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

Anguparu, 33, is a Red Cross volunteer and leads a team of 10 at the faecal sludge treatment plant in Imvepi refugee settlement. Alongside her team mates, she carries out maintenance at the treatment plant as well as deluging and damping of the faecal.
“Many women fear this kind of work and think it is for men, but I love it. It 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.

Dressed in the Uganda Red Cross Society branded protective gear and wearing face masks to shield themselves 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 operate it 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 pumping the gulper at a base camp toilet in Imvepi refuge settlement, Terego District.
Agnes Anguparu and a colleague pumping the gulper at a base camp toilet in Imvepi refuge settlement, Terego District.

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 justifies why Uganda Red Cross Society set 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 resource mobilize for the National Society.
This initiative 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).

Ibrahim Mukisa, the faecal sludge and solid waste management plant manager says Anguparu is hardworking and has remained committed to her job over the years. Three ladies opted out when we upgraded from hygiene promotion to faecal sludge but Anguparu remained steadfast.
Mukisa says emptying a latrine using a cesspool emptier would cost 1 million to 1.5 million Uganda shillings a figure that many refugees cannot afford. The Plant offers the same services using tricycles at subsidized prices for the refugees and offers a free service for persons with special needs (PSNs).
“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 an affordable rate,” said Mukisa.
The treatment plant has a field laboratory to carry out quality control in accordance with the National Water and Sewerage Corporation of Uganda standards. The treatment plant is as well testing and piloting an emergency faecal sludge treatment plant at the facility which will ease the management and movement of waste during emergencies.