Date Thesis Awarded


Access Type

Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)


Interdisciplinary Studies


Scott Ickes

Committee Members

Libby Yost

Drew Lamar


Access to adequate amounts of clean water is critical to disease prevention in developing countries. This paper constitutes four studies of water access, hygiene behavior, and health outcomes in Karamoja, an impoverished region of Uganda. Using the combined results from focus groups, survey questionnaires, and a larger survey dataset, I conclude that Karamoja is an extremely unique case within Uganda, but its problems parallel pastoralist communities throughout Eastern Africa. Mothers in Uganda place a high priority on their children’s hygiene, and frequently conflate hygiene and health. However, the hygiene status of children is often low, and recommended hand washing practices are not carried out. Communities place a high importance on their boreholes, but often still use river water, and the boreholes are not all adequately maintained. Disease agents are so prevalent that it is difficult to imagine adequately protecting children in this context. Important first steps include working to remove the institutionalized marginalization that has plagued the region and recognizing that the same solutions that work in sedentary agricultural societies may not fully translate to Karamoja. This paper aims to demonstrate why water development has not succeeded in Karamoja, what the typical behaviors and beliefs surrounding water use are, and what the international WASH community can do to improve Karamoja’s outlook for the future. Ultimately, it demonstrates the need for new WASH paradigms to apply to extremely underserved regions and regions with non-sedentary livelihood strategies.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

On-Campus Access Only