Water scarcity fuels teen pregnancies in Tororo 

Residents at one of the water sources in Osukuru Sub-county in Tororo District. PHOTO / JOSEPH OMOLLO

What you need to know:

  • Authorities say girls are impregnated on their way to fetch water, while women are beaten for returning home late.

Residents and local leaders in Kayoro Sub-county in Tororo District have attributed the rising cases of teenage pregnancies and gender-based violence (GBV) to water shortage.

Residents told Daily Monitor that they walk for about 10km daily to collect water from neighbouring sub-counties.

“We struggle every day to find drinking water. We get chest and back pains but unfortunately, some of our colleagues, when they return home late are instead beaten by their men,” Ms Joan Amulen, a resident of Abur  “A”  Village, said last week.

Ms Amulen said a number of girls have also been impregnated on their way to fetch water.

“We demand that the authorities address water shortage in this sub-county. When they are looking for votes, they pledge but they never fulfil,” she said.

Mr Paul Oboye, the chairperson of Abur ‘A’ Village, said his office receives about five cases of GBV against women on a daily basis.
“They (victims) are beaten by their men, who accuse them of cheating,” he said.

Last month, the district health officer, Dr Okoth Obbo, said 1,850 teenage girls in the district became pregnant in the first three months of the second lockdown.

“Most of our young girls have been forced into sex and most of them have ended up getting pregnant because they have not been introduced to family planning services,” he said.

The affected sub-counties include Mulanda (162), Eastern Division in Tororo Municipality (149), Kirewa (137), Nagongera Town Council (138), Mukuju (130), Kwapa (107), Iyolwa (102) and Merikit (100).

Mr Isaac Omwen, the district councillor for Kayoro Sub-county, said a 100 cubic litre water reservoir was set up in 2019 to supply water in the area but it is lying idle.
He said the sub-county is among the areas with low water coverage, which forces residents to trek long distances to access safe and clean water.

Residents appealed to the National Water and Sewerage Corporation to connect pipes to the reservoir so that they access to water.
 “We have protested and reminded our leaders but to date there has been no progress to that effect,” Mr John Opio, a resident, said.

Ms Jane Namono, another resident, said since she got married in 2005, she has been struggling to get access to clean water.
Local leaders said the water shortage has forced some of the residents to migrate to other sub-counties.

NWSC speaks out
The NWSC Tororo area manager, Mr Fred Busingye, attributed the delay in completion of the project on the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We were compelled to halt the works but I want to assure the community that the corporation is working to see to it that the extension of water is complete before the end of 2021,” Mr Busingye said.

He also cited the long process of acquiring land for a booster station.
“We have done pipe laying for 7kms and 3.5kms for raising the main pipe from the booster to the reservoir, and the process to purchase the booster pump is at its final stages,” Mr Busingye said.