While strategizing together with urban council authorities of Apac municipality, Ibuje and Aduku urban councils on bridging a gap of limited access to sanitation financing options due to irregular incomes, high costs of accessing sanitation services, limited knowledge on sanitation financing. Caritas Fort Portal HEWASA in partnership with GIZ suggested mapping out all stakeholders in the in Apac cluster with potential to make a contribution in sanitation marketing. Unanimously, religious leaders were identified as significant players to achieve the desired change because of their close connection to communities.
For the past nine month, Fr George Humble Opio, the Parish Priest of Apac Catholic parish together with catechists and (small Christian communities) Mugongo leaders have been mobilizing Christians through radio advert, meeting with other church leaders and conducting out reaches as well integrating pastoral work with sanitation financing. This has been aligned with the Pope’s sanitation massage to Religion –
Laudatosi” that calls upon every individual to protect the environment and desist from pollution it inform of carbon emissions and faecal matter.
Also, he has been aligning sanitation financing message to this biblical teaching of Deuteronomy 23: 12-14. “12 Designate a place outside the camp where you can go to relieve yourself. 13 As part of your equipment have something to dig with, and when you relieve yourself, dig a hole and cover up your excrement. 14 For the Lord your God moves about in your camp to protect you and to deliver your enemies to you. Your camp must be holy, so that He will not see among you anything indecent and turn away from you.”
According to the parish priest Apac catholic parish, “I used to fear loans but so far, I have recommended many households for sanitation loans to access improved sanitation facilities,” he asserted.
The Parish priest of Apac informed that, he has been referring Christians to undertake sanitation loans.
Fr. Opio Humble George, Parish Priest Apac Catholic Parish.
The engagement of the religious leaders in sanitation financing campaign proved to be the start of a change in communities. “people used not to mind about constructing permanent sanitation facilities, but now they have mastered the practice, and many structures have been put”, the Archdeacon of Ibuje Archdeaconry, Rev Olwo Vincent asserted.
During church services, the Archdeacon Ibuje Archdeaconry has been passing sanitation messages to Christians. He has been able to encourage the church to obtain sanitation loans. Also, he has been recommending before acquiring sanitation
loans from Caritas Fortportal diocese SACCO.
He also added that his home is being used as a demonstration centre due to a constructed modern sanitation facility supported by caritas Fortportal HEWASA. He said, “I was uncomfortable to host high profile visitors but recently i hosted the Bishop of Church of Uganda Apac Diocese without any shame and he was wondering how we were able to construct a such permanent sanitation facility”.
Rev. Olwo Vincent, Archdeacon Ibuje Archdeaconry Church of Uganda.
According to Patrick Ebong, a resident of Bardek A cell in Atiki division of Apac, who got to know about sanitation financing through the radio advert that was running on devine radio by religious leaders. He has started harvesting the fruits of sanitation loans, “I used to worry about hosting visitors at home because my toilet
was very poor but now I can host anybody without fear”, Patrick said. He also said, “I used to construct latrines annually but now I have great hopes with this modern facility”. Caritas Fortpotal HEWASA linked me to centenary bank for a loan, construction company and advice on how to acquire a sanitation facility. Community members are using his sanitation system as an example and his proud of having a strong sanitation facility.
Ebong Patrick a resident of Bardek A, satisfied with his newly constructed sanitation facility.
Conclusively, mapping and bringing on board more stakeholders to scale up and sustaining the sanitation financing campaign is key. Caritas Fort portal–HEWASA in partnership with GIZ is challenged to identify and engage any interested partner to scale up the intervention.