Sustainable Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene for All (SWaSSH4A)
Scaling out a rural water supply operation and maintenance model in four districts in Uganda in line with the national government's O&M framework
Sustainable Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene for All (SWaSSH4A) is a three-year project (2022-2025) implemented by SNV in Uganda, with Austrian Development Cooperation funding. The project is being implemented in four rural districts in the Lango sub-region of Northern Uganda (Lira, Alebtong, Dokolo, and Kole). Combined, the districts have a total population of close to a million people.
The three-year SWaSSH4A project contributes to scaling out a rural water supply operation and maintenance model that had been piloted in parts of Uganda since 2014 and improved through the years. Specifically, SWaSSH4A builds on the success and lessons learnt from two SNV projects: (1) Improving Water Supply Sustainability Project Phases I (2014-2017) and II (2019-2021), and (2) the eight-country Sustainable Sanitation and Hygiene for All (SSH4A) Results Programme (2014-2019).
With the Sustainable Development Goals target date of 2030 fast approaching, the globe’s leaders have called for the increased acceleration of efforts in sanitation. Government of Uganda data in 2022 found that only between 73-94% of the population of the four districts has access to safe water. This is further aggravated by low functionality rates of 71-86%. In the same districts, the range of access to hand washing stands at 22-30%, and latrine access is at 75-81%; both stagnating in all project districts. Women and other vulnerable groups remain marginalised in access to WASH services. WASH infrastructure and service provisions are at risk due to the adverse effects of climate change such as flooding.
SNV’s work contributes to improving sustainable access to inclusive, climate-resilient, and safe water supply, sanitation, and hygiene services. In the SWaSSH4A districts, SNV is applying an area-wide Climate Resilient Rural WASH approach to, (i) strengthen local government capacity to carry out their tasks as duty bearers of the human rights to water (supply) and sanitation, (ii) improve the climate resilience of services, and (iii) reduce vulnerabilities of rural populations to water-related risks.
The project strengthens WASH governance at all levels, and supports rural service providers, including Hand Pump Mechanics Associations, in professionalising service performance, infrastructure construction, and rehabilitation quality. To develop rural WASH markets, it contributes to strengthening consumer supply chains and financing, and engages in evidence-based behavioral change communications. To ensure the sustainability of services (and investments) – amid changing weather patterns, for example – the project also analyses the effects of climate change on water and sanitation services availability and will develop measures for preparedness and to protect water sources.
In December 2019, SNV’s Operation and Maintenance (O&M) model informed the development of the National O&M framework. Through its SWaSSH4A work in districts, SNV facilitates the alignment of local WASH governance with the national framework. Equally as important, SNV takes district-level practical lessons to the national level to ensure policy and implementation coherence with ‘on-the-ground realities.’
 Government of Uganda, Natural Resources, Environment, Climate Change, Land and Water Management Programme Performance Report, Kampala, Uganda 2022.
 Directorate of Water Development, Rural Water Supply and Sanitation, National framework for operation and maintenance of rural water infrastructure in Uganda, Kampala, Ministry of Water and Environment of the Government of Uganda, 2019.