Blog: Water safety plans in Uganda

Author: Juliet Nakanjako

After working for 8 years for National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC), I’ve returned to my home country, Uganda, this time as a researcher. With my research I am investigating the status of Water Safety Plans (WSP) in Uganda. WSPs is a risk assessment and risk management strategy developed by the World Health Organization that, when implemented correctly, can support water suppliers in providing safe drinking water to consumers. During this period, I want to understand the success factors and the challenges faced by NWSC while implementing WSPs, in order to support the Corporation in scaling up their implementation, starting from the Northern and Western Regions.

When I first presented my research proposal to the Corporation’s management and funding agency, they were very impressed with the high relevance of my thesis, because NWSC is acquiring a large number of new areas and top management considers that those areas will benefit tremendously from WSP implementation.

The data collection brought me in contact with staff members of the 20 water supply systems that developed and implemented WSPs. As part of the interviews, we discussed about how WSPs are financed, their levels of implementation, what they consider being a success factor or a barrier, etc. The data collection was so amusing and educative in a way! For all the time I have working for NWSC I had never had the opportunity to interact with staff members outside my region of jurisdiction/management. It is very fulfilling to see how respondents are very friendly and ready to share information, hoping to contribute to a performance improvement that will benefit the whole Corporation.

Currently, I am conducting an in-depth analysis of WSPs implemented in 4 of the 20 locations. The area manager of Bushenyi-Ishaka water supply system was very pleased with my work, given the improvement it rendered to the area through recommendations on how to improve WSP implementation. In the next weeks I expect to conclude my field research with interviews with top management and external stakeholders.