Christine Gimbo Poya (in picture) is the Headmistress of Mawanga primary school; a rural government school located in Butaleja district, Eastern Uganda.
To say that managing a primary school in a rural setting in Uganda is a challenge is probably to understate. So spare a thought for Christine because as if she did have enough on her plate (of challenges) she reported to school one early ready for work only to find that the only pit latrine (toilet) block the school used had collapsed!
Just to put Christine and her pupil’s plight in context, the pupil pit-latrine stance ratio in primary schools in Uganda is about 66 pupils: 1stance (2011 Sector performance report of the Ministry of Water and Environment) Ie on average one stance is used by 66 pupils. Thus, there are long queues to access. This is, to say the least, de-humanising. It makes the people/pupils susceptible to poor hygiene / poor sanitation related diseases like diarrhoea and trachoma.
Back to Christine and Mawanga Primary School; they were faced with grim choices: either to close the school immediately or find the money for a new pit latrine. Talk about being caught between the rock and the hard place! Every cloud has a silver lining. It was a few days to the end of academic year allowing some time (holidays) for reflection and action.
An appeal was made to a contact in Norway, MS Inger. K. Fyrde the headmistress of Skulestad School in Voss Municipality. Inger wasted no time in rallying the support of her staff, parents and pupils to raised money necessary construct a 5-stance VIP (Ventilated Improved Pit-latrine). What a relief to Christine and team!
Using the advance release, the school constructed one block of 2-stance VIP latrine. This tickled the Education department in the district to fund another 2-stance latrine block!
Such was the momentum gained that part of the funds raised from Norway were committed to another priority; a housing block for teachers. Construction is on-going.
Spice of Life is happy to be associated with this life changing intervention and is committed to working with stakeholders in vulnerable schools and communities to improve upon their environment hygiene and sanitation. To see how you can participate/support see…………………..