The Water & Sanitation Crisis in Uganda
Uganda has experienced two decades of economic growth, leading to large population movements from rural areas to informal settlements around urban centers. Despite this growth, Uganda remains a poor country with many of its citizens lacking basic necessities. High population growth – nearly triple the global average – stressed the water and sanitation services that already exist. Twenty-one percent of Ugandans lack access to safe water and 87 percent do not have access to improved sanitation facilities.
At the same time, access to financial services in Uganda has improved significantly over the last decade, mostly driven by the expansion in mobile-money services. This development primed the market for expansion of microfinance services to a larger share of the population. In addition, Uganda has a robust private sector, with many banks now moving to include clients living at the base of the economic pyramid.
A WaterCredit demand study conducted by one of Water.org’s financial institution partners found that 66 percent of clients in Uganda would like to take out a loan for water access, nine percent for sanitation and 28 percent for water and sanitation; this study cut across regions and rural/urban settings.
Since the launch of its efforts in Uganda in 2010, Water.org has had significant success in this key geography, reaching 78,000 Ugandans, a majority of women, over approximately three years with safe water and/or sanitation to date through WaterCredit loans and health and hygiene education.
Due to Water.org’s programs and the trend of financial institutions increasing their client base within the base of the economic pyramid, there is now demand from financial institutions for developing water and sanitation portfolios. We have two current partners actively implementing WaterCredit, with opportunity to scale with these existing partners and add new partners.