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Wottazela: a radio campaign for social inclusion in Uganda

In 2019 and 2020 an interactive radio-campaign was launched by Simavi in Uganda in order to enhance social inclusion and strengthen an evidence-based approach within the Watershed programme. 

With the radio-campaign, listeners were able to reply to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) & Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) poll questions via SMS.

The answers were used as the voice of the people. To use as an evidence-based lobby and advocacy approach in order to put pressure on the local Ugandan government and other duty bearers for water and sanitation services.

Watershed Wottazela radio

Using radio as an effective dialogue on water and sanitation services and principles

To follow up the results of the 2019 interactive radio-campaign, a three-month campaign was launched in 2020 (April – June).  The multiple-choice poll questions and prime time radio shows discussed various WASH and IWRM topics. Listeners in the Kabarole District could engage by sending a SMS and provide their feedback on topics as;

  • Access to safe and clean (drinking) water
  • Access to sanitation
  • Participation and social inclusion in WASH decision making and planning
  • Economic empowerment
  • Water resource management

Overall results campaign Wottazela

More than 11,5 thousand SMS text messages were received (6.943 in 2020 en 4.763 in 2019). This was gathered on an innovative dashboard of Trac.FM. The dashboard could split the answers into smaller regions. The evidence-based feedback is needed and used for further effective dialogue with local decision-makers within the Watershed programme.

Access to safe and clean (drinking) water

In 2019 the campaign showed the majority of answers given to the question “What is the major reason why some people in your area do not have access to safe and clean water?” was that leaders seem to favour some areas over others. Therefore in the 2020 campaign we asked the follow up question: “Why do some leaders favour some areas over others when it comes to provision of water services?”.

48% of the respondents said that this is the case because leaders want to gain votes for political purposes.

Access to safe and clean (drinking) water question + answers 2019

Access to safe and clean (drinking) water question + results 2019

Access to sanitation

In 2019 the campaign showed the majority of answers given to the question “What is the major reason why some people in your area do not have latrines?” 54% of the respondents replied that latrine laws were not being enforced. Therefore we asked in this campaign this follow up question:  “In your opinion, what is the best way to enforce latrine laws in your area?”

Although the overall latrine coverage in Uganda has increased, recent national population and housing census show that over 2 million people stay in households with no toilet facilities.

The Local Governments have a duty to make by-laws that enforce and ensure that every household in their area has a latrine. The majority answered to fine and arrest family heads who do not have latrines.

Acces to sanitation question + results 2020

Access to sanitation question + results 2019

Participation and social inclusion in the community

Community involvement and participation is key to the successful provision of quality and sustainable water and sanitation services. However, citizen participation in water and sanitation planning services in this area is still low. In 2019 48% of the respondents answered to the question “Why are some people not involved in water and sanitation planning activities in your community?” that their leader discourage them from participating in planning activities.

In 2020 we asked in the follow up question: “What should your leaders do to encourage you to participate in water and sanitation planning?”.

Participation and social inclusion in the community question + results 2020

Participation and social inclusion in the community question + results 2019

The majority wants to be invited for consultation meetings at village level and to be encouraged to bring up their ideas
Water is a vital resource that every family needs to survive. In many communities, the burden of finding and collecting water for drinking, cooking, sanitation and hygiene falls on women. However, women are often not involved in decision making on water, sanitation and hygiene services. Therefore we wanted to know what an effective way is to empower women to participate in making decisions on WASH.

“What would be the most effective way to empower women to participate in making decisions on WASH?”
The majority (36%) answered that men need to be encouraged to listen and respect the views of women.

Economic empowerment

“What are the best economic alternatives for people living along the River Mpanga?”

Activities such as stone quarrying and growing of eucalyptus trees along the banks of River Mpanga have been banned to conserve and protect the environment. Eucalyptus trees need a lot of water to grow which makes them unfriendly to the environment. Stone quarrying on the other hand increases water pollution and soil erosion along the banks of the river. Therefore, human activity along the river banks should be monitored and regulated to reduce their impact on the environment. The majority (41%) answered that planting indigenous trees (for medicine, fruits and construction) would the best economic alternative.

Water resource management

“Which of the following activities has had the biggest impact on River Mpanga?”

The livelihoods of most Ugandans intimately depend on the environment – both as a source of subsistence and as a basis for production. Therefore environmental degradation, which includes wetland encroachment and contamination of water resources, directly affects our livelihoods. Like parts served by River Mpanga, many parts of Uganda are lucky to be blessed with natural water sources. However, severe water scarcity is predicted for the near future, particularly in more populated, dry and semi-dry areas. The majority of the respondents (41%) answered that poor disposal of plastic (including plastic bags and plastic bottles) is the main reason for the pollution of River Mpanga.

 

Water resource management question + results 2020

Water resource management question + results 2019

Results campaign Wottazela 2019

Access to sanitation

“What is the major reason why some people in your area do not have latrines?”

The results showed that the majority of the listeners are of opinion that the latrine laws are not enforced by the Ugandan government. This gathered data will be used as an entry point for a dialogue with the Ugandan government and policymakers.

Access to safe and clean (drinking) water

“What is the major reason why some people in your area do not have access to safe and clean water?”

The poll showed that the majority of the people feel that the Ugandan government is lacking in providing access to safe and clear water. 36% of the people felt that local leaders are region biased. Almost 1 in 4 people feel that the Ugandan government is misusing the funds on water facilities constructions.

Participation and social inclusion in the community

“Why are some people not involved in water and sanitation planning activities in your community?”

Almost 1 out of 2 people feels discouraged by local leaders to participate in planning activities and almost 2 out of 5 people feel discriminated. In Uganda, women are more and more invited to (community) meetings, but decisions are made by the men. While women are often responsible for collecting water.

Water resource management

“What are you doing to protect the environment”

Radio as a medium for inclusion and dialogue

In Uganda, radio is still by far out the main communication source. Therefore, the medium radio was used to reach and engage with people on WASH-related topics who otherwise might not be reached, enhancing social inclusion. Furthermore, it was used as a medium to inform on WASH, enhancing awareness, and gather opinions to effectively discuss WASH topics with the listeners.

The campaign consisted of 4 WASH poll questions, aired as radio commercial spots and via DJ mentions on Radio Jubilee in Fort Portal. After a radio show kick-off, every two weeks a new question was aired for one week, followed by a week of analysis and closed with another radio show during prime time to have a dialogue on the gathered answers.

Watershed and partners

Wottazela 3.0 ran under the Watershed programme in collaboration with HEWASA, Simavi, IRC and Radio Jubilee in Fort Portal, Uganda. The Watershed empowering citizens programme is a strategic partnership between the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in particular the IGG department, DSO and relevant embassies) and IRC, Simavi, Wetlands International and Akvo. The Watershed programme started in 2016 and until 2020 it will deliver improvements in the governance and management of water, sanitation and hygiene services as well as of the water resources on which they draw.

Wottazela 4.0

Wottazela 4.0 is a follow-up campaign to build our success in empowering citizens and deepen our learning. This campaign will focus on the key outcomes from the opinion polls radio listeners responded to in Wottazela 3.0.

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