A water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in schools programme popularly known as WASH in Schools – has been launched at the Matany Primary School in Napak District, Karamoja Subregion.
The programme, supported by the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and UNICEF, aims to support districts in Karamoja deliver the national WASH in Schools standards in all schools across the region.
“Schools in Karamoja are seriously lacking in quality water, sanitation and hygiene services, which is greatly affecting the environment that our children are learning in,” said Moses Kizige, Minister of State for Karamoja Affairs.
“This programme is therefore very timely in that it will help us get to a new level in delivering quality water, sanitation and hygiene services – and, as a result, learning – in our schools.”
The national WASH in Schools standards are a set of 24 standards updated by the Ministry of Education and Sports in 2017, including, 1.5 litres of safe drinking water provided every day to all learners and staff, Separate latrines for all girls and boys, and children with disabilities, 1 handwashing facility for every 40 learners, with water and soap in all school latrines and Schools have annual budgets to operate and maintain all school WASH facilities.
The Schools standards include as well Hygiene education manuals used to educate all pupils and students, including through school health clubs and school-based WASH activities and Schools having a waste management system where solid waste is collected every day and disposed of safely
As part of the launch, the leadership from all eight districts in Karamoja – Abim, Amudat, Kaabong, Kotido, Moroto, Napak, Nakapiripirit and Nabilatuk – as well as the leadership from the Ministries of Karamoja Affairs, Education and Sports and Water and Environment, committed to ensure that every school in Karamoja meets the national WASH in Schools standards by 2023.
“We are proud to partner with the Government of Uganda and UNICEF to contribute to national efforts that will support Ugandan children grow, learn and thrive,” said Ms Jun Young Suk, KOICA Country Director.
“We are especially pleased that this support could be catalytic in supporting districts mobilize their own resources to meet the national WASH in Schools standards in all schools across Karamoja – not just the schools directly benefitting from this support.”
The programme will directly benefit 56,000 children in 100 schools with a package of WASH interventions that will ensure all national WASH in Schools standards are met in those schools.
“Meeting the national WASH in Schools standards is critical to children staying in school, performing well in school and keeping healthy and well, among other benefits.
“As an example, the practice of handwashing with soap and clean water can reduce diarrhoea by around 40 per cent among young children, something that is urgently required considering diarrhoea is presently the third largest killer of young children in Uganda with around 30 children dying from it every day across the country,” said Dr. Doreen Mulenga, UNICEF’s Representative in Uganda.
“We are therefore extremely grateful for this support from the people of Korea and welcome the Government’s commitment to ensuring that the national WASH in Schools standards are met in all schools across Karamoja.
“We now hope that this commitment will be a precedent for all other Districts in Uganda to follow – to prioritize planning and budgeting the delivery of all interventions required to meet the national WASH in Schools standards.”