In 2016, 200 million hours were spent by Ugandan women and girls collecting water. Moreover, 86% of girls in Uganda miss school due to a lack of sanitation facilities, almost half of Ugandans use limited or unimproved drinking water supplies and 58% use unimproved (open, unsafe, and unhygienic) sanitation facilities. Reliable data and information on gender differentials is required to formulate robust water and sanitation gender policy, but there is a problem accessing such data in Uganda. The country currently relies on data that is aggregated for large spatial areas and summarised for only few metrics for large demographic groups.

UNSW is collaborating with Gulu University, Uganda and WorldPop / the University of Southampton, UK to conduct a national assessment of access to safe water and sanitation facilities that takes into account population demographics with a specific focus on gender. This is being undertaken by combining existing population data with Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) survey data then reviewing the data stakeholders have access to – and identifying what additional data could help with decision-making and progress towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal 6 targets. Specifically, the group is working to generate gendered demographic datasets for the prioritisation of investment in WASH services and infrastructure.

An online survey on Gendered WASH Access in Uganda has been undertaken, collecting information on the data that is being utilised by Government, academics and non-government organisations. On 17-19 March 2021 the survey findings will be presented during an online workshop chaired by Gulu University, Southampton University and UNSW where participants will discuss the key barriers to gender equity in access to safe WASH, WASH data availability and needs in Uganda, and the priorities and needs until the year 2030. The outcomes from the online survey and workshop will be compiled into a report for key stakeholders and will help to identify and prioritise next steps to achieve SDG 6 targets at a national level in Uganda.

Now funded by the Global Challenge Research Fund, this project is the result of a visit to UNSW by Dr Claire Dooley that was generously supported by UNSW Engineering’s ‘Women in Engineering Academic Visitor Funding Scheme’.