planner’s offce, Bukwo town has a structural plan, which is yet to be implemented. There are no
residential, industrial and commercial areas in the town. The town has one planner, a health inspector, an engineer, one lands offcer, an education offcer and one environment offcer. There is one permanent market and the rest are temporary markets with no garbage skips.

Bukwo district is located in the far eastern part of Uganda. It was carved out of Kapchorwa district in July 2005. The district
has one county, four sub-counties and one town council. Mount Elgon National Park forms one third of the district.


So after reading that, ofcourse we definitely would like to hear from you

  • VOTE for the cleanest town and give reasons
  • WHAT should we do to improve Ugandan towns?
  • WHAT can you do as an individual to keep your town clean?

SMS: Type clean (leave space) your comment and send to 8338



Find plenty other stories of the campaign here: Make Uganda Clean campaign articles


Swampy Kabwohe dogged by banana stalks

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