Tag: Uganda

Community Engagement for Flood Resilience Provides New Hope in Kampala’s Informal Settlements

In the informal settlements in the outskirts of Greater Kampala’s Central Business District, improper solid waste management results in the clogging of drainage systems. This, in addition to the seasonal downpours, whose intensification is attributed to climate change, have exposed already vulnerable communities to a high risk of seasonal urban flash flooding. This is intensified by the fact that Kampala’s informal settlements are situated in flood-prone low-lying areas.

Associated with the floods are huge socio-economic losses due to the damage of assets and goods, and disruption of business and work operations. Nakato Caroline, a small business owner and resident of Sembule A Zone in Nalukulongo, states that floods continuously disrupt her retail shop by destroying valuable merchandise and leaving her shop inaccessible to customers. This worsens the financial strain on her family. She cites the insufficient plastic waste management as a major contributor to the clogging of the channels and the consequent flooding in her community.

flooding Kampala

The game changer: collective action

To sustainably build the resilience of these communities to flooding, the Greater Kampala Integrated Flood Resilience Partnership, supported by the Natural Resources Stewardship Programme (NatuReS), is spearheading community action for flood resilience in two flood hotspots in Kampala’s informal settlements of Kinawataka and Nalukolongo. This partnership is being championed by ACTogether Uganda and the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) through a project dubbed Community Action for Flood Resilience.” ACTogether is a Ugandan Civil Society Organisation affiliated with Slum Dwellers International (SDI) which supports the National Slum Dwellers Federation of Uganda by facilitating processes that develop organizational capacity at the local level and promote pro-poor policy and practice in Uganda’s urban arena.

The “Community Action for Flood Resilience” project under the partnership empowers and builds the capacity of vulnerable communities to take the lead in the fight against floods. This is done through community-centered behavioural change activities to reduce the quantity of solid waste ending up in the drainage channels.

Through the project, 10 community members (5 from Kinawataka and 5 from Nalukulongo sub-catchments) were trained to become flood control champions, equipped with knowledge on the causes, effects, mitigation, and adaptation measures to the flooding challenges in their respective communities. The flood control champions are community members who were already spearheading awareness and dialogue sessions aimed at sensitizing their fellow community members on issues like malaria etc.  

flood champions
65 residents of Sembule A Zone in Nalukulongo, Rubaga Division, were sensitized on flood risks and mitigation measures by flood control champions trained under the partnership. Copyright: GIZ/Ebong Willy Bunga

Community initiative under a partnership approach

The actions of the trained flood control champions have had a cascading impact in these communities, particularly in terms of a positive mindset change towards communities’ capacities for flood resilience. They organized and conducted community dialogues called settlement forums, as well as community radio talk shows. Through these, the communities have been trained on urban flood risk and practical mitigation measures to enable them to control floods in their areas. Morever, they provided a platform for dialogue with other stakeholders and duty bearers, such as community leaders, on the flooding. These include causes, effects, and ways to collectively contribute to addressing them.

Through the settlement forums, community-led monthly clean-up exercises have been taken up in Kinawataka and Nalukolongo. These have instilled a sense of community and social responsibility among the members. The communities acknowledge their contribution towards flooding through improper solid waste management. In turn, they collect solid waste and desilt clogged secondary and tertiary drainage channels within their surroundings that would otherwise contribute to the flooding. This is further complementing the Kampala Capital City Authority’s (KCCA) solid waste management and flood control efforts.

Kampala map
A map showing drainage channels, 588.79 meters long, cleaned up on 12th August 2022 in Kinawataka during a community clean-up activity. In this clean-up approximately 16 tons of solid waste, predominantly PET plastic, was collected from the channels. Copyright: GIZ

The flood control champions, officials, and community members speak out

As a follow-up to the actions led by the flood control champions and the communities, ACTogether organized community planning and review meetings. In these meetings, the flood champions, community leaders, government officials, and community members shared their experiences and lessons learned from the joint initiative. 

Nakato Leticia, one of the flood champions, expressed her excitement and gratitude for being a part of this partnership learning from experts’ proven ways to improve community flood resilience. In addition, she appreciated having a platform to disseminate this knowledge to members of her community.

However, the effects of the community-led clean-up efforts went much further: Nyanzi Bob, Head of the Solid Waste Management Unit at KCCA (Rubaga Division, in which also Nalukolongo is located), shared that they have also improved the relations between the Kampala Capital City Authority and the local communities. This only became possible by working together as partners for a common objective.

flooding Kampala

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Simon Peter Akena
Junior Advisor
Willy Bunga
Junior Consultant
Peter Mwambu
Project Manager
ACTogether Uganda

Official Launch of the Greater Kampala Integrated Flood Resilience Partnership Action Plan

Kampala City, Uganda’s capital and commercial centre, is home to about 70% of the country’s small, medium and large manufacturing businesses and accounts for nearly half of Uganda’s 40 billion USD total Gross Domestic Product (World Bank,2021). The rapid urbanization of the Greater Kampala Metropolitan Area (GKMA) has led to increased impervious surfaces in ecologically sensitive areas such as steep slopes, wetlands and flood plains relevant for flood control, resulting in accelerated and often devastating runoff of water. The city’s existing drainage system, which was designed for a much smaller and less densely built city, is quite old and poorly managed and can no longer cope with the runoff from the rapidly expanding built-up areas.

The situation is further exacerbated by frequent clogging of the drainage system with solid waste, often originating from the city’s informal settlements. All of this increases the likelihood of flooding of critical areas such as road crossings, industrial areas, business premises and residential suburbs in the low-lying informal settlements. Of major concern is the wide-spread nature of the flooding and the increasing frequency of more intense flooding events, also attributed to climate change. Efforts to address the flooding challenge are limited in scope and often constrained, among others, by the city`s insufficient financial resources. However, also the lack of cooperation between stakeholders represents a hurdle to implementing effective solutions.

Flooding in Kampala
A flooded road in Kampala. Copyright: KCCA/Joan Magayane

Addressing the flooding challenge in Kampala requires a multi-sectoral approach, involving all stakeholders (public, private actors and communities) to work collaboratively to develop and implement integrated flood risk management solutions which are scalable and context specific.

It’s against this background that partners from all sectors started to collaborate under the Greater Kampala Integrated Flood Resilience Partnership. The partnership`s objective is to improve urban resilience to flooding, thereby enhancing socio-economic development in Greater Kampala. Partners therefore jointly promote investments in nature-based “blue-green infrastructure” such as regreening of drainage channels, bioswales and retention ponds, as well as further inclusive solutions, in priority hot-spot areas. This way, they want to showcase the effectiveness of natural flood protection mechanisms in mitigating flooding, thereby protecting livelihoods and businesses` basis of operations, contributing to sustained socio-economic development. Partners also aim at developing innovative ways of using human-engineered “grey” infrastructure for better flood control.

The partnership follows the Natural Resources Risk and Action Framework (NRAF). The NRAF is a holistic approach developed by NatuReS to tackle shared natural resources risks in a participative manner. It guides initiation and implementation of natural resources stewardship partnerships through a series of tailored tools.

Together, partners developed a comprehensive Partnership Action Plan (PAP). The PAP is a commitment by all partners to support the implementation of jointly agreed activities. These activities include:

  • Developing strategies for the integration of blue-green infrastructure solutions, creating an evidence base for their effectiveness in mitigating flooding
  • Promoting investment and piloting of “blue-green” infrastructure and innovative “grey” solutions for flood resilience in selected catchments
  • Fostering behavioral change and stakeholder empowerment in the development of flood mitigation solutions
  • Encouraging rainwater harvesting within the private sector

Partnership Action Plan Launch

Action Plan launch
All partners signed the ceremonial signboard during the PAP launch event. Copyright: GIZ/Ebong Willy Bunga.

The PAP was formally launched during a ceremony at the Ministry of Water and Environment on the 5th of August 2022. His Worship Paul Mugambe, the Mayor of Kampala`s Nakawa Division, presided over the ceremony as a guest of honour.He congratulated partners for their foresightedness in establishing the partnership to jointly find solutions for the recurring flash floods in Greater Kampala. Often, they are caused by an insufficient, dilapidated and poorly managed drainage systems, combined with poor solid waste management, particularly of plastic waste, resulting in clogged drainage channels. The mayor underlined that, as part of the City’s Development Master Plan, strengthening the city’s resilience to climate change through the implementation of sustainable measures has been set as a priority by Kampala Capital City Authority.

partnership action plan
His Worship Paul Mugambe, the Mayor of Nakawa Division, during his remarks. He explained how plastic bottles are consistently clogging drainages in Kawooya Channel in Kinawataka Sub-Catchment, exacerbating the gravity of flash floods. Copyright: GIZ/Ebong Willy Bunga

The partnership chairperson, Dr. Benon Zaake, the Commissioner for Water Resources Monitoring and Assessment at the Ministry of Water and Environment, highlighted that rapid urbanization coupled with improper solid waste management in the GKMA has exacerbated the flooding problem to the extent that the existing drainage systems can no longer cope with the situation. He commended partners for prioritizing the integration of blue-green infrastructure solutions into Kampala’s flood management strategies. Moreover, he reaffirmed the Ministry`s commitment to the partnership and urged all partners to dedicate their agreed time and resources towards ensuring successful implementation of the PAP.

partnership action plan
The Partnership Chairperson, Dr. Benon Zaake, signs the ceremonial signboard on behalf of the Ministry of Water and Environment during the launch. Copyright: GIZ/Ebong Willy Bunga

Other high officials included the Deputy Mayor of Rubaga Division, Ms. Rehema Fugge, and the Executive Secretary for Public Health and Social Services for Rubaga division, Mr. Emmanuel Kizza. They both expressed their gratitude towards the partnership and the important role it is playing in jointly working towards a flood resilient Greater Kampala.

Flood Control Partners
Attendees of the PAP Launch. From upper left corner to bottom right corner: Mr. Allan Nkurunziza (Programme Manager, KCCA), Ms. Racheal Babirye (KCCA), Ms. Joan Magayane (Drainage Officer, KCCA), Ms. Catherine Nimusiima (Program Coordinator, ACTogether Uganda), Ms. Caroline Mwebaze (Senior Hydrologist, MWE), Mr. James Bataze (Senior Meteorologist, UNMA), Mr. Peter Mwambu (Project Manager, ACTogether Uganda), Mr. Mubaraka Nkuutu (Director Business Department, UMA), Mr. Andrew Onwang (Environment Officer,Britannia), Mr. Joseph Kyalimpa (Manager Training and Projects, UMA), Dr. Benon Zaake (Partnership Chairperson), Mr. Paul Mugambe (Mayor, Nakawa Division), Ms. Rehema Fugge (Deputy Mayor, Rubaga Division), Mr. Emmanuel Kizza (Executive Secretary for Education, Public Health and Social Services, Rubaga Division).
Copyright: GIZ/Ebong Willy Bunga

Following the successful launch of the PAP, partners now move into the next phase (“Act”), focusing on accelerated implementation of agreed activities.

For more information on the Greater Kampala Integrated Flood Resilience Partnership, check here: Greater Kampala Integrated Flood Resilience Partnership and download the factsheet. Also, follow us on Twitter to stay up to date with the latest news.

Training Commercial Flower Farms in Uganda on Water Source Protection

Commercial flower farming is a water dependant and -intensive sector. For example, the water footprint to produce one rose is estimated to be 7-13 litres. In Uganda, 13 out of a total of 15 commercial flower farms are located around the Lake Victoria basin, the world’s second largest freshwater lake. They derive their water for production mainly from the lake, but also from groundwater boreholes.

Water source protection planning and implementation

To ensure that the flower farms are using their water sources sustainably, compliance with national regulations is crucial. In 2013, the Ugandan Ministry of Water and Environment through the Directorate of Water Resources Management, developed Water Source Protection Planning (WSPP) Guidelines (available here: The Ministry of Water and Environment). Five volumes were issued, each on a specific type of infrastructure project, namely point water sources, piped water sources, dams and irrigation schemes and hydropower plants. According to these guidelines, each infrastructure project with water use is expected to prepare and implement a Water Source Protection Plan.

water source protection training
Group photo of participants of the water source protection training in front of the Water Resources Institute of the Ministry of Water & Environment in Entebbe. Copyright: GIZ/ Alisa Knoll

Under the Commercial Flower Farms Integrated Catchment Management Partnership, a 2-day training was conducted to build the capacity of commercial flower farms on water source protection planning and implementation. The training was held on 21st and 22nd of July at the Water Resources Institute in Entebbe. It was organized by the Ministry of Water and Environment through the Water Resources Institute (WRI), Uganda Flowers Exporters Association (UFEA) and NatuReS. During the training, regulators, developers, and commercial flower farms came together to break their silos and share experiences and lessons around water source protection planning and implementation for the sustainable management of water sources.

water source protection
Dr. Callist Tindimugaya, Commissioner for Water Resources Planning and Regulation, opening the training. Copyright: GIZ/Mary Namukose

The training was opened by Dr. Callist Tindimugaya, Commissioner for Water Resources Regulation and Planning, followed by Anna Pamberg, Country Coordinator NatuReS Uganda, and Esther Nekambi, Executive Director of UFEA, each giving their remarks on the importance of the training. During the first sessions, participants were introduced to integrated water resources management and the five volumes of water source protection guidelines.

water source protection training
Ms. Sylvia Nanyunja, Senior Water Officer at the MWE, is sharing experiences of developing a water source protection plan for Luuka. Copyright: GIZ/Alisa Knoll

From theory into practice, a big focus of the training was put on understanding the guidelines, the importance of water source protection and how to plan and implement water source protection measures at farm level. Regulators and other developers shared examples of water source protection plans. A short visit to Lake Victoria offered participants practical insights into the various concepts and methods outlined in the WSPP Guidelines and the necessity to protect the available water resources.

Lake Victoria
Participants at the shores of Lake Victoria, guided by Mr. Louis Mugisha and Ms. Sylvia Nanyunja, showcasing activities to protect the Lake and various concepts in water source protection planning. Copyright: GIZ/Mary Namukose

Moving to the protection of their own flower farm water sources, the second day started with a group exercise where participants had to identify and map their farm’s water sources, water source protection challenges, causes of those challenges, and possible solutions. Based on this, the participants developed action plans containing next steps for water source protection planning at their respective farms. This activity helped the participants in understanding and applying the threats, pathways, and water source included in the conceptual model to their own situation.

water source protection training
Participants from a commercial flower farm during the group exercise, identifying their farms’ water source, protection challenges and solutions. Copyright: GIZ/ Alisa Knoll

Equipped with these action plans and an increased knowledge on water source protection planning and implementation, participants are now able to approach their respective management to initiate next steps towards the protection of their farms’ water sources. Participants left the training also better prepared for their own role at the farms, as far as water source protection is concerned. Thanks to better protected water sources on the farms, investments in the sector can be safeguarded. Bringing together members from 13 commercial flower farms has finally also contributed to building a network of sharing and learning between the farms and fostering sector cooperation.

“Now I have acquired knowledge on water resource protection and am willing to practice it at our farm.”

Training participant


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