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Katosi Church of Uganda Primary School is located in Katosi Sub County bordering Lake Victoria on the southern side. The school is surrounded by a fishing community with an estimated population of 5,200 people who rely on the lake as their main source of water.
In 2019 H2O for Life funded a number of women led organizations working in East Africa to promote safe water access and better sanitation services in schools. Katosi Women’s Development Trust (KWDT) was one of the beneficiaries of this funding. KWDT carried out a comprehensive WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene education) project at Katosi Primary School. Here is their completion report:
With this funding and contributions from the school and community, a solution to the water challenge for Katosi Church of Uganda Primary school was solved. A 20,000 Liter rainwater harvesting (RWH) tank was constructed which solved the problem of children spending half of their school day fetching water. The tank was constructed by KWDT women masons supervised by the Water Champions (Kajjule Betty and Namukasa Rose), who have been trained by Global Women’s Water Initiative. The school contributed by providing meals for masons as well as storage of the construction materials.
The project also included the installation of a permanent handwashing facility to replace the one which was improvised. The old facility was locally constructed and installed with 3-liter jerrycans which the pupils would fill with water for handwashing after toilet use whenever they were empty. Installation of a new washing facility which taps water from the toilet roof has increased access to handwashing for all pupils and the teachers.
Community WASH training
A training on good WASH practices was carried out by the KWDT-Water Champions (Kajjule Betty and Namukasa Rose with the support of one KWDT volunteer) in the community of Katosi. The training brought together 38 (29 females, 9 males) residents of Katosi Town Council. The participants learnt about the importance of practicing good hygiene and sanitation and the dangers related to bad WASH practices. With use of WASH Information Education and Communication materials, the participants were able to visualize what a clean home / environment looks like. The exercise triggered a communal cleaning exercise in the community which brought together 700 people including the school community and the local leaders to clean the township in the ‘Keep Katosi Clean’ campaign.
With the background knowledge of the importance of behavior change in accepting and utilizing sanitation and hygiene facilities, the project offered WASH education to the pupils every day during the construction activities. Topics of education ranged from the importance of proper latrine use, importance of handwashing after using the latrine, menstruation and menstrual hygiene management and the importance of keeping the latrines clean at all times. The training was aligned into the existing school sanitation club. The club is composed of 75 including 50 girls and 25 boys, this aimed at having a reasonable representation from all the classes who will support the sanitation teacher to impart knowledge and skills to fellow pupils. The club was trained 2 times with the first training focusing on the role of the sanitation club in the school, good hygiene and sanitation practices both at home and school. The second training largely focused on menstrual hygiene and how the children can support each other especially girls during their menstruation periods to avoid stigma. The pupils also learnt how to use the different types of sanitary towels and how to access them. In the training they were able to understand the menstrual cycle and how to use and proper dispose of used sanitary towels. At the end of each training the pupils drew work plans and in the suggested plans there was a proposal to produce soap to further promote hand washing.
To complement the WASH training the school sanitation club engaged in the production of both bar and liquid soap to further promote the practice of handwashing especially after toilet use. The soap was sold to the community and to use at the school, this did not only improve on the hygiene situation in the school but it instilled life skills in the pupils and it is also a source of income for the sanitation club activities.
Katosi Church of Uganda Primary School had a population of 374 pupils before the construction of the tank. After the construction, the school enrollment and retention of pupils for this term increased to a total enrollment of 511 pupils. The project has equipped the pupils with life skills including the production of soap which they can take into their futures. The acquired knowledge about menstrual hygiene empowered both the boy and girl child and reduced the stigmatization of girls. Additionally, there was increased awareness on the proper use of the ecological sanitation technology in the community borrowing from the model at the school. The community members appreciated the use of the technology given the kind of environment where the school is located, with a high-water table unsuitable for deep pit latrines.
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