This report presents maps and analyses designed to inform the policies surrounding poverty reduction efforts in Uganda and to help reach the 2015 national targets on safe drinking water and improved sanitation.

Key Findings

While the maps and analyses discussed in this report are primarily illustrative in nature, they support the following conclusions:

  • Poverty maps and maps of water and sanitation indicators can provide insight into the relationship between poverty, water, and sanitation;
  • Maps showing water and sanitation indicators at the subcounty level can be used by planners to identify disadvantaged areas and examine equity issues;
  • Combining map-based census data related to water, sanitation, and hygiene can guide more integrated campaigns to decrease the incidence of water-borne diseases; and
  • The type of analysis presented in this report is most useful for identifying subcounties with similar poverty, water, and sanitation characteristics in order to guide geographic targeting.


Strengthening the supply of high-quality data and analytical capacity can improve future planning and prioritization of water, sanitation, and poverty reduction efforts. Priority actions for policy-makers include:

  • Fill data gaps on sanitation and hygiene indicators; regularly update water, sanitation, and hygiene data; and continue supply of poverty data for small administrative areas; and
  • Strengthen data integration, mapping, and analysis. Promoting the demand for such indicators and spatial analyses will require leadership from several government agencies. The following actions will help link relevant maps and analyses with specific decision-making opportunities:
  • Incorporate poverty information into water, sanitation, and hygiene interventions and in regular performance reporting for the water and sanitation sector;
  • Incorporate water, sanitation, and hygiene behavior information into poverty reduction efforts;
  • Promote more integrated planning and implementation of water, sanitation, and hygiene interventions; and
  • Incorporate poverty maps and maps of water, sanitation, and hygiene indicators into local decision-making.

Executive Summary

Improving water supply, sanitation, and hygiene is central to Uganda’s successful development. Such measures would affect all Ugandans and are important to every sector of the economy, but they are particularly relevant to the poor. The availability of safe drinking water, adequate sanitation, and basic hygiene can improve health, lower mortality rates, and increase work and educational achievements. In particular, better sanitation and handwashing are among the most effective means to reduce morbidity and mortality from diarrheal diseases, which disproportionately affect the poor.

The central role of safe water and sanitation in addressing poverty in Uganda is reflected in national policy. The national framework for poverty eradication highlights the links between water, sanitation, and poverty reduction efforts. To implement the plans and policies related to safe drinking water coverage, Uganda’s policy-makers have established ambitious targets for 2015. As a result, the government and development partners have made large investments in the water sector, and signifi cant pro-poor benefi ts have been achieved. However, much work still remains to be done in order to ensure safe drinking water access and basic sanitation across Uganda.

One of the premises of the current report is that assuring future pro-poor benefits from water and sanitation investments will require more detailed poverty information. This is where maps such as those introduced in this publication can be helpful to decision-makers. Detailed information on the location of poor communities can help decisionmakers target these vulnerable areas for investment, thereby improving health while keeping implementation costs reasonable.

One of the principal challenges in planning and implementing effective pro-poor interventions in water and sanitation is coordinating multiple actors across many sectors and using many different data sets. This report offers new tools to meet this challenge. Examining subcounties in Uganda that have fallen behind in reaching 2015 targets, the report illustrates how integrating various spatial and demographic data on poverty, water, and sanitation can strengthen efforts to promote health. Stand-alone water supply interventions have less impact on health outcomes than well-coordinated interventions that improve water supply, sanitation infrastructure, and hygiene behavior simultaneously.

The unique information presented in this report is critical to achieving greater results and identifying additional pro-poor interventions to reach Uganda’s 2015 national targets. To this end, the authors identify the types of analyses available to Ugandan stakeholders, in order to encourage readers to develop their own poverty, water, and sanitation maps.

Audience and Aims

This report is intended for technical and high-level officers working both on poverty issues and in health and water departments at national and local levels.

  • For decision-makers concerned with reducing poverty, the report demonstrates how comparing levels of poverty in a location with maps of access to safe drinking water, enhanced sanitation facilities, hygiene behavior, and other environmental health indicators can inform strategies to fight poverty.
  • For decision-makers in the water and health sector, the publication shows how information on the location and severity of poverty can assist in setting priorities for interventions and how to integrate data sets about water supply, sanitation infrastructure, and hygiene behavior to support coordinated interventions.