Healthy wetlands are essential for water and sanitation, for their role in providing water for drinking and sanitation services and for waste filtration. In arid and semi-arid parts of the Africa, healthy ecosystems are often the key factor for access to clean and sufficient water for especially the poor. But these natural water resources are depleted, polluted or degraded in other ways, thereby endangering the health of those depending on them. We work with the WASH sector to ensure that wetlands are used sustainably, and that the health benefits of communities depending on them are assured.
Wetlands International is part of the Alliance of Netherlands-based water, sanitation and hygiene related development organisations (WASH Alliance). In their 5-year programme supported by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, these partners empower women and worse-off groups to increase their access to wetland-friendly WASH solutions. Through the alliance we work in Benin, Ghana, Kenya, Ethiopia and Wetlands International Africa itself leads the alliance work in Mali and Uganda.
Uganda: water harvesting & wetland management
In the Uganda’s Rwambu wetland catchment a total of 79% of all the wetland dependent communities live below the poverty line. Furthermore, their use of the wetland products and services, such as livestock grazing, brick making, firewood collection, water supply, public toilet, hunting and fishing, is unregulated or unmanaged and encroach the very wetlands they depend upon. In order to tackle these problems we support local partner JESE to improve water access and rainwater harvesting in the Rwenzori region of Uganda. This harvesting provides options for recharge, retention and reuse of precious water.
Mali: preventing transmission of water-related diseases
Communities living in the Inner Niger Delta in Mali are among the most vulnerable in the world to water borne disease. Our Mali team heads a consortium of international institutions developing best practices for sanitation, waste disposal and water supply from which communities from many rural districts benefit. As part of these best practices we introduce environmental solutions that prevent the spread of these water-borne diseases.
The publication ‘Wetlands and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH): understanding the linkages’ (see below) helps understanding of how WASH and wetlands are connected, why these linkages are vital and how they can be better managed.