What is the Government of Uganda Spending on Sanitation?

Countries signing the eThekwini declaration in 2008 agreed to two explicit commitments concerning sanitation financing. They pledged to create separate budget lines for sanitation and hygiene and committed to spend at least 0.5 percent of GDP on sanitation and hygiene. Although the eThekwini has been widely adopted, WASHwatch users reported that it is still difficult to know whether their government had delivered on these two commitments.

5 years on from the eThekwini declaration, I decided to investigate whether the governments of Uganda, Kenya and Ghana had created sanitation budget lines and how much they were reporting to be spending on sanitation and hygiene. I recognise that the availability, and transparency of budget information is likely to vary greatly between countries and I admit to choosing countries I believed would have relatively high levels of budget transparency. Wish me luck on my journey through budgets, policy documents and spreadsheets!


Not being in Uganda, I had to rely on available digital resources and started my investigation in the most obvious place, the websites for the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Water and Environment.

According to Ministry of Water and Environment’s (MWE) Sector Performance Report (SPR), a study in 2009 recommended the establishment of a separate budget line for sanitation, which was created but left unfunded until the FY 2011/12.

During the FY 2011/12, the MWE, through the Sanitation District Grant, allocated 2 billion UGX to Ugandan districts, with each district receiving between UGX 19 to UGX 21 million. The government recommended using the money for the following:

  • carry out baseline surveys
  • create demand for improved sanitation through either Home Improvement Campaigns and/or Community Led Total Sanitation
  • promote hand washing as part of the demand creation
  • carry out activities to mark the Sanitation Week.

Further information on sanitation financing can be found in the MWE Ministerial Policy Statement* containing the approved budget for 2011/12 and 2012/13 projections. Unfortunately, the 490 page document is no breeze to get through. The document details spending for the entire sector and addresses sanitation and hygiene specifically in a few different sections. There are separate budget lines for the following:

  • 321449 Sanitation District Conditional Grants (page 476, 479, 483- 486) (see above): The grant is intended to support decentralised urban councils to plan for improved operation, management and financial performance by providing funds to bridge the gap between operation costs and revenue collection.
  • Rural Water Supply and Sanitation :
    • 090103 Promotion of sanitation and hygiene education (pg. 86)
    •  090182 Construction of Sanitation Facilities (Rural) (pg. 88)
  • Urban Water Supply and Sanitation :
    • 090205 Improved sanitation services and hygiene (pg. 94)
    • 090282 Construction of Sanitation Facilities (Urban) (pg.97)
Sanitation as a Percentage of GDP 2011/12 and 2012/13 Estimates
2011/12 2012/13 Estimates
GDP (UGX) 43,285,750,000,000 43,285,750,000,000
GoU 0.021 0.015
Donor 0.125 0.124
Total 0.146 0.016

In the end, I was able conclude that Uganda has separate budget lines for sanitation, they have five in fact; however, from what I was able to find, the government does not appear to be spending 0.5% of GDP on sanitation.

According to my calculations, for the approved 2011/12 budget, the Ugandan Government has committed 0.02% of GDP to sanitation. This number goes up substantially when donor funding is included (0.146% of GDP). Unfortunately, the 2012/13 projections report a reduction in sanitation financing to 0.01% of GDP due to a reduction in government spending of around 1 million USD.

It is certainly possible that there are other sanitation budget lines that I was unable to find. This merely highlights the importance of clearly identifying where sanitation, water and hygiene spending appear in the budget. While having budget lines for sanitation is excellent, having the information buried in long policy statements is not.

Katelyn Rogers

*Full MWE Ministerial Policy Statement can be downloaded from shared files in sidebar

Sanitation and Hygiene Budget Line Spending 2011/12 and 2012/13 in UGX

2011/12 Total

2011/12 GoU

2011/12 Donor

2012/13 Projections Total

2012/13 Projections GoU

2012/13 Projections Donor

SDG 321449



RWSS 090103







RWSS 090182







UWSS 090205







UWSS 090282