Uganda Red Cross Society delivers drought-resistant seeds to Karamoja.

Agnes Anguparu, a champion of Hygiene promotion in Imvepi refugee settlement.

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It’s a chilly Tuesday morning in Imvepi refugee settlement. Agnes Anguparu resolutely leads her team as they prepare tools to get the day’s work done.

Dressed in the Red Cross branded protective gear and wearing face masks to shield them from the strong faecal stench, the team works with undivided devotion. On this day, the team is emptying toilets at Imvepi base camp using a gulper.

They insert a gulper in the toilet and manually operated to empty the thick and already decomposed faecal into blue plastic blue drums. After filling up all the drums, they bundle them onto a tricycle and transport it to the treatment plant that is about 30 kilometers away.

Agnes Anguparu and a colleague pupping the gulper at a base camp toilet in Imvepi refuge settlement

Anguparu, 33, is a Red Cross volunteer and leads a team of 10 at the fecal sludge treatment plant. Her and her team carry out maintenance at the treatment plant as well as deluging and damping of the fecal.

“Many women fear this kind of work and think it is for men, but me I love it. It’s gives me pride since I know it’s for the betterment of my community and I am saving lives.” Anguparu says.

“When I empty the latrine and people are able to use it again, I then sensitize them about latrine usage, maintenance, and faecal management. It gives me so much joy,” she adds.

Agnes Anguparu and a colleague pupping the gulper at a base camp toilet in Imvepi refuge settlement

In West Nile, the only existing faecal treatment plant is in Arua city, leaving a gap in the nearby areas of Koboko, Madi-Okolo and Terego Districts.

This explains why Uganda Red Cross Society put up a faecal sludge and solid waste management plant in Imvepi, Terego District. The plant’s main intention is to promote hygiene and sanitation within the refugee settlement but also as a tool of resource mobilization for the National Society.

“If the organization could help us buy a cesspool emptier, it will help us do our work better. The road network in the region is also not good but what we do is service to our community,” she says.

Adding that; “During the rainy season, our work is much harder. The tricycles sometimes overturn which affects the efficiency of our work.”

Ibahim Mukisa, the faecal sludge and solid waste management plant manager says Anguparu is hardworking and has remained committed to her job over the years. 3 ladies opted out when we upgraded from hygiene promotion to faecal sludge but Anguparu remained steadfast.

About the plant

Solid waste and faecal sludge management in situations of rapid mass displacement are important to public health and providing for a better environment. Despite this, both have been neglected in WASH programmes which tend to have a focus on Water and Hygiene. However, increasing efforts are being made to find solutions to challenges in solid waste and faecal sludge management in difficult circumstances in humanitarian emergencies.

Mukisa says emptying a latrine using a cesspool emptier would cost 1 million to 1.5 million Uganda shillings a figure that many refugees can’t afford. The Plant offers the same services using tricycles at subsidized prices for the refugees and do it for free for persons with special needs (PSNs) as well for the disabled.

“We have improved the hygiene and sanitation of schools, markets and partner organizations. Institutions no longer construct new latrines. We help them empty those that are full at a cost friendly cost. Mukisa says.

The treatment plant has a field laboratory to carry out quality control of different parameters such as COD, TS, TSS whose results are at Uganda NWSC standards. The treatment plant is as well testing and piloting an emergency faecal sludge treatment plant at the facility which will be easy to manage and movable from one emergency to another.

This is under the BIMYSAWA project, an acronym for Long Term Safe water coverage for Bidibidi, Imvepi and Yumbe Settlements. The project is being implemented by the Uganda Red Cross Society in partnership with the Austrian Red Cross with funding from the Austrian Development Agency(ADA).

URCS Contacts

Plot 551/555 Rubaga Road.
P.O. Box 494, Kampala Uganda.
Tel:     (256) 414 258701
Tel:     (256) 414 258702


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