Concerned about the poor hygiene standards in schools around Nangabo sub-country in Wakiso district, residents have teamed up to resolve the problem.
Organised as Nangabo Environmental Conservation and Economic Association (NECEA), they have started a project to promote clean water, toilets and good hygiene practices in schools.
According to NACEA’s project coordinator, Norman Juuko, these are essential for the proper learning of pupils in primary schools. Juuko explained that current sub-county statistics show that safe water coverage stands at 49 per cent within the nine parishes of Nangabo and pupils and the community mostly draw water from unprotected sources.
“People in this area have been fetching water from unprotected well springs and boreholes. The challenge is that there are many cases of water-borne diseases like bilharzia, dysentery, typhoid and scabies in the region,” Juuko said.
He added: “It is worse with school children because they don’t wash their hands when they visit the toilets, also the children don’t have information on how to conduct themselves especially after visiting the toilets.”
Kiti Parents primary school, Agape Education Centre, Kazinga, Kitegomba COU PS, St Kizito Kiti PS, received a kit of two hand-washing basins and jerrycans, carton of soap and some schools received water tanks.
“We also trained the teachers and the pupils. We realized that some of the girls stay at home when they start their menstrual cycle because some schools don’t even have water and privacy,” he said.
Douglas Lugumya, the chairperson of NECEA, says many people in the area do not use improved sanitation and don’t care the type of water their children take at school.
“Poor water, sanitation and hygiene conditions put the lives of many children at risk and this is the main cause of preventable diseases like diarrhoea which is one of the biggest killer diseases in the world,” he said.
Juuko said: “NECEA, working with Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC), has been supporting this area with clean water, but we realized that we were supporting the community yet children were getting sick every time from consuming dirty water; so, we turned our focus to schools.”
He added that there is a need for simple solutions that are also affordable.
“The solutions we are using are simple and inexpensive, we are building long-lasting water projects in communities at a cheap cost; these water projects like wells, dams and rain catchment systems can be worked on by providing training on hygiene to the users,” he said.