Sunday, November 1, 2015

Community changes

Community changes 

I have been visiting Ndejje  and the Mzuri artisans in Uganda for 11 years and its very interesting to see what community services have changed and other aspects that have stayed the same. There is the electricity supply, the water and waste disposal services, the access through roads and paths. And also the health clinics and schools. 

Ndejje is an urban village, 8 km away from the capital city of Kampala. In the last few years, I have seen it grow and expand in all directions. Areas that were just fields and bushes are now populated with houses and families. The demand for water has rapidly increased and also the factor of good sanitation has put a pressure on government services. The Ugandan government since 1998 has been put under pressure to hand over its responsibility to supply safe water to communities to the private sector. Edith, the manager of Mzuribeads Uganda, in the last few years has managed to buy land and build a house for her family. She had to pay a substantial fee to get a tap built within her compound. The tap has a meter and she is responsible for paying the water charges. She also charges the neighbours if they use her water. 

In Ndejje, there is still no waste or bin services, as rubbish is either, recycled, burned or composted. What has changed drastically is the electricity supply. Back in 2004, it was a daily assurance that power went off for at least two hours a day. Now, in the 2015, power failures are a rarity. In 2012, the Bujagali hydropower dam was commissioned, it cost nearly $900 million. On the positive side, it has led to many more families having power, on the other side, the cost of power for consumers has rapidly increased. The Government paid 10.1 U.S. cents per kilowatt hour, financed by the World Bank, and several European development finance agencies. 

The big question is, with all the privatisation, the olive branch offered for increase in water supply and electricity, is it worth the huge  debt  and increasing costs the country face for many years ahead?

What is the right path to develop? To enable  access to safe water and electricity but still giving people a hold on their own land and resources. 

I will talk later about road and other developments, effecting millions of people in cities and rural areas. 

Uganda, development, beads, Ugandan beads, World bank, debt, electricity, Water, third world, Ugandan dams, Africa, environment, power prices, Ugandan government, Mzuribeads

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