Background and Methodology
The Government of Uganda through the Ministry of Water and Environment is collaborating with Interface Consulting by holding a socio-economic survey that will determine whether people would be willing to pay for new water schemes in their communities. The Ministry aims at improving their service delivery in the water and sanitation department by expanding and increasing the provision of clean and safe water to emerging towns found in the districts of Nakaseke, Nakasongola and Wakiiso. The socio-economic survey team comprised of a team of 12 individuals who partook in this field study and focused on collecting and compiling raw data and information from households, institutions, focus group discussions and key informant interviews with water vendors. This survey took place within an extended three week period covering 8 small towns namely; Butalangu and Kiwoko, Katuugo, Migeera, Kakooge, Kiwenda, Busiika and Namulonge.
Our team applied both quantitative and qualitative methodology that included customized household and institutional questionnaires, focused group discussions among community members and key informant interviews with water vendors from all the towns. Additionally, the team was trained on how to use a designed mobile software – Magpi, that handled all the questionnaire tools. Our job was to ensure that a true reflection of answers was portrayed by participants during the entire process.
Majority of the research findings gathered stated that people were experiencing a severe water crisis comprised of scarcity, high demands, exorbitant prices and hazardous water which in all affected the wholesome well-being of the communities. In continuation, the majority opted for private line connections commonly known as taps and the issue concerning payment was addressed through a bidding process which determined the amount a person would contribute willingly in order to access the new water schemes. This Socio-economic survey demonstrated that people would be willing to contribute money towards accessing the new water schemes in order to solve the on-going water crises’ that were recurrent in their communities. People frequently affirmed to the common cliché that Water is life because after experiencing a crisis that severe, they learned the value of a utility people took for granted and momentously appreciated the Ministry for getting involved and promising to assist them. Finally, people also argued that private lines would easily be regulated, monitored and mostly less expensive than the average cost of a 20 liter jerrycan selling at 500 Uganda shillings.
Challenges and recommendations going forward
Like any research, the team faced a number of challenges including time constraints, inaccurate narrations from respondents and poor sanitation in areas surveyed. However, some of these were solved through cautious probing, team discussions and continuous meetings to solve queries. Nevertheless, going forward it is imperative for research supervisors to plan futuristically, and allocate adequate time for training of the select team on the use of any technology dedicated to the data collection exercise, in order to minimize delay in adaptation and improve accurate reporting.
Written by Louise Kiddu