Looking Back: The African Well Fund in Uganda, 2010

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The first week in our 'Looking Back' series featured Uganda, a country where the African Well Fund has funded four projects. With a population of 25 million, as few as 30 percent of whom have access to safe water, there's much room for growth.

In 2010, AWF partnered with Africare on a project in the Ntungamo District of Uganda. The endeavor complemented work already being done in the area, namely Africare's COPE (Community-based Orphan care, Protection, and Empowerment) program, which aimed to reduce the socio-economic impact of HIV/AIDS on orphans and other vulnerable children. COPE worked in 73 schools in Uganda.

The COPE program was very successful, increasing school attendance while decreasing school drop-out rates. However, that very success strained sanitation infrastructure in rural schools. With more students attending, pupil to latrine ratios became untenable, reaching as high as 340:1 with waiting times as long as six hours per student.

An improvised latrine at Mato School

The cost of not using proper facilities was even greater. Eighty percent of diseases affecting rural communities are water related. Outbreaks of hepatitis E, diarrhea, typhoid, and cholera could all be traced back to a lack of protected water and proper sanitation facilities. The odds for school children were still worse- as many as 90 percent were endangered by worms.

There were other issues as well - girls were subject to harassment walking to and from water sources, and all children missed valuable time to learn and play while waiting in line for latrines.

In order to maintain the gains in attendance from the COPE program, as well as promote good hygiene, AWF funded new facilities in five area schools.

handwashing.pngA student using new hand-washing facilities

The exact make-up of the new facilities depended on need. Three schools received new ventilated pit latrines that were both user friendly and afforded privacy for students at school. Two schools received rainwater harvesting tanks. Another received a protected pump well. In addition, three schools had pipes laid which extended water to the girls' dormitories, providing a safe and private source of water.

AWFlatrine.png After: A new AWF funded latrine

All schools received additional training, both for students and adults. Community members were recruited to form Water User Committees for each school to ensure that the new facilities were maintained. Students participated in school hygiene competitions and performed educational plays on the importance of good hygiene.


Overall, 2,799 students and 15,000 surrounding community members were served by the project.

Stay tuned for a personal story from one of the students of an affected school!

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Elizabeth published on September 10, 2012 1:21 AM.

Looking Back: The African Well Fund in Mali, 2010 was the previous entry in this blog.

Looking Back: Kyasimire Evaleen is the next entry in this blog.

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