Simon Kuuma goes about his work diligently despite teasing by other masons. He came on the receiving end of most jokes during the Market Based Sanitation Implementation Approach (MBSIA) training mostly due to his differently accented Luganda, the mostly used language in Kayunga.
But he can not be blamed. The 34-year-old was born in Busoga; Wanyenge village, Mafubira sub county, in Jinja to be exact. It is in Wanyange that he has horned his latrine construction skills from the age of 24.
“Latrine construction has been so profitable to me. I was able to construct a house and also educate my children,” he says.
The soft-spoken Kuuma is one of the 16 participants who attended the MBSIA training organized by Uganda Sanitation for Health Activity (USHA) in partnership with Sanitation Solutions Group (SSG).
Working through local grantees, the MBSIA seeks to establish collaborative and dynamic partnerships with local sanitation value chain actors to sell and install a limited range of new and upgrade toilet options through a network delivery model.
“I came for the training because I know how much I have been able to make from construction. The training has been so good and I have learnt so many things that will improve my latrine construction business,” Mr Kuuma says.
The MBSIA is being rolled out in one sub-county in each of the 13 districts in Central East and Central West. Through a competitive selection process, USHA identified masons in each target sub-county to participate in the model. Some of the masons recruited had previously received training from USHA to install SATO products. This training covered technical aspects of toilet construction i.e. the four variants promoted by the project; the base product, upgrade option, new single stance latrine and the two double stance latrine.
“Learning the new method of cost-effective latrine construction was so good because the old model was too expensive and time consuming for both masons and customers. The use of precast slabs is much simpler, less costly and they are also very hygienic for the user. If we also put SATO pans then this new model will change not only the masons’ lives but also the latrine user. USHA has done a really good job with this,” Kuuma says.
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He is hopeful that challenges like late payments by clients will become a thing of the past, confessing that he has sometimes done work he is not proud of due to the high construction costs involved.
“We usually want to give our customers high quality products but because of the high costs, we have been doing shoddy work but now customers will be able to afford.
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